Best (and worst) video game movie adaptations of all time

(Pocket Ribbon) – Video games are big business. Bigger than even Hollywood and its filmmaking power. But often those two worlds collide, taking successful game franchises from the small screen to the big cinema.

However, the results can be a mixed bag. That’s to be nice, really. While we’ve been blessed with blinders over the years, there’s also more than a fair share of car accident write-offs that should never have happened.

With even more video game movie adaptations – Uncharted has potential in 2022, while Tomb Raider will also release a sequel – here’s a look at the best and worst of the bunch.

The best video game movies

Sonic the hedgehog

Release Date: 2020 / Director: Jeff FowlerOriginal Game: Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

It was a rollercoaster ride to the finish — the original CGI Sonic left fans confused at how inaccurate he seemed — but director, Jeff Fowler, picked up a pair of gold rings and got the job done in style. Witty, funny and with an unavoidable touch of Jim Carrey’s madness, as Dr. Robotnik, the movie came out well. It’s a fun game for all the family, with some great nods to the original Sega games that an older audience will appreciate. The sequel is also due out in late 2022, with Tales and Knuckles both set to appear…

Tomb Raider

Release Date: 2018 / Director: Roar UthaugOriginal Game: Tomb Raider (1996)

We thought Alicia Vikander’s take on Lara Croft was a much more fun joke than the previous Angelina Jolie films. The most recent film from the film’s spin-offs – Jolie directed two films in 2001 and 2003 respectively – has also planted the seeds for a sequel, due out in 2022. If you like fast-paced action without going overboard, this film adaptation is worth a try.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Release Date: 2019 / Director: Rob LettermanOriginal Game: Detective Pikachu (2016)

Before we digress as to whether this is a moot adaptation – yes, Pokemon is a card game, but it first appeared as Pocket Monsters on Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1996 – let’s distract you by saying that basically everything starring Ryan Reynolds is big. And Detective Pikachu is lovingly crafted, often hilarious, and will draw you in whether you’re a Pokemon fan or not. A sequel was also written, but apparently it has since been scrapped, which is a shame.

Resident Evil

Release Date: 2002 / Director: Paul WS AndersonOriginal Game: Resident Evil (1996)

One of the greatest survival horror games of all time — it really changed the game when it arrived on Sony’s PlayStation in 1996 — was almost ready for a movie adaptation. If you remember the game’s oh-so-wooden intro, then you’ll consider the actual movie adaptation very important. Whether you’re a Resi fan, or just liked going crazy, this action-horror has all the components to get pretty close. Honestly.

The Angry Birds movie

Release Date: 2016 / Director: Clay Kaytis, Fergal ReillyOriginal Game: Angry Birds (2009)

The only fully computer-animated movie on our list also happens to be the only app-based game to make it to the big screen. Rovio’s big hit app, which spawned many sequels, never had much of a storyline — you play various birds (angry?) trying to take out evil pigs — and the film’s cartoonish animation ticks all the right boxes to appeal. to do on the kids. It’s lighthearted fun for the whole family.

Mortal Kombat

Release Date: 1995 / Director: Paul AndersonOriginal Game: Mortal Kombat (1992)

Ah, yes, the ultra-violent fighting game that pissed Congress, pretty much every parent and headteacher, is manifesting in cinematic form. Not that it’s really good, it’s just the ultimate guilty pleasure. It also knew its audience, somehow summarizing the game’s violence into just a PG-13 rating. Uh, okay then. It also set director Paul WS Anderson (the initials came later, perhaps to help distinguish it from Paul Thomas Anderson) on a path of video game adaptations — including Resident Evil (no less than four times out of six current films) and Monster Hunter ( and Alien Vs Predator, if you dare argue if it could even be called a video game adaptation). There’s also a 2021 Mortal Kombat movie, of course, but we’ll stick with the older ones – it’s more of a classic.

The Worst Video Game Movies

Super Mario Bros.

Release Date: 1993 / Director: Rocky Morton, Annabel JankelOriginal Game: Mario Bros. (1983) [this was Luigi’s debut]

Mario, one of the most beloved video game stars of all time, is taken to depths that even a plumber would find doubtful in this film adaptation. The trailer – with barely memorable take-aways like “They’re brothers. They’re plumbers.” – highlights a lot of what to expect. Clue: Creepy Goombas, dodgy ’90s CGI, and poorly cast characters (how the hell Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo were cast as Mario and Luigi, respectively, has always been one of life’s big questions). Might be worth going back for some giggles. There is a future animated Mario movie, also expected in December 2022, which will have a very different take.

street fighter

Release Date: 1993 / Director: Steven E. de SouzaOriginal Game: Street Fighter (1987) / [Street Fighter II (1991)]

Sure, we love Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie, who doesn’t? But their appearance in the Street Fighter film adaptation – which is loosely based on the original game from the late ’80s, but only green-lit after the 1991 sequel that blows up like a mega-hit arcade smasher – can’t help but notice the star , unimaginative disaster that it is. There is actually nothing to store it. Okay, except maybe 90s Kylie.

Assassin’s Creed

Release Date: 2016 / Director: Justin KurzelOriginal Game: Assassin’s Creed (2007)

A rare moment in the Michael Fassbender Hall of Shame, this is one of those “why was this ever made?” movie adaptations. That the games remain so, so strong – Valhalla was enough to distract people from Cyberpunk 2077’s puffy launch, Odyssey still entertains players for hours – only serves to emphasize the sheer joylessness and emptiness of this film. That was certainly a tough feat to accomplish given the caliber of the cast, which also includes Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons.

Alone in the dark

Release Date: 2005 / Director: Uwe BollOriginal Game: Alone In The Dark (1992)

Deciding which Uwe Boll-directed disaster piece should make our ‘worst’ list – especially when he’s also directed Far Cry, House of the Dead, and BloodRayne – is a tough one – but we think Alone In The Dark takes the cake. .

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Dead or alive

Release Date: 2006 / Director: Corey YuenOriginal Game: Dead or Alive (1996)

A largely female-led fighting game that was, er, better known for its gravity-defying ‘wobbly bits’ – oh my, ’90s member? — then being a particularly skilled fighter (yes, that comment will shake up the diehard fanbase, sorry) would never properly turn into a movie adaptation, would it? Comedic acting and questionable special effects abound, but at least there’s a little focus on another ’90s quip – Girl Power! – instead of just perverse exploits.

Written by Mike Lowe. Editing by Adrian Willings.

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