Our list of the 10 great video games made into terrible movies that were ever captured on celluloid.
Hollywood has been quick to cash in on comics and video games as ready made sources for more celluloid dreams to peddle. The former have been a bit more successful than the latter. For some reason, video games do not translate well over to the movie theater.
Maybe it is because games deliver a story in a completely different way than movies. It could also be that they are tossed together to capitalize on an already existing huge group of fans clamoring for content between game release dates. Maybe Hollywood has really poor taste when picking video games to adapt.
Whatever the reason may be, video game movies haven’t fared so well in public opinion. Here’s our list of the 10 great video games made into terrible movies:
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
The set-up was perfect. They had a block-buster PS2 franchise that put a completely new spin on time mechanics in video games, and the movie ended up like an alternate reality Mummy movie without Brendan Frasier or The Rock. The sad part is that with the time altering mechanic showcased in Sands of Time could have been used to spectacular effect in the cinema. Imagine if the director strove for a disjointed but interconnected narrative. It could have highlighted what made the game truly great while musing on the possible circularity of time itself. What we got was just another summer blockbuster with nothing adventurous than some cookie cutter swashbuckling action.
Noir has been the depressing and brooding baby of the film industry. Everyone loves a good tale of dark deception shown with as much shadow and cynicism as possible. Max Payne was the best piece of noir gaming had produced. It had the attitude, the feeling, the literacy of storytelling conventions. But somehow, these didn’t translate over to the screen. The one genre that film had done so well in the past seemed to have slipped through their fingers when creating this adaptation. Hollywood seems to assume that all video games are shoot-em-up bloodbaths with no concern for story, pacing, atmosphere, and craft. So what do we get from the Max Payne movie, another action movie masquerading as noir. It could have been an intelligent movie that expanded on the psyche of Max and his ordeal while punctuating the revelations with bursts of poignant and applicable action but instead Max Payne lands on our list of the 10 great video games made into terrible movies.
We know that there is some lore behind each of the characters in Street Fighter, but do they seriously require their own movie. To borrow a phrase from Bilbo Baggins, the movie feels “like butter scraped over too much bread.” The result of drawing out the thin and usually inconsequential plot of a fighting game is a movie that lacks any sort of focus or momentum. If they’re going to pad out a fighting game into a non-interactive hour and a half. Let’s put it this way. This movie was so bad that it bumped off the Mortal Kombat movies.
Story and visuals are really all a film has to work with. The Dead or Alive games had one of those in droves, but was sorely lacking in the other department. Guess which? The DOA games have always been festooned with scantily clad versions of the outrageously proportioned female form, beating each other to a pulp. That is, unless you played DOA: Beach Vollyball. Ahem. Would this really make for a movie with character arcs, real drama, and anything more than gratuitous and soulless eye candy? Yes, yes it does.
How dare Hollywood desecrate a classic game like Doom! Well, when you take a look at the source material, it could make for a pretty interesting sci-fi action flick. There could have been some well drawn out characters. Accurately fleshing out the military bonds between would have made them likeable, so when hell comes to play, you actually care what happens to the guys. It could have been an amazing mash up of Event Horizon and Aliens. But the result was a bland and boring and forgettable. In fact, we forget which movie comes in at number 6 on our list of the 10 great video games made into terrible movies.
The House of the Dead arcade games are beloved by anyone with a pocket full of quarters. They were fast paced, fun, and frightening. It was the closest that you were going to get to Resident Evil with a light gun until RE:4 for the Wii. But, turning the bloodbathed arcade games into a film entered into disastrous territory. What we ended up with was another cliched zombie movie with action scenes that aspired to the Matrix, but fell short in very slow motion.
Take two actors who aren’t Italian and add in a dose of early nineties production value, and you’ll be left with Super Mario Bros. We love Mario, but did he really need his own movie? How could you possibly make a film out of 16-bit sprites jumping on monsters? Well, they certainly tried and it went down in flames. It firmly lands in “so bad it’s fun to watch” territory, so it can be slightly forgiven. What we can't forgive is tainting our childhood Mario memories with this cinematic nightmare. We wish we could just jump on it and make it burst into a million pieces. Wait, anyone have it on VHS?!
Double Dragon was a brilliant co-op arcade beat-em-up. It didn’t bother with too many silly words or character development. Two brothers who punched things -- How this became a film is beyond us. Even more so, how the story was developed by Paul Dini, the legendary creative mastermind behind 'Batman: The Animated Series', leaves us dumbfounded. It’s just proof that even the best creative people make some missteps. Anyway, 'Double Dragon' is a video game movie that you’ll want to skip. Seriously, skip it across some water into a lake. Get it away from you.
Coming in at number two on our list of the 10 10 great video games made into terrible movies is a bloody awful take on the somewhat beloved vampire PS2 series Bloodrayne. The Bloodrayne games were enjoyable, but the film lacked the same spark of fun. The movie itself stands as a hodgepodge of poorly choreographed fight scenes and a story best left unwritten. Even Sir Ben Kingsley as a knight of the realm couldn't save this film.
Topping off our list of the 10 great video games made into terrible movies is a film that weighs in at a measly 1% on Rotten Tomatoes. 'Alone in the Dark' is a film so bad it's, well, bad. The action is ridiculous, the plot is impenetrable, and it ends before anything mildly interesting even happens. It is time better spent somewhere useful and more enjoyable like at the dentist having your teeth drilled. At least there you'll walk out with pain medication for the headache you put yourself through.