Everybody knows that videogames based on movies are, on the whole, bloody awful, but does the curse also hold true for movies based on videogames?
The road from digital to celluloid is strewn with many a mistake, but occasionally - just occasionally, mind - a film-based-on-a-game comes along and blows our socks off (or at least doesn’t make us want to gouge out our eyeballs in protest). Let’s celebrate these rare beasts by looking at the best game adaptations of all time, before reminding ourselves of the very worst…
Tekken: Blood Vengeance
The 2010 live-action farrago may have failed to get pulses racing, but we defy anyone not to get caught up in the entertaining madness of this full-length CGI feature based on the ever-popular beat-’em-up series. Working from a script by Dai Sato (who gave us Anime classics such as Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Cowboy Bebop) and featuring some of the more bizarre elements prevalent in the games, Tekken: Blood Vengeance is a brilliantly deranged animation featuring oodles of impressive action set pieces, a sexy android and a cute panda – what more do you need from a movie?
Based on a series that revelled in scaring the bejeesus out of all who played it, Silent Hill is a gloriously twisted tale that works as both a pant-filling horror and a wholly successful videogame adaptation. Director Christophe Gans’ masterfully recreates some of the more sinister moments from the console classic as he ratchets up the tension. And he doesn’t skimp on the gore as he takes us to the titular haunted town where very bad things happen to little girls and their mothers.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
While this ground-breaking CG-rendered film bears very little resemblance to the beloved RPG series on which its purportedly based, it’s nevertheless a visually stunning effort that helped to pave the way for many of the production techniques that are the norm in modern film-making. A box office bomb at the time of release, it has since gained a cult following thanks to its cool cast of voice actors, fantastical storyline and (did we mention?) gorgeous animation.
The pounding techno soundtrack, the cracking fight choreography, the respect for the source material, Christopher Lambert in a silly white wig… What’s not to love about Mortal Kombat? Before Paul W.S. Anderson started repeating himself with bloated genre flicks, he made this very decent effort, which garnered surprising critical praise and huge box office takings. A series of dreadful sequels inevitably diluted the effect of the original, but watch it now and you may be surprised to find it still packs a real punch.
Resident Evil: Extinction
The first Resident Evil came frustratingly close to capturing the spooky appeal of the zombie-bashing game series but ultimately failed because of director Paul W.S. Anderson’s (him again) predilection for cardboard characters and nonsensical plot developments. The first sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse went even further downhill before Highlander helmer Russell Mulcahy took the series into Mad Max territory with the really rather good Resident Evil: Extinction. Sure, it was as cliché packed as the first two instalments, but some clever action sequences, an assured lead performance from Milla Jovovich and a flock of zombie crows makes this a bit of a winner. Sadly it didn’t get better from there, the fourquel, Resident Evil: Afterlife, was shockingly bad.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Much has been said about the utterly lamentably bad, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue-led frak-up that was Street Fighter: The Movie, but what makes Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li so unforgivably worse is that it really should have known better. As technically inept, poorly plotted and terribly acted as the 1994 original was, this 2009 spin-off managed to fall into all the same pitfalls and even squeezed in a touch of casual racism when it cast a white Canadian as the titular Chinese character. Bloody awful.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Take all the elements that made the first Mortal Kombat movie such a crowd-pleaser, rob it of any coherence, acting skill or actual action and you’ve got 1997’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – a film which pulled a spine-severing fatality finishing move on the hitherto successful franchise. Still, at least they got the Annihilation bit right.
If Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard cared to pinpoint the exact moment at which their careers went down the crapper, it was probably this utter abomination (well, that or Scooby-Doo). Arrogantly directed by the guy who created the successful space-fighter simulation (hey, making movies is easy right?), this is a complete balls-up in every conceivable way. Look up ‘hubris’ in you’ll find a picture of helmer Chris Roberts (possibly).
Super Mario Bros.
Bearing very little resemblance to Nintendo’s beloved moustached character and even less concerned with making any kind of sense, this big-budget turkey set the template for awful videogame adaptations. Stars Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper all later admitted they thought it was an utter pile of trash and they really weren’t wrong. The film has latterly developed quite a cult following among, we can only imagine, self-flagellating cinephiles.
House Of The Dead/Alone In The Dark/Alone In The Dark II/BloodRayne/BloodRayne II: Deliverance/BloodRayne: The Third Reich/In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale/ Far Cry
German director Uwe Boll is without a doubt the king of the dodgy videogame adaptation, a man who somehow manages to attract decent-sized budgets (he secured $30 Million for the terrible Far Cry) and recognizable names (Jason Statham, Christian Slater, Ron Perlman, Burt Reynolds and Ben Kingsley amongst them) and still reliably churns out straight-to-DVD turd after straight-to-DVD turd. Annoyingly, Boll shows promise in his non-game films but as long as he continues to knock out such console-demeaning tripe, you’d do best to avoid his ouvre altogether.
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