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There have been a plethora of bad video games, but perhaps even worse, there have been a number of good video games that have been developed into terrible movies.
While we all might praise the narrative of an amazing video game — the well-rounded characters, the intricate plot — this doesn’t necessarily mean that the dialogue translates well into movie form, or indeed that the plot can be successfully condensed into a two-hour sitting.
While there have been a single handful of vaguely passable (I didn’t say good) movies based on video games, the majority of them, quite honestly, sucked things I can’t say in polite company. The only real issue with this list is that I have to limit it to just 11 movies.
DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
Based on the fighting game series Dead or Alive, this is the first in this list of terrible movies based on fighting games. I don’t know how anyone thought it was a good idea to base a movie around a game whose main claim to fame is the “realism” with which the female characters’ boobs jiggle. Oh, wait… never mind. Anyway, the incredibly believable plot sees a number of fighters invited to compete at the DOA martial arts contest. The four female characters, who initially are rivals, ultimately band together to uncover the secret that the organiser of the contest, Donovan, is hiding. It was Australian musician and actress Holly Valance’s first film.
Despite having a semi-ok cast (including The Rock), there’s not much good that can be said about Doom the movie. I wasn’t even really aware that the awesome and popular Doom game had much of a plot, considering id Software’s stance on plot-based games in that era, and so trying to force things like dialogue and a story into a game that revolves around shooting aliens in the head really is just pointless. The only good part about the whole movie is the first person sequence towards the end that suddenly ties it into the game and adds a sense of nostalgia that isn’t evident anywhere else.
Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Considering the thinness of the plot and dialogue in the best Super Mario Bros. games, this wasn’t exactly a good choice to translate into a movie – and it definitely wasn’t a blockbuster. The fact that it has a good cast (including Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper) just goes to show the popularity of the franchise in the 90s because this movie was a failure in all respects. The plot loosely centres around the games, where Mario and Luigi find a parallel universe, where King Koopa is a dictator and is holding Princess Daisy prisoner. Mario and Luigi must rescue Daisy and stop Koopa from merging both dimensions so he can become the dictator of both realms. Hoskins and Leguizamo both expressed regret at being involved in the film, as did Hopper. A perhaps little known association is that the narrator was none other than Dan Castellaneta, also known as the voice of Homer Simpson.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)
The Legend of Chun-Li follows the history of the character of Chun-Li from Street Fighter, and her personal quest for justice after seeing her father abducted by M. Bison’s henchmen. It stars Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk as the main character, but even her looks and the pretty awesome talent of Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog, can’t save this film from disaster.
Max Payne (2008)
Bad as this film is, with little reference to the original games, it was one that I have a soft spot for, if only because there was a vague attempt made by director John Moore to carry the art style through into the movie. I can’t deny that it is awful though. Max Payne is played by Mark Wahlberg and the gorgeous Mila Kunis exemplifies Mona Sax (if only in looks). It’s loosely based on the noir game by Remedy Entertainment as opposed to the later Rockstar Games version, but the plot is illogical and confusing to say the least. Wahlberg was nominated for a Razzie for worst actor as a result of his performances in Max Payne and The Happening.
Hitman is another film that I recognise as not being particularly good, but which I feel deserves credit for Timothy Olyphant’s attention to detail in things like Agent 47’s walk and movement. It was incredibly violent (why does this surprise people, it’s about a hitman), with a plot that will likely only make sense to someone who has played the Hitman games (maybe this is why I liked it). Despite its notably dry acting and shallow character development, it was interestingly a financial success — although slated by critics.
Wing Commander (1999)
I bet you didn’t even know they made a Wing Commander film, let alone one starring Freddy Prinze Junior! It had an insane budget of $30 million dollars and the total US gross of its theatrical run only just cleared $11 500 000, not even half of the money spent to make it. In the year 2654, an interstellar war is raging between the Terran Confederation and the alien Kilrathi. A Kilrathi fleet attack a human base and… oh look at that, I’ve lost interest already. Pretty indicative of the rest of this film. Don’t bother.
The fact that this is co-written and directed by Uwe Boll should already have warned you that the action comedy film Postal, based on the somewhat psychotic game, will probably not be very good. It takes place in Paradise, Arizona, where “Postal Dude” gets angry after being mocked at a job interview, kicked out of his unemployment office and finding out that his obese wife is having an affair. He leaves town, teams up with Uncle Dave, and devises a plan to hijack a shipment of a rare, sought-after plushy toy that resembles a scrotum. In a surprise twist, Osama Bin Laden is after the same shipment but for different reasons and… is this making ANY sense? No, not really. I’ll stop now.
House of the Dead (2003)
What a surprise, also directed by Uwe Boll! The game was awesome and a staple of most gamers’ childhoods. The light gun arcade game made by Sega provided the inspiration for this movie, and if you’re looking for a comedic take on zombies and the undead, even if many of the gags are unintentional, makes this a terrible but hilarious movie nonetheless. Sega permanently cut ties with Uwe Boll after his disastrous adaptation of their popular game.
Alone in the Dark (2005)
Uwe Boll rears his badly directed video game movie head once again for Alone in the Dark. Christian Slater plays the lead role as supernatural detective Edward Carnby and Tara Reid is the scientist (say whaaaat?) assisting him. So many changes were made to the script, making it more action than thriller based, that it has only a very loose connection to the actual video game series. It’s widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made, which must be saying a lot because considering the [de]merits of this list alone means it’s pretty damn terrible. It won four awards at the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards for Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Special Effects and Worst Director.
Double Dragon (1994)
Most notably starring Scott Wolf and Alyssa Milano (who, let’s face it, were big in the ‘90s), this awful adaptation loosely based on the Double Dragon video game series takes place in “futuristic Los Angeles” circa 2007. Ok to be fair it was futuristic at the time, but it seems even sillier now than it did then. This movie was so bad it scored a whopping 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yup, 0%. Not many movies can claim that dubious honour.
Image via FlickFacts.com