Top 5 Movies Based on Video Games

The film industry is always looking for the next big thing.  Film execs gain the rights to make movies based on novels, children’s stories, and comic books.  One source that on the surface seems to have incredible synergy with Hollywood is the video game industry.  Games have already benefited from using Hollywood-style production values, including professional actors and actresses for both voice and live parts.  You’d think that both being visual mediums would lead to incredible movies being made based upon video game properties.

But you’d be wrong.

Thus far the Hollywood video game movie selection has been mediocre at best, and laughingly dismal at worst.  Just for fun, let’s look at the best movies of the genre (all my personal opinion, of course).

Poster for the Mortal Kombat movie.

1.  Mortal Kombat. This incredibly popular fighting franchise made its way to the silver screen in 1995, bringing the Elder Gods’ martial arts tournament to life.   The film received “mixed reviews” which is a fancy way of saying some critics enjoyed the fight fest and others thought it gave a whole new definition to “suck.”  It managed to take in over $122 million worldwide, as well as spawning a sequel, so more than a few people thought it was a good movie.

Poster for the movie, Resident Evil.

2.  Resident Evil. A flawed but fun zombie movie based on Capcom’s horror games and starring the incredibly hot Milla Jovovich wiping out the infected workers from the top secret Hive installation controlled by the Red Queen.  Critics generally panned the film, but it grossed over $100 million worldwide and spawned two sequels (with one more to be released in September, 2010).

Poster for the film, Silent Hill.

3.  Silent Hill. This film was based on Konami’s horror game franchise, and incorporated elements from the first three games.  A few pretty decent scares and a couple of weird scenes gave this film a good vibe.  It did not receive great reviews from the critics, but scored where it counted with $97 million grossed worldwide.

Poster for the film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

4.  Tomb Raider. Angelina Jolie in tight spandex. How could this film possibly be bad?  That’s what I told myself before watching it, and afterward marveled at the film’s creators’ ability to do the impossible: make a live-action Lara Croft dud.  It still managed over $300 million worldwide, so a LOT of people must have gone into the theater with the same expectations I did.

Poster for the classic movie TRON

5.  TRON.  The list is so meager that I decided to take a movie whose premise is about the video game industry and put it on this list.  And it’s a good excuse to include TRON to the mix; it was a fun movie, and pulled in over $33 million worldwide, which wasn’t bad in 1982. End of line.

Every other video game movie was awful.  Putrid awful.  Perhaps it’s time that the industry stopped trying to translate the video game experience to the big screen, and keep going on as many comic book properties they can lay their greedy little hands on.  After all, given the choice, I’d rather watch Batman: Dark Knight, Spider-Man or Iron Man than the very best the video game movie genre has to offer.

Most video game movies belong here.


12 Responses

  1. To be honest I wouldn’t have put Silent Hill as high up the list as what you did. To me it lacked the scares that made Silent Hill so good as a game.

    • I’m not sure what you’d replace Silent Hill with, though…

      • I don’t think it’s a case of replacing it. I think it’s more a case of I don’t like the direction the had taken the film in. It just all seems to Hollywood friendly horror rather than the suspense driven horror that the games use.

        It’s hard to explain this one, and it is only my opinion. Fair enough as a movie based on a game it’s great but as a movie in general it just didn’t do anything for me.

      • Well, I don’t think that any video game-inspired movie has been worth the price of admission so far; it’s just that Silent Hill wasn’t nearly as bad as the others. Take Street Fighter, for example. There’s an excruciating experience, even with Raul Julia.

      • I can top that. Super Mario Bros….

        That…. movie…. has…. mentally… disturbed…. me….

        must go punish a puppy now.

      • Thanks for that. I think the fact that we could come up with a much larger list of video game-related movies that were complete dogs is a sad indictment of the entire genre.

      • lets be honest about this. Most games based off movies are nothing more than lazy Hollywood money spinners. They are designed to sucker the likes of us in with their depictions of our favourite gaming characters.

        Such a sad thing indeed.

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