Ahh, video games. There’s nothing like kicking back and enjoying a well-told story, immersive world, and exciting gameplay. But did you know that not everyone plays video games? That’s right, there’s a whole population of people out there who have never experienced the joy that video games have to offer!
Fortunately, though, many charitable movie producers have taken it upon themselves to share the wonder of video games with the whole world, by adapting the best games into movies that delight young and old alike. It definitely has nothing to do with money. Or making money. Lots of money.
Unfortunately, despite their obviously good intentions, there are very, very few good movie adaptations. There are far more mediocre ones, and many, many more bad ones. Today, we’re counting down the top ten times that movies ruined great games. Don’t forget to set your crosshairs on the subscribe button, and make sure you power up by tapping that like button.
Then, buckle up, because we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Number ten: Assassin’s Creed
How do you squander a mythos so vast and in-depth that it has supported 23 games and a complete series of novels?
Just ask the team behind the 2016 film version of Assassin’s Creed, who managed to take the most interesting parts of the game series and turn them into a generic, convoluted action flick, with a few parkour sequences that only Michael Scott could love.
It’s as if the filmmakers said, “Hey, you know all those cool stealth elements from the games, where a master assassin stalks his way through vibrant, historically-accurate locations as part of a massive overarching storyline? Well, what if we made a movie focuses almost exclusively on the boring modern-day stuff instead?”
Between the heavily-edited action, the wooden performances, and the hard-to-follow script, the only thing you’ll wish had been assassinated is the person who sold you this movie.
Number nine: Doom
What comes to mind when you think of the Doom series of video games? If you said endless stretches of sneaking through barely-lit hallways occasionally broken up by long conversations between boring characters, then you’ll love the film version!
In reality, the games feature nearly non-stop bloody action, with most of the storyline revolving around portals to hell and an unstoppable super soldier that literally has to slay armies of demons with pure firepower.
Unfortunately, not even Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson could breathe life into the film adaptation, which trades those fire-breathing demons for a few generic zombies, and fast-paced action for hesitantly peeking around dark corners.
About the only real connection with the games comes in the form of an extended scene shot in first-person view, though it’s hard to tell if it was meant to be funny–or if that was just an accident. Either way, one thing’s for sure: this movie was doomed from the start. Get it?
Number eight: Max Payne
The Max Payne games were a masterclass in noir storytelling, and the “bullet time” mechanic was a true innovation for its time. You took on the role of a detective, tormented by the demons of his past and looking to avenge the death of his family. Set mainly in New York’s seedy underbelly, it’s a dark and emotional story with some excellent gameplay.
The film version does share some similarities with the games. For example, there are some slow-motion scenes. Oh, and the main character’s name is Max Payne. That’s… about it.
For the movie, the phenomenally-choreographed action from the game is chopped up into scenes that seem like they’re about to get interesting, only to be cut short by extensive dialogue.
But the worst offense comes in the form of the titular character, who was changed from a poetic vigilante into an angsty, one-dimensional character with the personality of a pile of sawdust.
Number seven: Hitman: Agent 47
Players of the Hitman series must perfect skills of stealth, cunning, and focused patience in order to take out their targets.
The movie version takes these elements and combines them in a way that perfectly captures the exact opposite. The first Hitman movie set the bar pretty low, but the sequel lowers it even further, with a script that lacks the slick charm of the games and misses their appeal entirely.
Really, it’s hard to imagine that a story about a genetically enhanced, cloned killing machine could be soulless and boring, but without a compelling antagonist (though Zachary Quinto tries his best) or a logical plot, this boring adaptation was dead on arrival.
Number six: Silent Hill: Revelation
Silent Hill 3 was a critically-acclaimed survival horror game from the golden age of the Playstation 2. It was a series high point, with intense psychological terror and a meaningful, coherent storyline.
The movie version of the original Silent Hill was never going to win any awards, but its sequel, based on Silent Hill 3, was universally panned by critics.
The film somehow managed to take the nuanced plot of the game and turn it into a convoluted string of scenes that made absolutely no sense together. It’s also not so much “terrifying” or “scary” as it is “boring” and “cheesy.”
On the plus side, the film does feature Jon Snow, though unfortunately, it’s pretty obvious that he still knows nothing.
Number five: BloodRayne
Remember the BloodRayne games from the mid-2000s? You know, the one about a red-headed half-vampire in a.. Ahem.. skintight leather outfit? Yeah, that’s the one.
Well, infamous director Uwe Boll thought this sounded like the perfect game to adapt into a feature film. Unfortunately, as a director, Mr. Boll has a bit of a reputation for making.. How should I put this lightly… terrible excuses for movies that are physically painful to watch?
The film version of BloodRayne features awful choreography, bad dialogue, Michael Madsen holding a sword [Note for editor: just about every scene he’s in, he’s awkwardly holding a sword, so this could make for a funny montage of clips], and a truly bizarre cameo from Meatloaf as the owner of a brothel.
But the worst part of all this? This isn’t the only Uwe Boll film on this list, but it is his best. That’s right. It only gets worse from here.
Number four: House of the Dead
If you ever visited an arcade in the mid-90s, you may have seen a “House of the Dead” machine just beckoning you to come and play. You may not know it, but this game pioneered first-person zombie shooters and is even credited with popularizing the “fast zombies” that eventually influenced movies like 28 Days Later and the series of George Romero films.
Well, Uwe Boll himself decided to take on the movie adaptation, and spoiler alert: the result is not good.
The plot of the film is extremely loosely based on the game. In fact, you may not even know it was related, other than the title of the film… and the truly bizarre choice to use clips from the game as a way to transition from scene to scene.
What the movie lacks in acting ability, plot, cinematography, and entertainment value, it makes up for by being mercifully short. Though, with a movie as painful as this one, it could never be short enough.
Number three: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Many millennials have fond memories of turning on their tube TVs, plugging in their Super Nintendos, and positively destroying their siblings in a gory game of Mortal Kombat. Ahh, good times.
By the time the third game rolled around, movie producers were seeing dollar signs. The first Mortal Kombat film got mixed reviews but performed well at the box office. By 1997, it was time for a sequel.
Also known as “Green Screen: The Movie,” Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a direct sequel, but not a single actor from the first film signed on for this one. That turned out to be a great decision, as the film features mindless fight scenes barely stitched together by nearly incomprehensible dialogue designed solely to pad its run time.
The movie was so bad that it effectively ended the Mortal Kombat film franchise, despite attempts to revive it. Since there haven’t been any more sequels since 1997, some might call it a FATALITY.
Number two: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
For years, fans of Street Fighter had loved the games, but one question always pulled at the back of their minds, pressing for an answer: when will we get a super boring backstory for Chun-Li?
In 2009, that question would be answered in the form of an uninspired, nonsensical movie that explores Chun-Li’s rise to true mediocrity.
The fight scenes don’t provide much respite from the plot, which itself gives no reason not to play on your phone until the credits roll.
The villain of the film, M. Bison, was even transformed from a dictator bent on world domination into a glorified real estate mogul. Though, to be fair, learning about real estate would be a far better use of your time than watching this movie.
As we work our way to the number one spot, make sure to button mash your way to the subscribe button and let us know which movies you think should have made this list in the comments below.
Number one: Alone in the Dark
Believe it or not, the number one movie on our list was directed by none other than Uwe Boll himself. Not only is this the worst video game adaptation of all time, but it’s also one of the worst movies–period.
The original Alone in the Dark game was released in 1992 and was praised for its innovative gameplay, chilling story spawned by the works of HP Lovecraft, and its eerie atmosphere. It inspired generations of horror games, from Resident Evil to Silent Hill.
The movie version, on the other hand, inspired millions of people to lose countless brain cells and desperately wish they had the last 96 minutes of their life back.
From dumb main characters to unintelligent monsters, contradictory world-building to bizarre action scenes set to cheesy rock music, it’s no wonder it has an abysmal 1% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Alone in the Dark?” More like, “Alone in the Park,” is where I’d rather be… than watching this mov–you get the idea.
And with that, our list grinds to an end. Have you slogged through any of the movies on our list? Are there terrible video game adaptions we might have missed? Let us know in the comments! And as always, thanks for watching.
Writer: Grant Herbel
Editor: AB Scarlett
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Scarlett.Media productions are for commentary, criticism and parody. All media samples are for transformative and fair use.
See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).
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