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The 10 Worst Films Based On Video Games

7 min read

The idea of one of your favorite games making its way to the big screen is enough to make any gamer want to pre-order tickets. However, just because it’s based on an amazing game, doesn’t necessarily mean the movie will be good. Over the years, many video game inspired films have flopped miserably, whether it be due to the lack of important source material, bad casting choices, horrible acting, or lack of plot and direction.

To fully express the extent of just how bad these films can be, I bring you the top 10 worst films that were inspired by their video game counterparts. Please keep in mind that this list purely opinionated.

10. ‘Silent Hill’

Radha Mitchell and Laurie Holden in Silent Hill

At number ten comes the first live-action Silent Hill movie from TriStar Pictures, based off of the iconic survival horror game of the same name. First off, let me just say that this movie is really confusing. The film manages to get almost everything right, from the monsters to the ash-fogged atmosphere of the town, yet the overall plot and direction are just as foggy. Actresses Radha Mitchell and Laurie Holden’s performances are honorable, but unfortunately not even their acting could save this horror mess from a disastrous reception (the film currently holds a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes).

9. ‘In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale’

Actors John Rhys-Davies (left) Jason Statham (middle) and Brian J. White (right) in character.

In 2007, a movie inspired version of the popular fantasy role-playing game Dungeon Siege was formed, with German filmmaker Uwe Boll directing. The movie was a commercial failure as most criticized the film for its cheesy dialogue, copy/paste resemblance to the more popular Lord of the Rings movies, and it’s overall bad production value. The large budget of the film, $60 million, when compared to its $10.7 million gross worldwide was abysmal. In fact, the film left such a bad taste in Boll’s mouth that after its release he said that it would be his first and last movie with a large budget.

8. ‘House of the Dead’

From left to right, Ona Grauer, Jonathan Cherry, Jurgen Prochnow, and Kira Clavell respectively.

Number eight on this list goes to another failed horror film attempt directed by none other than Uwe Boll. I remember playing Sega’s House of the Dead arcade when I was younger, desperately pulling the trigger of the blue, hard plastic pistol, pushing quarters into the coin slot, and slamming the start button to revive my hero before the zombies could get to him. It should come as no surprise that the film version of the game however does not offer the same thrill. Between the cast of obscure actors, the noticeably small budget and a tacky plot, the film conforms to the b-horror genre, and not in a good way. It may have ended up breaking even with its production value in sales (making $13.3 million worldwide on its $12 million budget), but that doesn’t change the overwhelming hate for this film. Check out Metacritic to see what I mean.

7. ‘Doom’

Dwayne Johnson in Doom.

This live-action horror film based on the popular Doom series (particularly Doom 3), left the audience with mixed emotions when it was released in theaters in 2005. Meant to be an action horror film, it ended up coming off more as an action comedy. The actors just didn’t seem to take the film seriously, and it showed. This was also the first movie that I’d seen which featured a first person point of view sequence -which honestly I found to be one of the coolest parts in my opinion. Making only $58.8 million versus its budget of around $70 million, the film bombed and received mostly negative reviews. To add insult to injury, it is universally considered as one of the worst video game movie adaptations.

6. ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Actresses left to right, Ali Larter, Milla Jovovich, and Ruby Rose as seen on screen.

Okay, so most of the Resident Evil films are decent, despite loose ties to the video game series of the same name. This entry makes the list though because I thought it was the worst edition to the franchise with its nauseating camerawork, pointless slow-motion action scenes, and hollow characters. Despite its commercial success, many critics shared similar sentiments about the film. Alex Welch from IGN‘s Alex Welch’s 3/10 review is a primary example. The movie may have blown away expectations, grossing $312.2 million against the $40 million budget, but if I’m being honest, most of the success was probably due to it being the final film. Even if you’ve only seen one film in the franchise, you have to be curious to see how it all ends – even if it isn’t good.

5. ‘Far Cry’

Til Schweiger who plays Jack Carver in Far Cry.

Judging by the vast popularity and somewhat realistic scenarios depicted in the Far Cry video game series, you would think that a movie, even loosely based on it, would turn out great! However, before the game was even released, filmmaker Uwe Boll grabbed the rights for a film adaptation and this 2008 letdown was born. The movie came off as more of a cheesy action romp from the 90s, and failed to come even close to reflecting the actual game. The film grossed only $743,634 on a budget of a whopping $30 million, and was frowned upon by critics including IGN, which – like our previous film – also gave it a low score of 3/10.

4. ‘Double Dragon’

Actors in action show Mark Dacascos, Alyssa Milano, and Scott Wolf starring.

The classic side-scrolling beat ‘em up game from Japan didn’t exactly have a superb story behind it, but the film adaptation somehow managed to make it worse. Some of those changes include the fact that the film takes place in the aftermath of an L.A earthquake instead of an entire apocalyptic world, Jimmy’s “damsel in distress” girlfriend was replaced by a more heroic version, and the main villain was changed to fit with the framework of the new story line. The film was hated by critics! And even with the creative portrayal of L.A, due to it’s mediocre acting and dialogue, gamers greatly disliked the new plot. The film grossed just over $2.3 million after its theatrical run after it’s budget of $7.8 million. Ouch.

3. ‘Wing Commander’

Stars Ginny Holder, Matthew Lillard, and Freddie Prinze Jr.

Getting down to number three on this list is the low budget 1999 flick loosely based off of the popular point-and-click shooting adventure game of the same name. To say loosely is a bit of an understatement however, since most of the character backgrounds, enemies, and ships from the game were changed along with the story. The film’s script was appalled by fans of the game, as well as critics. Rotten Tomatoes most notably received a 10% on the tomatometer while stating, “The low budget may explain Wing Commander‘s cheesy special effects, but can’t excuse the lame dialogue or the movie’s obsessive reliance on sci-fi cliches.” Even actor Freddie Prince Jr. hated the script, and quoted, “I can’t stand Wing Commander. I can’t watch one scene of that movie…” The flop of a film had a budget of only $30 million, and ended up grossing only $11.6 million back.

2. ‘Super Mario Bros.’

Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo star as the legendary plumbers Mario and Luigi.

Super Mario Bros. is the first video game inspired movie I ever watched, and even after my first viewing of it I genuinely disliked it. The film is nothing like the video game of the same name. The character dialogue is ultra cheesy, the story is confusing, and the overall themes just don’t seem geared towards a young audience. The only thing the film has going for itself is its special effects, which are pretty good considering the year the film was released. Overall the adaptation grossed $20.9 million on a budget of around $42-48 million. Surprisingly, of all the films on this list, this is the only one to have a bit of a cult following. Not only did it spawn a web-comic sequel in 2012, Universal Pictures and Illumination even planning an animated reboot film scheduled for 2022 too.

1. ‘Alone In The Dark’

Tara Reid, Christian Slater, and Stephen Dorff as they appear in the film.

Number one on this list is yet another one of filmmaker Uwe Boll’s creations, which is based off of the 2001 rebooted survival horror game of the same name. Apparently, the 2005 film did have the potential to be better; however Uwe Boll changed the script to be more action based rather than sticking to its H.P Lovecraft styled horror roots. He included a number of useless additions including a sex scene, slow motion gun battles, car chases, and a ten minute opening back story which is spoon-fed to the audience. In the end, the film was hated by fans and critics alike, and is said to be considered one the worst films ever made. Scott Brown of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an F grade, stating that the film was “so bad it’s postmodern.” Despite negative reception though, a sequel was released just three years later in 2008. The film’s budget wasn’t huge ($20 million), but it grossed only a little over half of that back at $12.7 million.

What do you guys think of this list? Are there any films that you feel deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comment section below website, or over on Twitter. Also be sure to follow us on Instagram if you haven’t already, and download the Kernel App for more lists like this one!

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