10 Video Game Movies Much Worse than their Source Games

Hollywood has been trying to adapt popular videogame stories during more than 20 years for now. Despite the fact people sometimes can make good videogames based on movies, the reversal direction does not have that success yet. It’s difficult to say why things go that way. Sometimes, screen adaptation rights come to not the best teams. Additionally, there are games just not suiting the format of full-meter movies. In this article, I’d like to talk about 10 movies which are much worse than original games serving as their source stories. Some of these films are still worth watching, other ones are just terrible. I will try not to judge but can’t guarantee that because I’m passionate enough about both movies and videogames.

10. Resident Evil 4: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil Afterlife

Director: Paul Anderson

The game: Resident Evil game series became the main example of survival horrors, its real classic. With every new part, developers make gamers happy. This franchise tells a story of the terrifying Umbrella corporation and scary zombies. In addition, games usually offer complicated puzzles and stressful atmosphere.

The movie: unfortunately, movie authors failed to recreate the atmosphere felt by gamers. First movies of this franchise were watchable enough (the first one is my favorite), but the fourth one lost all positions and became one of the worst video game movies I’ve ever watched.

9. Street Fighter (1994)

Street Fighter Movie

Director: Steven E. de Souza

The game: it is one of the most popular fighting games. The very first game appeared on arcade machines in 1987. The Street Fighter title was the revolution in fighting videogames. Nobody could see anything like that before.

The movie: the screen adaptation attracted many people with Jean-Claude Van Damme playing the role of a main hero. The story tells of a mad dictator taking hostages and demanding money for their lives. The mission of the fearless colonel William Guile is to find the headquarters of bad guys and neutralize them. In fact, the movie has nothing in common with the game except of a title and character names.

8. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

Mortal Kombat Annihilation Movie

Director: John R. Leonetti

The game: Mortal Kombat is another one of most popular fighting videogames. The franchise contains more than 10 games, movie series, full-meter movies and some comics. Gamers all over the world take part in Mortal Kombat tournaments.

The movie: unlike the first part of the movie which is definitely worth watching, the sequel became a total failure for “Mortal Kombat” series. Game fans mainly criticized dull dialogues and weak actors. Additionally, many people did not like the low quantity of cruel fighting scenes which the Mortal Kombat videogame is famous for.

7. Wing Commander (1999)

Wing Commander Movie

Director: Chris Roberts.

The game: Wing Commander is the space battle simulator released mainly on PC’s. The game got a quite big fan base thanks to its simple but interesting story. Gamers liked the attractive and involving gameplay and a special visual style as well.

The movie: unfortunately, the movie failed to become equally successful. Viewers got some battle scenes good enough for their time but other moments accenting on dialogues and screenplay were just too bad. Fox studio had serious financial losses after the launch of this movie, and this fact led the game series into oblivion, too.

6. Warcraft (2016)

Warcraft 2016 Movie

Director: Duncan Jones

The game: the universe was created in the fantasy style including steampunk and Asian culture elements. Blizzard developers created the world of Azeroth including four continents: Eastern Kingdoms (the homeland of humans), Kalimdor (elven lands), Nothrend and Pandaria. Additionally, the universe included worlds of Argus (draenei homeland) and Draenor (the world of orcs). The story of the universe mainly describes the battle of the Alliance and the Horde, and their fighting against the Burning Legion which is a threat for Azeroth.

The movie: this one is one of my favorite, but I’ll still try to be unbiased. Despite all attempts to make fans be happy, authors of this movie only showed a bunch of average graphic effects. Viewers criticized weak action, too: the movie did not get worthy epic scenes and big-scale battles. Mostly, viewers and criticists said the Warcraft film to be very weak considering the status of the universe.

5. Need for Speed (2014)

Need For Speed Film

Director: Scott Waugh

The game: the game is a top-rated racing action franchise. The first game was released by EA back in 1994. Nowadays, the Need for Speed series is the most successful racing videogame series in the world and one of the greatest franchises in the whole history of gaming.

The movie: it has Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and Dakota Johnson. And that’s all. The dull story only tells about the car mechanic having illegal racing competitions as his hobby.

4. Alone in the Dark (2005)

Alone in the Dark Movie

Director: Uwe Boll

The game: the main hero is the private detective Edward Carnby hired by a collector to create an inventory of the mansion property. The game conquered millions of gamers with its horror component. The first part was connected to stories by Howard Lovecraft and became the precursor of all survival horror games.

The movie: was the work of the world’s worst video game movie director Uwe Boll. Every film by him is a total failure, especially if you belong to the group of people familiar with original games.

3. Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Assassin’s Creed Movie

Director: Justin Kurzel

The game: the Assassin’s Creed series became very popular and lived long without entering big screens. As a result, the French Ubisoft studio sold screen adaptation rights. The original series tells of adventures of assassins during various periods of human history in different countries having real historical events as background like the Third Crusade or the Great French Revolution. They also added elements of science fiction and cryptohistory.

The movie: people had big hopes about it. But who would think Michael Fassbender to participate in a shameful movie? The main problem was the try of screenwriters to make the film as realistic as possible. All in all, the Assassin’s Creed movie is discombobulated, has weak playing and minimal correlation with the original game universe. Not good.

2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Prince of Persia Movie

Director: Mike Newell.

The game: one of the strongest game series ever appeared in late 1980’s. It tells of adventures of a nameless hero with multiple deadly traps on his way. Gamers all over the world liked this game. In 2000’s, the project was reanimated and became one of the most popular franchises of its time.

The movie: it cost a lot for its authors. According to some data, the budget of the film exceeded 200 million dollars. It was the most expensive videogame movie and the highest-grossing one. But the project by Jerry Bruckheimer still failed to fulfill expectations of “Disney” studios. Of course, fans of original games were disappointed because of screenwriters who decided to rewrite the story in their own way for some reason. Still, as for me, the film is quite watchable for those who never heard about Prince of Persia games.

1. Postal (2007)

Postal Movie

Director: Uwe Boll.

Игра: Postal used to be the cult thrash-game of its time. In the city of Paradise they build a huge entertaining center and one shop receives a delivery of cool toys. These toys are wanted by two groups of people: terrorists want to use them for attacks and hippies wand to steal them and earn money. The main hero balances between two groups in addition to his own life problems.

The movie: yes, this is another failure by Uwe Boll. The screen version of a satiric game is filled with bad jokes and toxic scenes. The film contains many silly moments and the director tries to show people’s indifference about modern problems. You won’t find any plot here.

Top 5 Video Game Movies Worth Watching

They say that video game screen adaptation movies are guaranteed to be bad. They’re right. Throughout the whole history of cinema there was no video game movie worth saying: “Wooooow!” Uwe Boll is called the worst cinema director of all times, and he is not accidental to film video game screenings. That is why all that hype about the “Assassin’s Creed” movie before its release wondered me very much. I used to say: “Hmmm, that’s a video game picture. Really, what can go wrong?”

Assassin’s Creed Videogame Movie

They gave me counterarguments like “Ubisoft” is in control of the process and they’ll make it all interesting, the plot is cool, there is a budget and cool actors… The result was still usual.

Why does it happen that way? I think the reason is obvious: gameplay. Here is the point: in the video game, the gameplay process is the most important. This means if developers pay too much attention to their story there appear too many cut-scenes and the player gets bored as a result. That is why even if the game has an interesting, original and unusual story, the most important thing is how to play it.

I can give you a bright opposite example: there was an attempt to make a quest videogame basing on a “Murder on the Orient Express” movie. Developers worked hard, made a beautiful design, chose good music… and I dropped the game after first 30 minutes. There were TOO MANY dialogues, no action, so I decided to quit.

But let’s go back to video game movies. Despite the overall piteous situation, there are some movies which can be acknowledged as acceptable. They are not cool, not masterpiece movies, just acceptable. I really like only two of them (one screen version was rather just “based on” the game). Still, to write this Top 5 article for you, I came up with three more movies which at least can be watched without a risk to harm your eyes and minds.

1. Mortal Kombat, 1995

MK Videogame Movie

This movie was incredibly stupid even for middle 90’s. A ridiculous plot, flat characters, weird dialogues, terrible graphics (yes, it was TERRIBLE even for those times). But! The movie is still watchable. Screenwriters turned a not-story fighting video game into a movie with a plot, worked with combat footage and even brought a star into the frame – Christopher Lambert from “The Highlander”. And there are some cool scenes in the overall madness: at least, the glorious “Your soul is mine” phrase by Shang Tsung.

2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, 2010

Prince of Persia Movie

This is the most expensive video game movie ever. It is based on a perfect game series. Its main concept is time travelling. Its atmosphere is the desert and the sand of Middle East. Its producer was Jerry Bruckheimer. Its main actors were Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley. So, what could go wrong?

Probably, the “Disney” studio was the reason. Another company would have a chance to make a dart action movie with a brutal main hero on the screen.

“Disney” turned it into a kind tale for kids. Beautiful, humorous but… empty. The plot is regular. Heroes don’t make you feel them (moreover, only the prince and the vizier were present in the source video game as characters). Enemies are no-name bots instead of terrible monsters.

And the main point of games – the time travelling – was used less than two times during the whole movie. I was disappointed by this picture in cinema, and it has never made me watch it once more.

3. Warcraft, 2016

Warcraft Videogame Movie

In 2016, fans expected two video game screen versions at once: Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed. Both were met in a pretty restrained manner. But if the second one was totally failed then Warcraft could be called watchable enough.

Creators worked a lot to create computer models of heroes and general decorations, battle scenes were interesting, the plot did not concentrate on a certain side of the conflict: the viewer can “choose” the side to “play” for.

The main lack of this movie was the fact they made it totally fan-oriented. There were many unexplained things you can’t understand unless you played all games of the setting, there was no way to understand rules of the universe and so on. All in all, this is a typical guide how to please fans while not caring about the rest of the audience.

Still, as for me the lack of explanations was not something bad. I think modern people just got used to thoughtless consumption too much. For me, Warcraft made an impression of a huge universe with many unseen places and hidden parts. Still, I’m not fond of fantasy settings in general, so I’ve never felt the will to explore those places.

4. Resident Evil, 2002

Resident Evil Movie

Here we go with a movie I actually like. Though not being a fan of zombie movies, the first “Resident Evil” was good. A pure action, massive shooting and a bunch of bright remarkable scenes were there too.

Mila Jovovich literally found her role. This actress brilliantly combines her natural sexuality with brutality, while many female action-heroes lack this. I’ve not played the Resident Evil series. As I know, the movie made many steps away from the game but is it that important if it was so lucky? The film ending was promising and I was sure: the sequel will be even brighter and better than the original movie.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. The second movie was watchable enough, but still not that bright as the first one. The third part came into a senseless mix of plot turns and pointless action scenes. Unfortunately.

5. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, 2001

Lara Croft Movie

Well, I love this movie! In general, the genre of adventures and artifact searches never left me indifferent, no matter if it was the epochal “Indiana Jones” or a light “National Treasure” movie.

Directors of Lara Croft tried to recreate the game atmosphere as closely as possible, added mystery, plot turns, magic items and of course a beautiful main hero. Lara Croft has been known as the most beautiful video game character according to many gamers. And Angelina Jolie hit the role perfectly. This movie was not only interesting to watch it because of a plot, it was a visual pleasure.

Honestly, I don’t understand why its ratings were so low: just 5.7 on IMDB and terrible 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, it is not a masterpiece, but it is interesting to track Lara’s adventures and the ending time reversal scene made me very glad.

These are my Top 5 video game movies worth attention. Unfortunately, even last two of them are not perfect.

As a bonus, I’d like to mention not a film, not even a cartoon, just an episode of cartoon series. No, it is a part of the “Futurama” episode. There, Fry asks the What-If Machine a question:

What if life was more like a videogame?

And it showed aliens from the Nintendo planet. Aliens were video game characters: Donkey Kong, Space invaders, etc. And the courageous general Pac-Man stands against them. It was a curious episode with many references for video games. The funniest thing was the fact that aliens wanted humans to give them… quarters! This means 25-cent coins which made old game machines work.

In 2015, the “Pixels” movie was released with Adam Sandler. In fact, the movie tells a pretty similar story. Still, it was just weird and contained all the worst things from Adam Sandler’s comedies. I felt much regret about such a cool idea destroyed by wrong people.

And what watchable video game movies do you know? I’d like to know your opinion.