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Movies based on video games

Published: 10:26, 24 July 2017
Street Fighter (1994)

Games, being the beautiful interactive medium they are, generally don't translate well onto the big screen. This week, I take a look at some of the movies who tried to pack several hours of button-mashing fun into an hour and a half of just staring into a projection screen.

From experience, we know that these never do quite well, and most of the time they fail completely. If you are here to find out , sorry to disappoint but I had a better idea. I hope.

These are some examples that prove that the answer to the question "why" doesn't always have to be "why not". Again, the list is not complete nor is it in any way shape or form in some particular order. You can think of this as a first take. Aaaaand action:

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Resident Evil series (2002-2016):

Average IMDb score: 6,0

This is what you'd call a successful movie (based on a video game) franchise. Anyone who argues that its success has to do with the games the franchise shares its name with, will be forced to watch Super Mario Bros., the Clockwork Orange style.

2002 was a different time. You could even run into a person who had vague memories of Bruce Willis with hair. Fifteen years later, Resident Evil franchise earned a total of £260.320.196 when adjusted for inflation. I'd say that's a win. And now, for something completely different.

Super Mario Bros. (1993):

IMDb score: 4,0

The first major motion picture based on a video game. It's like it set a standard for all that came after. Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo were the titular brothers who worked as plumbers in New York.

It all starts once they get sucked into an alternate universe where all humans evolved from dinosaurs and the world is led by Bowser. It's all very cringe inducing, and the movie was a box office bomb.

Nevertheless, it seems to be making a return and has become something from a "so bad it's good" category of movies you'll, heavily intoxicated, admit to liking. But only to your best friend.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001):

IMDb score: 5,8

One of my guilty pleasures. I mean it had Angelina Jolie in her prime, it had Daniel Craig before he was James Bond and the villain was the king of the friendzone universe himself - Iain Glen (you may know him as Jorah Mormont from this little show called Game of Thrones).

The sequel had Gerard Butler as Lara's love interest. Things were simpler back then. Both are fun movies and you probably won't skip them if they show up on TV. Oh and the first one has that fight scene in Lara's house. Yum.

House of the Dead (2003)

IMDb score: 2,0

Where Resident Evil succeeded, House of the Dead failed. It's bad and all those who had a hand in making it should feel bad. The movie boasts an IMDb score of 2.0 and that's thanks to the bad writing, bad directing and Uwe Boll - the man responsible for a bevy of horrid movies based on video games. This movie is nothing special in terms of cinematography but it did put into motion the eventual trainwreck that is Uwe Boll's filmography.

Street Fighter (1994)

IMDb score: 3,8

Jean-Claude Van Damme as Colonel Guile was the hero and Raul Julia's Bison was the villain. So far so good. Van Damme was an action star back then and Kylie Minogue was an Australian actress the production had to cast at the behest of the Australian Actors' Guild. 

The movie went on to be a commercial success, making around three times its production budget, but the critics were not impressed. Raul Julia's performance, on the other hand, was praised and even nabbed him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Saturn Awards. Unfortunately, Julia died two months before the movie was released, due to stomach cancer.

Doom (2005)

IMDb score: 5,2

Demons were replaced by "genetically enhanced killing machines" and this line was approved: "Ten percent of the human genome is still unmapped. Some say it's the genetic blueprint for the soul". I'm going to take a walk now.

The Rock was in this, and even he couldn't have saved it. The "first person shooter-esque" scene near the end just added insult to injury. The movie was 4 million dollars short from breaking even, so it was declared a box office bomb.

Assassin's Creed (2016)

IMDb score: 5,9

Let's end with a movie from recent memory. "Arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations" one of the factors that contributed to its downfall was the heavy reliance on CGI. The movie nearly doubled its production budget, but the money couldn't have saved it from the critics who gave it "generally unfavourable reviews".

Fun fact: The 38 m freefall was described as "one of the highest freefalls performed by a stuntman in almost 35 years".

And that's a wrap. See you in a couple of weeks, I'm going on a vacation.

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