Friday Feeling: Films Based On Games

Friday Feeling

Films based on games are generally shit. There’s no denying it. On this week’s FRIDAY FEELING, we take at the most rotten; the ones that your eyeballs and brain will never forgive you for watching. For a bit of balance, we’ll throw in the very, erm, “best” too. Read on, brave soul…

Any excuse to use this picture again.

Any excuse to use this picture again.

Street Fighter – 1994. IMDB: 3.5

Before I talk about Street Fighter, an admission. This feature could easily be “Uwe Boll Makes Awful Films Based On Films“. Not on my watch. Critising Uwe Boll would be like shooting fish that can’t swim in a tiny barrel with a rocket launcher. All of his films are terrible. Instead, I’ve looked into the corners of  my memory reserved for things I’d rather forget to bring you these nuggets of shat. Starting with 1994’s Street Fighter. Making a movie based on a fighting game is an odd move to start with but populating it with Z list actors, Jean-Claude Van Damme as American soldier Guile and Kylie Minogue should speak volumes about it. Not even the usually brilliant (and sadly departed) Raul Julia can save this smoldering , hideous mistake. Here’s how bad it is: In the final scene of the “film”, all the characters take part in a real-life recreation of an animation from the video game. All the characters are on-screen at the same time and do their “win” animation. For no reason.

The horror...The horror...

The horror…The horror…

Super Mario Bros – 1993. IMDB: 3.8

As “research” for this very feature, I rewatched this piece of “entertainment” to see if it really is as bad as people say. It isn’t. It’s MUCH WORSE. It’s strange just how wrong this film is; featuring actors such as Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo, Fisher Stevens and Lance Henriksen, the film also had the (reportedly) heavy involvement of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto. The ingredients for something special are all there. Unfortunately, the ingredients were all past their sell-by-date and the chef was the work experience boy; a clusterfuck of a film resulting in something that isn’t even ironically bad. It’s just BAD. The first Hollywood film based on a video game, according to “Spy” magazine the film was rewritten on a daily basis, leading to the actors to ignore the rewrites and work on the fly. In his autobiography, Leguizamo states that he and Hoskins (Mario and Luigi), knowing that the film was going to be awful and hating the experience of working on it, resorting to drinking on set to pass the time! Hoskins, who didn’t even realise it was based on a game when signing on for it, has gone on to say Super Mario Bros is the worse thing he ever did. He isn’t wrong.

Silent Hill is actually quite decent. It's sequel isn't.

Silent Hill is actually quite decent. It’s sequel isn’t.

Silent Hill Revelations 3D – 2012. IMDB: 5.0

I have a confession to make. I know this film, the kind of sequel to the very decent Silent Hill, is a poor film. I know it, but I have a soft spot for it, in a ‘so bad, it’s good’ kind of way. Where it’s predecessor nailed the survival horror and surreal tone of the games and brought something new to the series, Revelations doesn’t. No-one seems to be acting in the same kind of film here, Sean Bean and Kit Harrington (in a Game Of Thrones reunion) go through the motions, seemingly confused by proceedings; where Carrie-Ann Moss seems to think she’s landed a part in Macbeth. Loosely based on Silent Hill 3, the film is fascinating as you can’t quite believe what you’re seeing. A disappointment coming off its stronger predecessor and a missed opportunity.

Note the lack of male fighters...

Note the lack of male fighters…

DOA: Dead or Alive – 2006. IMDB: 4.7

Another film based on a beat ’em up, with similar results. Dead Or Alive, the game, has been accused of putting titillation above gameplay. DOA: Dead or Alive the film concerns itself with titillation only. “Stars” Holly Valance, Jamie Pressly and Devon Aoki spend the majority of the running time wearing bikinis (or less), and, midway through and for no reason I can discover, the film breaks down into an extremely sweaty and embarrassing volley ball game. Possibly because the film is painfully shite.

What about the “best”?

A film based on a game AND a beat 'em up. It's decent!

A film based on a game AND a beat ’em up. It’s decent!

Mortal Kombat – 1995. IMDB: 5.6

This is a perfectly entertaining film. Taking the flimsiest of setups, Mortal Kombat does a good job of putting its own spin on the series. Containing excellent fight choreography and soundtrack from Orbital, MK also boasts a delightfully bizarre turn from LFG favourite Christopher Lambert as Raiden. By no way a perfect film, Mortal Kombat deserves better than it’s 5.6 IMDB score and is head and shoulders better than most video-game adaptations – including its shockingly painful sequel, Annihilation.

Actually a good film.

Actually a good film.

Silent Hill – 2006. IMDB: 6.5

Silent Hill is easily the best film based on a video game, no doubt. The fact that it’s quite an average and by the numbers horror film is quite damning for the entire sub-genre, but there you go. What Silent Hill gets right is this: there’s a genuine love and interest in the source material here; you can see it pouring from each set and every frame. Crucially though, the film makers do their own thing with it, taking elements from the stronger games in the series and weaving their own tale. The less said about Sean Bean’s awful American accent, the better.

So, as you can see – there’s much, MUCH more bad than good. Here at LFG, we believe TV series are the way to go for videogame adaptations – could you imagine a Netflix or HBO backed Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect or Silent Hill TV series? With Microsoft’s TV plans for Xbox One, with a Spielberg backed Halo TV series on the way, maybe we’ll see the like of these soon.

– Dave Green. Follow him on Twitter @davidpgreen83

What are your thoughts on films based on videogames; what are the best and worst? Which ones would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter or on our Facebook community page.

5 comments on “Friday Feeling: Films Based On Games

    • There are a lot of quite decent anime films based on games actually. None are amazing though, but the quality is always higher than live action. Really do think that TV series are the way to go though – games are episodic by nature and the structure lends itself to TV more. – Dave


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