The Worst Movies Based on Video Games

Guest Post: Today I have a guest post from Isa, who has covered entertainment topics on sites like Culture Coverage. You can follow her on Twitter here!

From World of Warcraft to Super Mario, some of best and biggest video game franchises have been made into films. The genre of video game movies can be spotty at best, so it can be very hit-and-miss when deciding what to watch on your next film marathon. These are some of the movies that we would advise not to pop in the Blu-Ray player.

DOOM

According to Roger Ebert, DOOM is “like some kid came over and is using your computer and won’t let you play.” We’re inclined to agree with this statement, as the film has a poorly laid-out plot that prevents the viewer from ever really understanding what’s going on. Even with charismatic Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the leading role, DOOM still lacks any real character. There is an entire video game series from which the filmmakers had to pull inspiration. Yet the film doesn’t ever seem to reference the source material other than one iconic first-person shooter scene.

DOA: Dead or Alive

While it has generally been slammed by critics (earning just 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), DOA: Dead or Alive still has some merit as a B-movie and cult classic. If you’re looking for a laugh while watching a film that you couldn’t possibly take seriously, DOA: Dead or Alive is worth a watch. Some critics have even compared it to Charlie’s Angels thanks to the non-stop action and attractive female cast.

Pixels

imagesPixels isn’t based on a specific video game, but it’s about video games and it’s absolutely terrible. Produced by Adam Sandler, Pixels is about an alien race who takes over Earth’s arcade games to declare war on the planet. While the premise sounds quite interesting, the actual film is anything but. Critics have called the overall movie “cheesy” (not in the good way) and the filmmaking “lazy.” With a 17 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Pixels was considered one of the biggest critical flops of 2015.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

The first Mortal Kombat film has become a cult classic among both gamers and martial arts movie buffs. Unfortunately, its sequel was not so well-received. Holding a three percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it is considered one of the worst films ever created. Reviewers panned Mortal Kombat: Annihilation for its lack of plot, boring action sequences and poor special effects. If you have a sense of morbid curiosity, this film is available on Netflix. If you’re outside of the United States, you’ll need to watch it with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as described in Secure Thoughts’ tutorial on watching American Netflix from abroad.

Super Mario Bros

It’s quite sad that such an iconic video game hero has been given a terrible cinematic treatment. Among the many flaws in the poorly-reviewed Super Mario Bros are the failure to stay true to the source material, overproduction and dull performances. In addition to being a box office flop (having earned $20 million against a $40 million budget), Super Mario Bros was also shunned by reviewers. Ask someone who’s seen the movie and you’ll see shivers up their spine.

Warcraft

Warcraft is considered one the worst video game movies in recent history and a huge disappointment after a major marketing effort from Blizzard. That being said, the film was still a hit at the box office, earning $433 million so far. It even did extraordinarily well in overseas markets. While Warcraft is lauded for its impressive visual effects, the main drawback is that there are too many storylines to follow over the course of the film. It makes for a messy, complex plot that viewers couldn’t quite stomach.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within


When this trailer was released, both gamers and movie buffs went wild. Big things were expected from the first-ever film based on the Final Fantasy series, but the movie fell very short of expectations. While the film was visually stunning, the voice acting was terrible and the plot was cliché. As such, the general consensus on Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is that it is a two hour cutscene rather than an actual film. If you really want to watch a Final Fantasy-themed movie, Advent Children is far superior.

If you want to watch a film with your gamer friends, we highly recommend that you avoid the films listed above. Don’t worry, though, as there are still some gems out there such as Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. We don’t need to paint all video game movies with the same brush.

Have we missed any terrible video game films? Have you seen any of the ones listed above? Leave us a comment and let us know which ones failed to make the cut.


Author Bio: Isa is a movie blogger with a passion for gaming. As an avid gamer, she is a huge fan of (good) films based on her favourite video game franchises.

7 thoughts on “The Worst Movies Based on Video Games”

  1. Ratchet & Clank falls into this category I believe. It wasn’t terrible really, just disappointing that it was so lazily produced. Also, the Resident Evil series maybe? Those are pretty terrible in many ways. Especially the complete divergence from the series’ plot.

    I’m glad that you included Super Mario Bros. though. That abomination has burned a hole in my psyche…

    1. R&C was weird for me, because it was a perfect take on the games, but also felt entirely unnecessary if you’ve played the games. I had finished the remake/reboot game before seeing it, and was disappointed that almost the whole movie was already in the game.

        1. It’s a decent game. It lacks the edge and spark of the ps2 games but it’s a very serviceable refurbishment job and much better than your typical movie tie-in release.

          I think it’s weird that the game was released prior to the film. That said, I think if I were a kid and saw the movie first, I would probably ask for the game, so maybe it worked out for Sony.

  2. I own FF:SW and Super Mario Bros., and they hold a special place in my heart (along with, say, The Room and Plan 9 from Outer Space). I guess Street Fighter is just good enough to avoid belonging on a films-to-avoid list. I haven’t seen Hitman or Bloodrayne but they both looked awful.

    But I think the most perplexing film based on a game I’ve ever seen is definitely the animated Sonic the Hedgehog movie where he falls in love with the president’s daughter or something.

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