Top 5 Worst Video Game to Film Adaptations


Matt’s Top 5 Worst Video Game to Film Adaptations

Here we go. For every video game fan out there, sometimes we are excited when we hear our favorite video game is being adapted into a film. But most of the time, we scream, “LEAVE IT ALONE!” Within the coming years, we’re about to see the most Video Game to Film Adaptations in history. Perhaps these upcoming adaptations will give us hope, but it hasn’t been good for the film business to dabble in adapting a video game. Adaptations are weird though. Regardless of what you do with it, you’ll never impress the fans of the original work. It’s just a fact that needs to be accepted; yet I enjoy seeing what filmmakers do with the game’s content. If it doesn’t stick to the original content’s story, but they seem to achieve a great film within the same universe, like “Silent Hill,” then I’m impressed and I’m a fan. So, yes, there is hope, but usually adaptations go the wrong way, which is what the films on this list did in high fashion.

Now, before I get into this article, I still enjoy watching three out of the five films on this list. A bad movie doesn’t necessarily mean it should be drenched in gasoline and lit with a box of matches. No, in the end, the films could’ve been better, but I still enjoy laughing at how bad they are. Side note: The “Mortal Kombat” films did not make this list. The first film, to me, is actually pretty good, and the second film is atrocious. Because the films split 50/50 between good and bad, I decided to just leave them off this list. So, with out further adieu, welcome to the Top 5 Worst Video Game to Film Adaptations…. Why, oh, why.

#5.”Super Mario Bros.”


5. Super Mario Bros.

What. In. The. World. Okay, so, “Super Mario Bros.” is one of Nintendo’s most cherished franchises. Kids and adults have loved the adventures of Mario and Luigi for many years now, and they are still hitting the highest marks with their video games to this date. But… this film. I always enjoy watching it, but there’s no argument that it’s one of the worst adaptations of all-time. It’s a “decent attempt” at trying to adapt a simple platform game into a film, incorporating a story and character arcs, but it’s not “Super Mario Bros.” It’s two guys stuck in a strange sewer land, being chased by Dennis Hopper with a terrible haircut, and trying to save a woman who is apparently a princes. On paper, sure, that’s what “Super Mario Bros.” has always been about, but the film’s delivery is so awkward and too over the top that the filmmakers missed the simple fact that “Super Mario Bros.” is about jumping and saving Princess Peach, that’s it. That’s all it has ever been about, and we loved it for it. The filmmakers tried too hard to take something simple and turn it into a complex film, even including explanations on how Goombas were created. No one cares how Goombas were created; we just liked jumping on their heads. It didn’t work, plus the fact that neither the actors who play Mario & Luigi are Italian, this film goes down the drain from the first shot to the last. Side note: this film does have one of my favorite scenes. It occurs when Luigi makes the Goombas dance in an elevator.

#4. “Street Fighter”


4. Street Fighter

To give this film credit, the filmmakers did do a good job of creating a lot of the characters in the “Street Fighter” universe and establishing the relationships between all the characters, but for all that is mighty and holy; this film REALLY missed the mark. With some “okay” fight scenes and a good musical score, the only thing substantial to talk about when it comes to this film is Raul Julia’s performance as M. Bison. Other than that, this film is one of the ones I watch when I need a good laugh. The terrible dialogue, terrible acting, cheap action sequences and even worse costume designer, I can never go through this film without face palming at least 20 times. I mean, just look at the photo posted above. Jean-Claude Van Damme’s pose says it all. Colonel Guille would never do that, and there are plenty of moments where you’ll be saying that same phrase throughout the film. The film does have a good structure when it comes to storytelling, but the execution and cheesiness of it makes this a forgettable, yet memorable film. It’s a weird feeling, but you’ll no doubt be left wanting more. It’s a fighting video game that should’ve been left alone, but I do respect the filmmakers for some of the high points they achieved. Just please, don’t attempt to do this again without a thorough story and less characters.

#3. “Max Payne”

Max Payne

3. Max Payne

-__- Really? You already had a fabulous story cemented into one of the best video games of all-time, and the filmmakers veered away from it? The “Max Payne” franchise is perfect for gamers who love dark, gritty and violent stories that have well-developed characters/dialogue and excellent gameplay. Why veer away from all that? It was already set for you! Like I said before though, I’m all for building a new story within the original content’s universe, but come on… this universe already had its perfect premise. There was no need to veer away from it, and because they did so, we’re left with a lackluster, confusing and boring adaptation of excellence. People have asked me, “Oh, should I rent Max Payne?” I tell them to save their money and go watch a play through of the original game on YouTube; it’s a much better experience, trust me. If the filmmakers stuck to the original story and included some of the “Graphic Novel” sections, which are excellent, this film could’ve been miles better. And while I love Mark Wahlberg, no, I’m sorry; he’s no Max Payne. If they ever adapt from this franchise again, I would suggest making “Max Payne II: The Fall of Max Payne” into a film. It has the best story and is a Noir, so sticking to its original content will have people’s heartstrings pulled by the end of the film.

#2. “Resident Evil”


2. Resident Evil

With the exception to some of the character names, zombies, and a weird science facility existing below a mansion, this film does not stick to the original video game at all. Seriously, this is what they did; they tried to increase the “fun” and “popcorn-flick” factors by throwing in actions scenes, fight scenes and an unnecessary amount of violence. What happened to being stuck in a mansion with zombies? That’s what put the “Evil” in “Resident Evil.” It’s not scary at all and there are way too many zombies. Go play the original game and guess what you’ll find? The most zombies you meet in one room at a time are three. That’s it because that’s what the game’s engine and technology would allow in 1996. The video game was scary because you couldn’t see where you were going most of the time, you got lost and the enemies were terrifying and difficult beyond belief. Most of the game took place in the mansion, diving into the science facility later in the game, which helped the game because playing in the same environment the entire time gets boring, but the film didn’t take that note, so you’ll find the characters interacting in the same settings the entire time. From the beginning, the film had no intention of following the original premise. They added weird brainwashing and amnesia elements that completely take you out of the film. Even if you never played the game, the film is lackluster because you don’t care about anyone. Character development barely exists, and the characters’ relationships are completely forgettable all together. I didn’t care if any of the characters got out alive, like I cared for the characters in the game. It’s just a bad adaptation and a bad film, yet I do like to watch it sometimes, hoping I’ll catch something that does justice for one of my favorite games.

#1. “Doom”


1. Doom

No. No. No. No. No. NO! Just because you have a script that tells a tale about a military unit fighting monsters on Mars, doesn’t mean you can make “Doom” into a film. First of all, all the monsters in the original “Doom” video game are from Hell. A corporation builds a facility on Mars, where they conduct experiments with opening gateways between Mars’ two moons, and that’s how they accidently open a portal to Hell, letting all the creatures and demons get into the facility. As the player, your mission is to stop the creatures and demons from getting to Earth, so you go on a violent and brutal adventure of killing everything in sight. After you beat the game, you learn your character dies and the demons invade Earth, leading to the second “Doom” game. What do we get with the film? Scientists discover the 24th chromosome, which turns humans into super-monstrous creatures… It’s terrible and ruined the stakes and horror factor that “Doom” injected into every player. Fighting demons from Hell is much more terrifying and satisfying than fighting a person with an extra chromosome. And the fact that you’re by yourself in the video game adds an extra scared factor as well, which doesn’t occur in the film. While the film does have a male protagonist, the majority of the time he is with his military special ops unit, who are responsible for neutralizing the threat on Mars. It’s disappointing and boring in the end. The fight scenes could be better, and the first-person shooter scene, which was a BIG market tool for this film, was about 30 seconds long. That’s it. You hype up the first ever first-person shooter= film scene, and it’s only 30 seconds? A bad 30 seconds at that. I remember being in the theater, unimpressed, and then I got excited when the first-person shooter scene began. Before I could finish my laughter at how bad it was, the scene was over, leading to a stupid fight scene between Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban.

This film completely missed the mark and missed everything that made “Doom”… well, that made it “Doom.” I’ve only been able to sit through this film once and watch it in its entirety. I’ve tried MANY times to do it again, but the acting, dialogue and complete disgust I feel for veering away from the original content makes me shut it off. Isolation is key to any horror film and video game; it seems like studios, once again, wanted to take a great peace of horror and turn it into a summer action flick. No. This video game deserves more than that, I’m sorry.

Most video games should be left alone, and with the innovation and developments in the storytelling and character development aspects, I believe we won’t see many video game to film adaptations in the future. Games like “Heavy Rain” and “Fahrenheit” are basically movies in themselves, which need 10-15 hours of gameplay to truly enjoy, so trying to cram excellence like that into a two-hour film is a recipe for disaster. In my opinion, leave video games alone, but I’m all for taking something that has already been done and turning it into something new. It just better be good, because if it isn’t, you’re going to receive a lot of flack.

What video games do you want to see turned into films?


Author: Matt

Seeing "Stand By Me" at the age of 6 solidified Matt's ambition to be a part of the entertainment industry. After growing up in Northern Virginia, studying film at Old Dominion University and rising from intern to Stage Manager at a Dinner Theater, Matt found himself at a speed bump in his life and wanting to express himself in more of a substantial way than calling a cue or flying a line every night. This need for creative expression pushed him to take on the challenge of getting a Master's Degree, which sent him on a year-long endeavor that seemed to throw obstacles and setbacks from every direction. But now, Matt is a screenwriter with a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a passion for film, video games and professional wrestling, looking to keep the ambitious 6-year-old inside of him alive by entertaining the world through various forms of entertainment.

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  • Eric Pace

    I grew up loving Super Mario Bros. and now while I can’t defend it as a good movie I can watch it and put myself back into the mind frame of myself as a child and get some enjoyment. The nostalgia factor is high for me.
    For Street Fighter I say stick with the animated movie.
    I’ll never understand the reasoning for removing the Hell aspect from Doom.

    I’m all for more video games being turned into movies, I don’t think they’re incapable, there’s nothing stoping them from becoming the next comic book movie. Just get actual good filmmakers to make them for a change.

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