While there have been some amazing movies based on comic books (even some great ones based on toys), it seems that Hollywood is still looking for that one truly great movie based on a video game. It seems pretty telling that the best video game movies are not based on video games, but are just about video games. However, with that said, there are video game movies that are entertaining and bring a lot to people who are just willing to give them a chance. While they have a long way to go to reach the success level of comic book adaptations, here is a look at the 10 best video game movies of all-time.
10. Mortal Kombat
While fans were still reeling from the ridiculous, yet somewhat so bad it's good movies of Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter, Paul W.S. Anderson adapted the fighting video game Mortal Kombat. What resulted was something that really hit the mark.
Christopher Lambert (Highlander) is fantastic as Raiden and the movie had a ton of fan-friendly moments — including the infamous Johnny Cage finisher. It was action-packed, fun, and included a slick techno soundtrack that just fit the theme of the game and movie perfectly. It wasn't loved by critics, but it remains one of the best video game movies over 20 years since it was released.
9. Silent Hill
One doesn't think of "auteur filmmakers" when looking at video game movies. However, with Silent Hill, that is exactly what fans received. Christophe Gans was riding high after his critically acclaimed French horror movie Brotherhood of the Wolf and latched onto the horror video game Silent Hill.
This was a tricky game to adapt to as it was never easy to know what was real and what wasn't. It also went a long way to deliver atmosphere over visceral horror. Although there was a lot of that as well. It didn't get the best critical ratings but received a 62% fresh mark from fans on Rotten Tomatoes, mostly due to its very impressive visuals.
8. Resident Evil
Resident Evil might be the most successful video game movie of all-time. The film was set up as an action-horror movie, later developing into a franchise that moved into an apocalyptic fantasy adventure story. The movies in the franchise varied wildly, but the first movie remains a very good horror movie.
Milla Jovovich starred as a completely original character that did not exist in the games. She carried the plot to the end, meeting characters from the game along the way. There was also a large discrepancy between critics and fans, with more than 30% more fans loving it than professional critics.
It seems that the best way to make something great is to add a little bit of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. When it comes to video game movies, the one that sits at the top of the critics' lists is Rampage. It's based on the classic arcade favorite where monsters destroyed cities.
The movie had Johnson as a man who loves animals more than humans, and ends up teaming with his genetically enhanced gorilla buddy to battle a giant wolf and crocodile. It was a ludicrous idea that was carried by Johnson's charisma and was fresh to both critics and fans. It was one of the only video game movies to sit at over 50% for critics!
6. Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
Jake Gyllenhaal took his talents to the video game movie genre when he starred in the film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The film was a period piece with Gyllenhaal as Dastan, a street urchin adopted by the king who is later framed for that king's passing. He's then set out to prove his innocence.
The stunts really carry this movie with Gyllenhaal utilizing some very impressive Parkour style that helped the movie stand out from other action films at the time. As a swashbuckler, Prince of Persia was above average. But as a video game movie adaptation, it stood tall among the rest.
5. Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider was the third adaptation of the popular video game franchise. The first two movies starred Angelina Jolie and offered a lot of fun in a guilty pleasure sort of way. Neither movie was a critical darling but both featured some bananas action by Jolie that proved she was a legit action star.
However, in 2018 the franchise rebooted with an Oscar winner in the main role in Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl). She took Lara Croft and gave her a lot more grounded story. At least in the start, although it veered towards the supernatural somewhat later in the movie. Critics loved it too, giving it a fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
4. The Angry Birds Movie
When it hit theaters in 2016, The Angry Birds Movie received a lot of flack from people online. It was based on an app and seemed like nothing more than a cheap cash-in on a current fad. However, the voice cast was solid and the story actually had a nice meaning of finding acceptance and accepting who you are inside.
It wasn't terribly received by critics—who gave it a 44% rotten rating—although that is much higher than many other video game movies. It's entertaining and it was helped by being an animated film, although it has way too many eye-rolling puns thrown into its running time to really stand out among superior animated movies.
Duncan Jones had really impressed with his first movies. He opened his career with a low-budget sci-fi movie in Moon, where he did so much with so little money that it created excitement about where he could go from there. After the ambitious Source Code, he got his chance to adapt one of the most popular video game in the world.
Warcraft was savaged by critics but it is one of the most decisive video game movies out there with it sitting at 28% rotten with critics, and 77% fresh from fans. It has a ton of visual flourish, which is expected from Jones, but the story seemed to be a little too much stuffed into one movie.
2. Ready Player One
While there aren't many movies based on video games that are great, there are some fantastic movies based on video games as the subject matter. Fans should learn never to doubt Steven Spielberg, as he has made some of the greatest movies of all-time. When he adapted the polarizing Ready Player One, he added his personal touch and what resulted was a very entertaining movie.
While not based on a video game, the movie takes place inside of a video game. Imagine Tron but with a lot more cool stuff going on. There are tons of Easter eggs in this movie of '80s entertainment and it might be one of the most entertaining video game movies to not be based on an actual real-life game.
1. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Possibly the best movie to ever be made that is based on video games, in general, is Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. This is a movie based on a comic book about a slacker who meets a girl and then has to defeat all her evil exes in order to win her love. However, the way that Edgar Wright made the movie was to make it look like it all existed in a video game.
Scott Pilgrim received extra lives and power-ups as he battled the exes. Each of the ex-boyfriends (and girlfriend) got harder and harder until he finally reached the final boss of the game. Edgar Wright, who is one of the best filmmakers alive today, made what might be the best comic book and video game movie all wrapped up in one package.