The quality bar for video game movies is so low that a slight hop can clear it, but it doesn't stop us fans from flooding to theatres whenever they release. Sure, most of the time we know we're going to get hurt, but we want to believe that somewhere out there, there is a good movie based on a gaming property we love.
Thankfully, not all of them are bad, so every once in a while, we can be caught off guard and actually have a good time and we want to remember those moments. So, we've compiled a list of the best and worst video game movies ever made.
10 Best: Rampage
Somehow, Rampage — the movie based on a game where a gorilla and a lizard destroy a city — was a good movie. Sure, there's enough brainless action that it had no reason to fail, but we know how this whole song and dance works.
Still, the movie followed a bromance between Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his favorite primate who got really big, and it was equal parts exciting and touching. Sure, it didn't break new ground in any sense of the imagination, but it was a fun romp that actually expanded its video game source material in a good way.
9 Worst: Mortal Kombat (1995)
We acknowledge that Mortal Kombat is a beloved movie, and all things considered, it's fun, but it is objectively bad. The film follows fan favorites Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson), and Lui Kang (Robin Shou) who were picked by Lord Rayden (Christopher Lambert) to fight Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and his warriors.
To its credit, it follows the lore of the video games, but it's very campy, the special effects don't hold up, and the acting is cheesy, but as far as the worst video game movies go, it's the least bad of the bad.
8 Best: Assassin's Creed
The Assassin's Creed franchise has always been perfect for the big screen and its debut was pretty solid. Taking place in the same universe as the video game, this movie follows Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) as he goes through the memories of Aguilar de Nerha (also Michael Fassbender) during the Spanish Inquisition.
In a lot of ways, this movie feels like a video game — which did hurt its reception with a wider audience — but embracing the source material was a smart idea in such a story driven franchise.
7 Worst: Hitman: Agent 47
Hitman has enjoyed a few movies that range from alright to pretty unwatchable, Agent 47 is the latter. Directed by Aleksander Bach — who prior to this, only worked on music videos and commercials — the plot focuses on 47 (Rupert Friend) as he tracks down Katia Litvenko (Hannah Ware) in an attempt to find her father, a former geneticist who disappeared before the Agent Project was completed.
The movie itself is full of drama, but no intrigue, the actors have almost no chemistry, and the action beats fall flat, leaving most fans of the Hitman franchise frustrated and bored.
6 Best: Tomb Raider (2018)
In this iteration of the popular gaming franchise, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) goes searching for her adventurer father who has been missing for years. There, her mind and body are pushed to the limit as she traverses the island of Yamatai — his last known location. With some fantastic cinematography, great choreographing, and solid acting, this movie was pretty underrated and criminally overlooked upon its release.
The film would always be in the shadow of Angelina Jolie's series — which was one of the first real video game movies that pushed a franchise from being part of what once was a niche market to being part of popular culture —and while we commend them for their place in history 2018's Tomb Raider is a legitimately good movie that really highlights the mostly positive changes the series has made since the 2000s.
5 Worst: House Of The Dead
The idea of a House Of The Dead movie could actually work. Sega's popular light-gun arcade shooter is full of camp, making it the perfect candidate for a grindhouse-type adaptation, unfortunately, the 2003 adaptation couldn't rise to the occasion.
Like most of the titles on this list, the game's lore is thrown out the window, but what its replaced with is dumb, and depending on how far poorly made movies can go for you, it's unfun. Following a group of college students who go to an island to rave, there are some underlying crushes and a few zombies, but it's obvious the budget here was limited at best, but that's no excuse. Still, it did well enough to get a sequel, so there's that.
4 Best: Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time was a fantastic video game that had fans around the world talking, so when word came out that there would be a movie based on the popular title, gamers were equal parts excited and afraid. After all, the game came out seven years prior to the movie, so there was a bit of a reputation to uphold by that point.
In the end, the result was something fun that didn't quite live up to the franchise's pedigree but was solid nonetheless. With strong performances from Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan, Ben Kingsley as Prince Nizam of Persia, and Alfred Molina Sheik Amar, fantastic visuals and a plot lifted straight from the video game, this is a really good time.
3 Worst: Double Dragon
Taking place in the fictional city of New Angeles, Billy Lee (Scott Wolf) and Jimmy (Mark Decascos) are martial arts masters trained and raised by Satori (Julia Nickson) who is pursued by Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick), an evil crime lord in search of a magical medallion. So, when Shuko comes looking for their master, it's up to them to protect her.
Double Dragon was one of the biggest game franchises of the late 1980s and early 1990s, so it's no surprise that by the time 1994 rolled around, it got its own movie. Unfortunately for fans of the popular beat-em-up, it didn't live up to the hype. The acting is brutal, and the plot is strange, making what could have been a fun action karate-film something convoluted and messy.
2 Best: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
Maybe there's a little recency bias here, but Detective Pikachu is being hailed as the best video game movie ever, but it's not hard to see why. For any fan of the popular game and anime series, Detective Pikachu gives you a living, breathing Pokémon world that we never thought we'd see.
The plot follows Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a Pokémon trainer whose father goes missing. He stumbles upon Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds), who he can mysteriously understand. The two then head to Ryme City in search of Goodman's dad, but this movie, just like the games, is about the adventure and the bond between a trainer and his Pokémon.
1 Worst: Super Mario Bros
Super Mario Bros is so bad it's actually kind of impressive. To start, the film itself has almost nothing to do with the source material. Bowser is called Koopa and isn't a dragon turtle, the Koopas are weird reptile humans and Daisy is a paleontologist. The story is also bizarre. We know there wasn't much to work with, but a dimension-jumping T-Rex looking to merge two worlds by kidnapping a paleontologist who has a meteorite that can do so seems like a stretch.
Separating what we know about the video game series, however, this movie is just poorly made. So much so, Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi hated filming so much that the latter admitted they drank straight whiskey on set.