There's no debate: movies based on video game franchises have delivered more than enough duds and misfires to earn their current stigma (the same could be said for games based on movies, as well). With such a checkered track record, it's easy to understand why modern studios have left promising projects in development limbo. But just because some video game movies have failed in a grander fashion than others, doesn't mean they should be remembered as the downright worst in history.
Films like Super Mario Bros. (1993), Doom (2005) Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and even Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) may be the most mentioned when it comes to misguided game adaptations, but they still manage to offer popcorn entertainment as advertised - regardless of their relation to the source material. Other films managed to not just embarrass the games that spawned them, but fail at telling a worthwhile story. Without further ado, read on for our list of The 15 Worst Video Game Movies.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
The landmark Resident Evil game more than earned its chance to redefine survival horror movies, but few would have guessed how long the film series would last - least of all director Paul W.S. Anderson. The impact, action, and scares of the original movie have largely stood the test of time, but the films that followed have proven more divisive.
It's only fair to include at least one RE movie in our list, and the fact that Resident Evil: Afterlife fails to deliver engaging action, scares, or satisfying plot twists makes it a low point - if not for the critics, then the fans. That it called upon fan-favorite characters Chris and Claire Redfield in the process only adds to the disappointment.
Max Payne (2008)
A Max Payne movie following the titular detective through a gripping Noir story of revenge for his murdered family is an easy sell - but the drug-addled hallucinations of Norse warriors adds the hook needed for catchy visuals. Yet even before the film's release, some of the game's producers were already making their disappointment known.
With star Mark Wahlberg in the title role, it made sense for the game's use of 'bullet time' action sequences to be given a larger role, but with Valkyrie hallucinations implied to be real, and a revenge tale that only made sense halfway through the film, Max Payne would go on to be near-universally panned.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012)
Silent Hill's story of everyday characters lost in the crazed rituals of a small town American cult may seem like typical horror B-movie fare, but surprisingly, the first film wasn't a total loss. The story twists were contrived and problematic for most, but the actual psychological terror and visuals did the source material justice.
The same, however, can't be said for the 2012 sequel. Despite a notable cast - Sean Bean (Jupiter Ascending), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) - Silent Hill: Revelation 3D traded horror for a bland, gory, reality-bending story, and it cost the overall film. With few redeeming qualities, it fails to even entertain in the same way as its predecessor - despite being shown in all three dimensions!
Of all the entries on our list, Hitman would likely win the vote of 'most likely to succeed' given the game's fiction (genetically engineered assassins) and its leading man (Justified's Timothy Olyphant). Director Xavier Gens even resisted attempts to hold the film to a PG-13 rating. But such commitment to the original game wasn't meant to be, as Gens would eventually be pulled from the project by Fox, so that changes could be made.
Footage from the TV series Dark Angel was spliced in to explain Agent 47's intentionally-vague origins, and any attempt to make up for the film's generic script and action was lost. The second time will be the charm, perhaps?
DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
We'd like to believe there was a real chance to make a worthwhile cinematic adventure out of the Dead or Alive fighting game series - a franchise famous for its scantily-clad female fighters and 'jiggle physics.' After all, the first Mortal Kombat proved a shallow fighting game story and oddball characters can still make for an entertaining movie.
But even with a similar tournament storyline, there just wasn't enough substance aside from the eye candy. Even good action can't make up for laughable acting, dialogue, and plot.