House of the Dead (2003)
It may only be in the past few years that video game narratives have gotten attention, but the light gun arcade game genre isn't known for its story or characters. House of the Dead was one particularly gruesome example, but adapting it to a full-scale film seemed like folly at the time - the kind of folly only Uwe Boll would attempt.
The movie lacks even the odd hooks of other Boll films, following a group of teens on their way to an island rave, populated by zombies (gasp!) with predictable results. It may approach 'so bad it's good' levels of enjoyment, but history tells us that was not the director's intent. And again, the tie to a video game was completely pointless.
With the phrase "going postal" (losing control and succumbing to violence) already a bit insensitive, it's no surprise that the video game Postal embraced controversy and excess. Where games like Grand Theft Auto were targeted as corrupting youth, Postal pushed boundaries farther, downright reveling in violence and political incorrect-ness.
For director Uwe Boll, that made it perfect for film, while taking more inspiration from Postal 2, satirizing pop culture, suburban life, and American politics in the strange town of Paradise, Arizona. Unfortunately, Boll's decision to court controversy in every form - be it violence, race, religion, or politics - doomed the film.
Based on a hack-and-slash Xbox game following a half-human, half-vampire killer, BloodRayne perfectly encapsulates all the shortcomings of the modern 'video game movie.' It's violent, melodramatic, and at times downright ridiculous.
The film would still go on to spawn two sequels (minus star Kristanna Loken), but tales of the original production are just as hard to believe - from director Uwe Boll hiring prostitutes instead of actresses to save money, to cast member Michael Madsen (Kill Bill) publicly criticizing the film as an abomination. But when a film begins shooting with the first draft of a script, what do you expect?
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)
Earning the title of 'worst video game movie ever' is no easy task - but Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li makes a strong case. As well known as the fan-favorite character (played by Kristin Kreuk) may be, shaping a film around her origin story was an odd choice - meaning it's hard to tell which part of the film is truly the worst: the script, the cast, the action, or the very idea of it.
It's one thing for a video game movie to be dull, misguided, or even embarrassing. But where the original Street Fighter movie embraced over-the-top performances and spectacle, Chun-Li attempts to be taken seriously (it can't be). Fortunately, it did give movie fans one of the most incredible performances in video game filmmaking to date:
Alone in The Dark (2008)
Not every horror video game favors slow burns and tension over jump scares and gore, but with its inspiration drawn from the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the Alone in the Dark series isn't your typical horror game.
Taking series protagonist Edward Carnby (played by Christian Slater) and his paranormal investigations into live-action now seems years ahead of its time, but in the hands of Uwe Boll, Alone in the Dark didn't just become the worst video game movie we know of - but to many, one of the worst films, period. We would say it's a perfect example of how directors shouldn't adapt games to film... but that would require that people be forced to watch it for themselves. Best take our word for it and skip this atrocity.
That concludes our list of the video game films which truly deserve to be saddled with the name of 'worst ever.' Not the most disappointing, the most high-profile, or even the most financially embarrassing - but the films which simply failed to make the time required to see them worthwhile.
What do you make of our list? Do these movies fall in line with your own idea of the worst ever, or do you take exception with some both in and out of the discussion? Leave your thoughts in the comments.