Top 10 Best Movies Based on Popular Video Games Series

Tags: #Warcraft ,   #TombRaider ,   #ResidentEvil ,   #SilentHill ,   #MortalKombat

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2020-11-16 09:26:22

Let's be honest here – whenever a new video game based movie is announced, you probably just roll your eyes. Even when the creative forces behind the game are involved in the production, the end result is, well, disappointing. Poor scenario, a lack of meaningful connection with the source material, and lousy acting are so often united in a video game based movie. This makes them the perfect torture tool! Nevertheless, we dug deep and found the 10 best video game based movies. While none of them are works of art, they do offer a fun experience.  Note that we've included only movies shown in theatres.

10. DOA: Dead or Alive

"Dead or Alive" is cheesy, but at least visually attractive

Dead or Alive is one of the better movies based on fighting video games. However, this doesn't mean much when your main rivals are as awful as Street Fighters, Tekken, or The King of Fighters. Yes, there are many cheesy dialogues here, but the visuals are excellent, especially if you're not offended by scantily dressed women.

Dead or Alive games were always over the top when it comes to sex appeal, so keeping it that way on the big screen is a massive plus in our book. The lack of promotion and pretty limited budget resulted in a box office disaster, so even though the gaming series is alive and well, don't expect a sequel.

9.  Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

"Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" is more about action than exploring

By the end of the last century, the world was a bit tired of Tomb Raider games. Five of them were published in five years, as the quality was getting worse. Still, when the movie was announced, the hype was unreal! Angelina Jolie looked like the perfect Lara Croft. She managed to beat Jennifer Lopez, Sandra Bullock, Demi Moore, and tons of other high-profile stars that wanted the role.

So, how do you make an exciting movie about the explorer who spends most of her time alone in the various exotic locales? You turn it into an action spectacle, of course! Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is mindless fun with a thin plot and often cringy dialogue that earned it extremely negative reviews. However, the box office success was enough to produce a sequel, The Cradle of Life. This one is watchable too, but maybe you'd instead dedicate your time to some other movies on our list.

8. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Everyone expected more from "The Spirits Within"

Two decades ago, Final Fantasy was as enormously popular as today, so no wonder that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was so hyped, not only among the fans. An enormous $140 million budget was enough to create the most realistic computer-animated movie and hire the top cast, including Steve Buscemi, Alec Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, and James Woods.

Even today, The Spirits Within is visually stunning, but your enthusiasm will only decrease as you watch it. It's not that we expected the revolution, but the scenario combines various clichés and, worse, offers no emotional involvement. While it's running time is just above 100 minutes, you'll get the feeling that it's much longer. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was a huge box office bust. Square Enix is still trying hard to make us forget it ever existed.

7. Silent Hill

"Silent Hill" successfully captures the atmosphere of the games

Video games based movies often struggle with setting the right atmosphere, but Silent Hill surprisingly manages to do so. Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell's performances are inspired, along with the rest of the cast. With a budget of $50 million, Silent Hill was praised for excellent visuals that perfectly mirror the games, but not overdoing it. However, the biggest letdown here is the plot.

Even if you're a diehard fan that played every game, it's impossible to figure out what is going on here. As the movie progresses, you'll only get more confused before the ending that won't bring the satisfying conclusion – or any conclusion at all! Silent Hill was a moderate box office success, followed by a Silent Hill: Revelation, which should be skipped at all costs. A new sequel is already in planning stages, and hopefully, it will get things right this time.

6. Resident Evil

First "Resident Evil" is the best, but the others are solid too

Six years after the first game was introduced, director Paul W.S. Anderson and his girlfriend (and future wife) Mila Jovovich joined forces for a movie adaptation. While it's clearly based on the elements from the first two games, the story is mostly original. It focuses on a new character Alice, played by Jovovich. Although mixing the horror and action elements is done rather well, it won't stick in your mind.

Heck, that is the case with all six Resident Evil movies! Really, watch them all (they are decent, honestly!) and try to remember anything about them in a week or two. At least that gives them a remarkable replay value since you'll quickly forget all the plot holes and cheesy one-liners. Oh, and if you wonder why there are six films – their box office total is over $1,2 billion with a combined budget of only $288 million! That's how you do family business, kids.

5. Warcraft

"Warcraft" movie felt more like a prologue

After being 10 years in development, we were surprised when Warcraft was finally released. The lore of the gaming series is deep, and it features lots of terrific characters. Nonetheless, that's only partially translated into the big screen. Absurdly, the Orcs show signs of humanity, while humans will probably enrage you with their narrow-mindedness.

While the visuals are tremendous,  the plot feels empty. You see, the director Duncan Jones and his crew were so confident about the movie success, that they wanted to use it only as a prologue for sequels. As the box office score in the US was deeply disappointing, it would be a surprise if we ever saw one.

4. Sonic the Hedgehog

No one expected that "Sonic the Hedgehog" will be any good

Honestly, the idea of a live-action movie about a blue hedgehog sounded almost as bat-shit crazy as the big-screen adaptations of Crazy Taxi or Madden NFL curse. Plus, the initial scary-looking Sonic was so awful that it was promptly redesigned! Intentionally or not, this was an example of perfect marketing, as it showed that the creative team listens to the audience.

Luckily, the reshaped, cute Sonic, was not the only thing to love about this flick. The plot was surprisingly compelling, and Jim Carrey really, really enjoyed playing the crazy genius, Dr. Robotnik. Are you surprised that we're going to get a sequel or two? Take that Mario – your games might be better, but your movie sucked! Sega does what Nintendon't.

3. Mortal Kombat (1995)

"Mortal Kombat" gave us the perfect Shang Tsung!

Before the first Mortal Kombat movie, we had horrible game adaptations such as Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, or God forbid, Double Dragon. As they set the bar so low, Mortal Kombat had no trouble looking like an Oscar-winning material. Inspired by the first game, the movie introduces fan-favorite characters, including Sub Zero, Scorpion, Liu Kang, or Sonya. However, Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa steals the show as the mighty sorcerer Shang Tsung. At the same time, Trevor Goddard's performance of Kano reshaped the character in future games.

While the lack of budget is evident (that CGI!), the fights all look excellent and are often combined with techno-pumping tunes that will get stuck in your mind. Thanks to enormous success, the sequel was released two years later. Still, it would be very wise not to waste your time on it.

2. Tomb Raider (2018)

"Tomb Raider" closely follows the story from the game

Tomb Raider game (2013) was a terrific reboot of the franchise that inspired the next movie. Alicia Vikander is a new, vulnerable Lara, unlike her mass-murdering predecessor, Angelina Jolie. For this Lara, it's all about survival while she is trying to find her father that is presumed dead. While it takes some elements from the game, the script is mostly original.

While the plot doesn't offer many new elements, it's refreshing to see a realistic portrayal of the character that makes you care about it. Too bad that the rest of the cast is just there, in all its one-dimensional glory. Since there'll be a sequel, there's a chance for improvement!

1. Detective Pikachu

Looks like crazy idea, but "Detective Pikachu" works somehow!

The idea that a crime-solving yellow Pokemon game will translate well into a movie must have sounded so absurd that everybody wanted to see it! Luckily, you don't have to know anything about Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) and the rest of the gang to enjoy it.  Joining forces with former Pokemon trainer Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), the dynamic duo will try to solve the case of a missing father.

By skipping the tropes of video game-based movies, Detective Pikachu is an example for all future releases. Oh, and be aware that if you are watching a movie with children, the ending would probably be much different than what they might expect. You'll have some explaining to do!

Tons of new video game movies are coming, so hopefully, there'll be enough reasons to radically change this list in the next couple of years!

How many of these movies have you seen, and what are your favorites? Tell us in the comments!


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