Video games would seem to be a fertile source for movie ideas. After all, both are creative endeavors, and some crossover is inevitable. Unfortunately, video game movies haven’t been the most successful projects, and that means that over time, they get even less funding. That can lead to some pretty poor efforts. These eight movies head the list of those sub-par films. Believe it or not, less than half of them are by Uwe Boll.
House of the Dead
I remember my first thought when I heard that a House of the Dead movie was in the works. It was, “How the hell do you make a full-length feature film out of a light-gun game?” It turns out that you just wing it and make most everything up. Lots of zombies invade a planned rave, and there are plenty of guns and silly fight scenes. Add in a big bad guy who’s injected himself with immortality serum (but somehow still gets killed), and you’ve got all the ingredients for the mess House of the Dead turns out to be.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
The first Mortal Kombat movie was cheesy, but it had something that made it fun (maybe it was our age when we saw it). Unfortunately, that meant that a sequel was inevitable, and when Mortal Kombat: Annihilation was released, we saw how wrong it could go. Series stalwart Johnny Cage was killed off in the first few minutes, and at one point, Liu Kang turns into a dragon and is fighting a battle that looks like something out of Pokemon or Power Rangers. On top of that, the re-casting was not done well. The only good thing about this movie was that it was bad enough to cancel a planned third installment.
Super Mario Bros.
The first video game film, Super Mario Bros. also broke ground by showing how not to handle a big-screen adaptation. It had plenty of big name talent, including Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. Unfortunately, that’s all it had. Hopper played King Koopa, who was human instead of a reptile for some reason. Hoskins and Leguizamo, neither of who look even vaguely Italian, played the titular brothers. When asked what the worst thing he ever worked on in his career was, Hoskins replied, “The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Brothers. It was a fuckin’ nightmare.” That pretty much sums up what it was like watching it as well.
Jean-Claude Van Damme was an action movie stalwart in the late 80s and early 90s, but he misses a roundhouse kick with Street Fighter. The fight scenes are shoddily edited, and watching Van Damme struggle through his lines is downright painful. There’s no cohesive story, as the film instead tries hard to fit in as many characters from Street Fighter 2 as possible, whether it makes sense or not. Sadly, this was Raul Julia’s last movie, and his portrayal of M. Bison is the only reason to watch this mess, and then only if you’re into camp and nonsense.
If you’ve ever wondered how a first-person shooter would translate to a film, Doom is the answer. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson leads a team to Mars to investigate the fate of an outpost there. They find a portal to Hell and demons everywhere. THat gives them a portal to close and lots of things to shoot. The entire film seems to be built to lead up to the climactic battle, which is shot largely in the same first-person perspective the game is played in. Unfortunately, it’s like watching someone else play your game on your computer. We all know that’s no fun at all.
Another Uwe Boll masterpiece, Bloodrayne somehow manages to take an amazing cast and make them look terrible. Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Madsen, and even Oscar winner Ben Kingsley appear here, and it just makes you feel bad for all of them. You’ll see better costumes at PAX East in a couple of weeks. The only reason Bloodrayne isn’t Boll’s worst movie of all time? Well, you’ll see that later on this list.
The potential in the Wing Commander movie was off the charts. I mean, this was a game that had gotten stellar actors for its voice and live-action cutscene cast, and we all hoped we’d see those faces in the movie. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Instead of Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies and Malcolm McDowell, we got Freddy Prize Jr. fresh off a bunch of unfunny teen movies. Even worse, they teamed him up with Matthew Lillard. It was an unbelievable missed opportunity.
Alone in the Dark
This is the film that holds the the sorry distinction of being the worst thing Uwe Boll ever made. Alone in the Dark turns a creepy survival-horror game that’s a pure classic to play into a confusing mishmash of Aliens and The X-Files. Bad acting (sorry, Christian Slater) combines with bad casting (seriously, Tara Reid is supposed to be believable as an archaeologist?) to produce a thoroughly unwatchable movie. The only way this movie would be worthwhile is with Crow and Tom Servo on the bottom of the screen. The original game is only $6 on GOG>com. Play that instead of watching this tripe, which is wisely considered one of the worst films ever made.