The Curse of the Crappy Videogame Movie! Just how bad is it?

The Curse of the Crappy Videogame Movie! Just how bad is it?

In this article, I’ll take a look at some of the best and the worst movies based upon videogames that have been made. I’ll take a look at their commercial and critical success and also give my own thoughts on the ones that I’ve watched. Please note that “best” is a subjective term and I use it very loosely when applied to some of these videogame movies.  First up, it’s Mortal Kombat.

The best and worst movies based upon videogames

1) Mortal Kombat (1995)

Metacritic score: 58%
IMDB score: 5.8.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 34%
Budget: $20 million.
Box office: $122.1 million.

It’s hard to believe that the original Mortal Kombat movie is one of the most successful videogame movies. Perhaps that speaks more to how bad the rest of them have been. Whilst I would never class the original Mortal Kombat movie as one of my all-time favourite films, it was watchable and entertaining enough. It also stayed faithful to the game.

2) Street Fighter (1994)

IMDB score: 3.8.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 15% (audience score 20%)
Budget: $35 million.
Box Office: $99.4 million.

Okay, this one was pretty bad. I did still manage to sit through the whole movie though, which is more than I can say for some other entries on this list. And although on the whole the script is awful, there are a few amusing lines. For instance, “For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.” And it was better than Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li.

3) Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Metacritic score: 33%
Rotten Tomatoes score: 20% (audience score 47%)
IMDB score: 5.8.
Budget: $115 million.
Box office: $274.7 million.

Tomb Raider

The ever-watchable Angelina Jolie made this movie a lot more bareable for me. I even watched the sequel.

Okay, so it was never going to win any Oscars but I still went to see this movie at the cinema and enjoyed it enough. Because, Angelina Jolie. I even went along to the cinema and got some enjoyment out of the inferior sequel. Again, because of Angelina Jolie. And to more than double the budget with the box office takings isn’t that bad.

4) Resident Evil (2002)

IMDB score: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes score: 34% (audience score 67%)
Metacritic score: 33%
Budget: $33 million.
Box Office: $102.4 million.

And now for the most successful videogame-movie film series. Resident Evil did so well that there have been six Resident Evil movies and each one has been commercially successful. As movies, I basically like them. I do find it a little difficult though that they’re called Resident Evil, as they don’t really have much in common with the games that inspired them. It would be a bit like doing an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice that’s set on Mars and doesn’t feature any romance.

5) Super Mario Bros (1993)

IMDB score: 4.0
Rotten Tomatoes score: 15% (audience score 28%)
Budget: $48 million.
Box office: $20.9 million.

Like Resident Evil, this movie didn’t have much to do with the game that inspired it. Unlike Resident Evil, it wasn’t watchable. I have never made it all the way through this movie – it’s that bad. Check out the Honest Trailer for it below.

6) In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)

Metacritic score: 15%
Rotten Tomatoes score: 4% (audience score 22%)
Budget: $60 million.
Box office: $5 million.

In an article featuring some of the worst videogame movies, I just had to include at least one film which was directed by Uwe Boll. A $55 million loss is quite special. And how the hell did he convince Ray Liotta and Jason Statham to act in it? Mind control? If you see that one of your favourite games has been adapted into a movie by Uwe Boll, just avoid it – no matter how great the temptation to watch it may be.

7) The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

Metacritic score: 43%
Rotten Tomatoes score: 44% (audience score 46%)
Budget: $73 million.
Box Office: $349.8 million.

On paper, it shouldn’t have worked. It was a game about catapulting birds to knock over pigs. And yet, it was one of the most successful videogame-movie adaptations of all time. I wouldn’t say that I personally liked it but my 7 year old daughter did and she’s the target audience. With it doing so well at the box office, don’t be surprised if we get sequels and a Bad Piggies spin-off movie.

8) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Metacritic: 50%
Rotten Tomatoes: 36% (58% audience score)
Budget: $200 million.
Box Office: $336.3 million.

Criticised at the time of its release for some casting choices, as a fan of the Prince of Persia games I still found a lot to like with this movie. Thanks to the huge budget, it’s gorgeous to look at. It’s also fast paced and for the most part, entertaining.

9) Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Metacritic: 36%
Rotten Tomatoes: 18% (43% audience score)
IMDB: 5.8.
Budget: $125 million.
Box office: $203 million.

As it cost $125 million to make and made $203 million, you might consider this to be a modest success – at least commercially. However, due to a hefty marketing spend on top of the budget for making the movie, this was classed as one of the biggest flops of 2016. Despite that, I still want to get around to watching it someday. Maybe when it’s on Netflix. Am I in for a treat?

10) DOA: Dead or Alive (2007)

Metacritic: 38%
Rotten Tomatoes: 33% (36% audience score)
IMDB: 4.8.
Budget: $21 million.
Box Office: $7.5 million.

The Dead or Alive games are fighting games that are famous for their “jiggle physics”. They also spawned volleyball spin-off games, which of course I only played for the volleyball. The movie of the game was dreadful. It did however at least feature a volleyball scene, which may be appreciated by fellow fans of the sport.

Which are your favourite and least favourite videogame-movie adaptations? Are you looking forward to the Uncharted movie or the Tomb Raider one? Please comment below and let us know.

So, I hope that you liked this article. If so, you may be interested in reading the Tomb Raider – Director Interview article. Alternatively, you could read the Castlevania Netflix Review article instead.


I love gaming, creative writing, the theatre, anime, watching football & spending time with friends & family. I'm also a bit obsessed with superheroes.

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9 comments on “The Curse of the Crappy Videogame Movie! Just how bad is it?”

  1. Avatar Castielle says:

    It’s almost like Games have surpassed Movies as the leading form of entertainment…


  2. Avatar announakis says:

    mmmhhh…Mortal Kombat had something for itself that others do not have: some fights were really well choreographed and the guys doing Scorpion and Subzero were amazing.

    everything else is blatant fail.

  3. Avatar Caradox says:

    I like Mortal Kombat too, announcakis. I wouldn’t go so far as to say all the others are "blatant fail" though. I guess it depends on what metric you’re using to define whether or not they were a success though. For instance, Resident Evil had a $33 million budget and earned over $102.4 million and over 60% of the audience liked it. If I was responsible for the Resident Evil movie, I’d be happy with a $100 million + return and that percentage of the audience liking the film.

  4. Bonaduce80 says:

    Uwe Boll had some sort of special deal tax wise as films in Germany will get funded as long as they don’t make a whatever percentage of money based on its cost, so they are great vehicles for him while the taxpayers and fans will be outraged. That is my understanding though, so I can’t guarantee that is the state of things. Alone in the Dark was enough for me, not going through any of his other films.

  5. Nunkuruji says:

    Can’t think of an instance of a video game movie that would be considered great film making. It would take an effort similar to what has transpired with the MCU to bring any sort of legitimacy – between pleasing fans of the source material, and making a good film at the same time.

    That said, I’m still thoroughly entertained by a lot of films that are boo’d by critics and RT snobs. Half of the list I’ve enjoyed watching, but at the same time, there’s only a small number of films I am willing to spend ticket prices on seeing in theater.

    Mila & Paul basically got a license to do what they want with the RE films. IMO sweet gig, they got to keep doing something that would be really fun, and financially generally broke even on budget/US gross, and made the (much bigger) margin in worldwide.

  6. Avatar Rakuyo says:

    I actually liked the Resident Evil movie, and Street Fighter, and I thought the Assassin’s Creed movie was a welcome surprise.

    And where’s Spirits Within, or Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016), or Warcraft?

    I really can’t think of a website I disagree with more often than IMDb, it’s just a completely different world.

  7. Avatar Caradox says:

    I do like Kingsglaive & Advent Children, Rakuyo. I just felt that there was only so many films I could include in the article. There’s a lot of films that I didn’t add.

    I’ll definitely check out Assassin’s Creed at some point. Unsure about Warcraft. I wasn’t a big fan of the MMO (although I did enjoy the strategy titles that preceded it), so unsure about that one.

  8. Avatar Caradox says:

    I’ve just looked up that tax loophole, Bonaduce80. Wow. That sounds so dodgy!

  9. Avatar Caradox says:

    I think I’m basically on the same page as you Nunkuruji. I don’t watch them expecting Shakespeare but typically will still enjoy ones that critics snubbed.

    It’s rare that I get to the cinema. I think I went once last year to see something I actually wanted to watch (I have a seven year old daughter, so go with her to see Trolls or the Emoji Movie or whatever she’s excited by but it’s not quite the same). My wife has M.E and so going to the cinema takes a lot of our her, so we tend to wait for the Blu Ray. Besides, the wait from it being at the cinema to it coming out on Blu Ray is pretty short nowadays.

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