With the recent news that last year’s smash hit PS3 exclusive, Last of Us is getting the silver screen treatment it becomes necessary to ask if this is the best move for the franchise. Sony and Naughty Dog have a very strong relationship and have shown that they are capable of churning out killer app after killer app. Historically however, video game movies are what comic book movies used to be before the recent slew of Summer Blockbusters.
Let’s count down the 7 most notable flops:
7. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Somehow this is the highest grossing video game movie ever made. Featuring a buffed up Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince, with the muscle of the Disney machine behind him. This film wasn’t bad by any means but that’s also not saying that it was good. Aside from its “obvious-if-you’ve-seen-a-movie-this-decade” ending and a lack of any memorable moments it’s tolerable and as such the best of this bunch. The main issue is that when compared to the genre redefining source material there is so little emotion involved that it falls flat.
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I know what you’re thinking, a movie about space marines shooting demons starring the Rock? Can’t be all bad right? WRONG. This movie basically just had to show you the Rock shooting things while cracking wise for an hour and it would have made been just fine. Instead it chooses to play up some deus ex machina style super virus that makes good people superhuman and bad people monsters. This movie could have taken notes from Clive Owen’s Shoot em Up and been amazing, instead its relegated to Saturday afternoon Sci-Fi Channel status. The videogame revolutionized the FPS landscape while this movie managed to not even properly execute time honored sci-fi action movie tropes.
5. Max Payne
This one really hurts, because I’m about as big a combined Mark Wahlberg/Max Payne fan as you’re likely to find. Despite this movie making more than it should have and probably helping a lot in terms of getting the often delayed sequel finally released, I just can’t find a single thing to like about it. Video game Max Payne is a caricature, a constipated-faced noir detective who can’t win and just wants to be left alone. Wahlberg somehow manages to underperform even that. Also while all of the movies on this list take artistic license with the source material only one to come later manages to mangle its story more. For a game that finally gave us the chance to use bullet-time (think the slow mo shooting from the matrix series) this movie is best played in fast forward.
Two words. UWE BOLL. If you are a video game fan who also likes movies then that should say enough to you. If not, then read on. This trainwreck only opened in 985 theaters. Instead of hiring actors Boll hired actual hookers as extras in one of the scenes. This movie feels like you gave a 12 year old a pen, paper, a budget and asked him to make a movie about a half human half vampire and then after he turned in his draft, you proceeded you put it into a room full of monkeys with typewriters and asked them to cut out the parts that made sense. Even stranger here is the fact that unlike the other games on this list, BloodRayne ISN’T EVEN THAT GOOD. It makes you wonder who thought a movie by an insane director about an average at best game series would make sense, much less box office dollars.
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3. Street Fighter
Ok, I’ll admit I don’t actually hate this movie for what it is, and as a Raul Julia fan, it holds a special place as his final film performance. That being said this movie which earned triple its budget back for the studio mangled the source material in a way that is just unforgivable. Who doesn’t like Jean-Claude Van Damme? That being said who thinks that he should be playing GUILE. Guile is one of the most American characters in gaming history and hearing him speak with a French Accent just didn’t work. Add to that the comical special effects and the random changes to the well-known characters backstories (somehow Balrog and DeeJay are on the opposite sides of their in-game villain hero alignments for example) and you have a movie that doesn’t apologize for what it is… even though maybe it should.
2. Double Dragon
So instead of just placing two brothers in the crosshairs of a crime syndicate for some stock reason, this movie instead chooses to place the film in a post-apocalyptic setting where magic is real and the double dragon medallion grants its holders the power to possess people or the power to be super strong…. Yeah this is already bad. The archetypal beat-em up Double Dragon sees its legacy drastically tarnished by a movie that could very easily have just featured two Jackie Chans and some variance of the Rumble In the Bronx plot. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have rather watched the scene where Chan dispatches his foes with the items found around a construction site on a loop than this travesty, if you do I’ll have to introduce you to a ladder, a bucket, and many many brooms.
1. Super Mario Brothers
Come on, be honest, you knew this was going to have the “hammer” spot on this list right? This is the unlikely combination of the single most iconic video game franchise of all time with one of the worst films to ever grace the silver screen. Somehow a game that is as family friendly as can be saw its directors try to take the film in a more adult direction, ostracizing John Lequizamo, Dennis Hopper, and Bob Hoskins, (three actors with the chops to save such a debacle) to the point that they were driven to drink. Think about this, Nintendo has probably 5 of the ten most legendary properties ever, and NONE of them have since seen a movie adaptation after this debacle. Giant lizards, jump boots and the total bastardization of a world renowned series place this as the single worst video game move of all time.
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