Saturday, 6 April 2013

F - Film Frenzy! 5 up & 5 down of Video Game Films

We have all thought it at some point whilst playing our favourite video game, 'They should make a film of this, it would be awesome!' Low and behold, they do, and when they put your beloved pixels onto celluloid, things normally take a turn for the worse, as in tragically worse; not awesome in any shape for form. Usual criticisms are that the plot is stupid, the acting is awful, and SFX is cheap and most importantly, many of the highlights from the game are missing altogether! There are a few exceptions, and some are only good because they are so cheesy, but still enjoyable enough. I have picked out my best 5 and worst 5, but believe me the latter could have been a list a lot, lot longer.

Top 5 Best Video Game Films
Sub-Zero took a moment to teach the minions the Gangnam Style
#5 Mortal Kombat - A typical example of a video game movie which is so hyper cheesy and crass, it's actually rather enjoyable. Good to see that the bulk of the primary characters are included and represented correctly, with a plot-line akin to the first game involving a tournament of mortal and outworld combatants. Knockabout throwaway viewing, with only a glimmer of disappointment because unlike the game, it's not overly violent. More outrageous finishers please.

#4 Resident Evil - Milla Jonovich, a good argument on it's own to watch and like this film. However other reasons include some tense scary bits, bloodthirsty action and many similarities and prompts lifted from the first two games, such as the T-Virus, Umbrella and Raccoon City. It's a shame the entire character roster has changed and the original plot has been mostly ignored, so no Chris, Claire or Jill, or even Wesker, which does suck somewhat. Gory entertainment faithful to the basics of the game in many respects though.

#3 Wreck-it Ralph - Not strictly based off any particular game, this pulls inspiration from many classic and famous titles such as Rampage, Mario Kart and Halo, and using real known characters plus a few originals to hinge the story around, creates a whole brilliant and subversive universe out of video gaming. Ideal for the family in all respects, and retro gamers will be wallowing in nostalgia at the multitude of past gaming greats. It's also of the highest quality animation and voice acting, and has a fine humorous and heartening story too. A great film.

#2 Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie - This is what the Street Fighter die-hard's wanted, and they got it thanks to those clever people from the rising sun! Every character from the game has screen time, although not evenly, and all portrayed as they should be, faithful to  the game immensely  Obviously the focus is around Ryu and Bison, and this is what we wanted to see created from the most famous and memorable fighting game. With the slick style of a typical quality anime, great fight sequences, a plot relevant to the game and that 'pee your pants' factor when a special move is performed, it pays homage to SF2 in all aspects. A far cry away from the utter dirge of the live action flick. (See worst 5!)

Tifa's hay-fever attack had caught Cloud unawares
#1 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - After recovering  from the initial disappointment of discovering this is not a film version of the actual title, you soon realise this sequel to the games extensive plot is very good indeed. Cloud gets the spotlight as you would expect, whom is wonderfully depicted,  but seeing Tifa, Red, Cid and The Turks rendered in some unbelievably good CGI animation is a joy to behold. The dialogue, while convoluted in parts and tricky to get into is good for the most, and the flashbacks, character traits, music and familiar settings taken from the game are spine-melting to witness and hear. A trio of new antagonists is difficult to accept at first, but when the vision of the best baddie since Darth Vader is presented, you are not left wanting. Some excellent sequences much alike the game, Tifa's fight in Aries' church is matrix-stylee spectacular, this film has so many connections and plot seals: it's a truly top geekfest for the fanboys like me. Leaves you with a warm sense of closure at the end also. Not as good as the game, but what on this Earth is??

Top 5 Worst Video Game Films

#5 Doom - The most infamous and influential FPS of the nineties made into an infamously shoddy film. With a very slim grip of the game's plot in places, a cast of wooden statues and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson flexing his newly formed acting muscles; liberal use of the fake claret splashed around was the order of the day. Some of the effects are not altogether bad, but It's hard to follow what is exactly going on or too keep any sustained interest. You may as well get a mate round to play Doom while you watch on twiddling your thumbs, giving a backseat sofa commentary. That would be more entertaining and fulfilling. 

#4 DOA: Dead or Alive - The only reason why this was made was to show off a bountiful array of pretty women having a cat-fight. A couple of blokes are chucked in to please the few girls that actually watched this as well. The game itself was a fairly good 3D Beat 'em up, nothing special save for the able cleavages and derrieres of the female fighters. Nice to look at certainly, but thin on plot, thin on dialogue, thin on everything apart from the fine form of Holly Valance. Yes, this was one of her few acting roles after Aussie soap Neighbours, and she made another video game acting entry by starring on C & C Red Alert 3. Who knew?

#3 Super Mario Bros - From 'The Long Good Friday' to 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', Bob Hoskins has a few good movies in his CV, this is NOT one of them. Marred with many issues too long to list, it is quite honestly an embarrassment to the fine Mario game franchise, with a haphazard plot and fundamental changes to the ethos which made Mario the hero he is. I mean, King Koopa is a human?? Goomba's walk around like zombies? The only tiny saving grace of this film is the numerous name-drops of some of the background characters of the games, such as Iggy Koopa. A massive flop with a stella cast whom all have banished this as a big mistake in their respective careers. Ugh!

#2 Street Fighter - I have a lot of anger towards this travesty of the video game movie. Firstly, it's a shocking film for a fine actor like Raúl Juliá to go out on; he sadly died soon after. He does however put in a good stint as M Bison, but that really is the only redeeming quality of this mess of a film. Van Damme's movies are usually throwaway smack-a-bouts that can be enjoyable, but this didn't even get that right, with poorly choreographed fights and even worst in-fight acting. Worse still, nearly every personality and character trait is radically changed from the game, leaving it completely unfaithful to it's source. Balrog is a cameraman, Dhalsim is a scientist. Ryu and Ken? Yep, they are con-men! A complete load of monkey droppings! The best part of this film is the end, as it not only marks the finish of this turd of a movie, but the characters all freeze in their game poses. There is only one video game film more crap than this....

In my spare time, I bring mice back to life.
#1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li - Just when you thought is was safe to think up another live action Street Fighter film, this piece of drivel gets made. Having wisely sidestepped a connection with the above film, this proceeds to make a whole new meaning to the art of bad video game film-making  Missing tons of characters with a barmy plot which is not only tediously dull but is also far removed from the game as possible, Balrog is now Bison's employee who likes shooting guns, Bison's casting is just a joke and Chunner's herself isn't even recognisably Chinese, well, not really. Her hair is all wrong too. Mind you Kristin Kreuk is still rather tasty. Only the inclusion of Gen, a character from the first game, raises the face muscles for a nanosecond until you discover he is really Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat, but that can hardly hide the awfulness of this. A bad, bad, baaaaadd film in every sense, I found the homemade low budget flick "Painted shed drying as the lawn grows" far more intense and enjoyable. Avoid at all costs.

There it is - 10 video game films, some good, some bad. Next in line for the A to Z challenge Novabug treatment is sports video games. How does that fit in with the letter G? If you will be so kind as to drop in tomorrow, you will find out won't you?

Bug... 'Out!


  1. Ahh, Mortal Kombat is very good, glad someone agrees :D Shame the sequel was altogether naff. And Wreck-it-ralph is very fun too, really enjoyed that. As you say, Doom doesn't even come close to following the games. Hitman was pretty bad too, replacing the intelligent stealth antics with dumbass action. Never watched Resi 1, but saw Resident Evil: Afterlife which was pretty bad. Funny that one of the genres frequently adapted into movies is the fighting genre, which usually doesn't have that deep of a plot :P

  2. What a very thorough exposition of 10 video games! I am not a gamer - my 2 sons are and somehow I will try to get your link to them.
    Wonder what your G will be - are you still thinking? Golf? Is there such a video 'game'? Could be?
    Susan Scott's Soul Stuff

  3. I am not a gamer, my husband and son are. I will have to have them check out your blog. Fellow A-Z blogger here.

  4. To Super Mario Bro's credit, going by the Super Mario Bros game for the NES, it didn't exactly have much of a plot, and while it could've been made better, it wasn't completely atrocious. I found it amusing at least.

  5. I actually agree with you mate.. But would probably have put Mortal Kombat one space up (That's only because I havn't seen Resident Evil or Wreck it Ralph yet and really like the movie).. Your Top 5 worst I would have put in Mortal Kombat 2: Annihalation (they completely annihalated it).. They took a great game and made a good movie then made a complete bomb..

  6. Great choices, and I pretty much agree with you on those. There are only a few I have not see. My favorite of the "Ups" is Resident Evil. :)

    From A to Z, Kristen's blog: