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The Worst Video Game Movies Ever Made

still image from uncharted

Are video game movies cursed? Ever since Super Mario Bros. came out in 1993, it sure feels like it. Bob Hoskins, the film’s star, even said it was the worst job he ever had and, “the whole experience was a nightmare.”

For the video game industry, the nightmares never stopped coming. And as long as franchises like Resident Evil keep making money, there is simply no end in sight. For every success like Werewolves Within, there’s a Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Oh, so many Mortal Kombats

If you’re like me, then you know even bad video game movies have some value. I love watching a disaster unfold, and that’s exactly what every Uwe Boll (Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead) is. These films might be god awful, but they make for perfect Friday night entertainment. Here’s a list of the worst movies based on video games that I can’t stop watching.

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros - Worst Video Game Movies
Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures and Nintendo

Considered the first video game adaption, Super Mario Bros. is also one of the worst. Bob Hoskins stars as Mario, while Jon Leguizamo plays Luigi. A troubled production from the start, absolutely nothing is right with this film. From the complete redesign of the Goombas as weird-looking thugs, Yoshi being a literal dinosaur, and no Bowser, this movie just stinks.

Because it was the first, it has gained a cult following since its disastrous release. There’s even an extended director’s cut that I’ve heard is not so disenchanting. Still, if there was any good that came from this pile of dung, it’s that Nintendo became very protective of its properties.

It took nearly 20 years for the company to give into Hollywood again when it comes to video game movies and the result was Detective Pikachu. That adorable live-action film will not be making this list.

Monster Hunter

Video Game Movies - one of the monsters from the movie monster hunter - One of the worst video game movies of all-time
Photo Credit: Screen Gems and Capcom

Monster Hunter could have been such a good movie. Coming off the massive success of Monster Hunter World, Capcom let the franchise make the leap to the big screen. The only problem was they didn’t properly vet director Paul W.S. Anderson, who has a spotty track record with movies based on video games. Trust me, this won’t be the only time he makes this list.

Even with Anderson behind the camera, Monster Hunter gets so close to getting it right. The world is colorful and the monsters look incredible, but the story is about an American soldier played by Milla Jovovich, not the monster hunters themselves.

There is a hunter involved, played by Tony Jaa, and he and Jovovich form a friendship as he becomes her guide in this strange new world. Really, though, the movie should be about him and the world he inhabits. No American interference is needed. Wait a second…

Alone in the Dark

christian slater holds a gun in alone in the dark - video game movies
Photo Credit: Infogames and Lions Gate Films

Directed by Uwe Boll and starring Stephen Dorff and Tara Reid, is there anything positive that can be said about Alone in the Dark? I mean, I guess it failed to kill Christain Slater’s career. Barely. The one percent score on Rotten Tomatoes is being nice for the movie, which has a consensus that calls it, “inept on every level.”

The only reason to watch Alone in the Dark is if you want to know how not to make movies. Maybe I’m wrong though, seeing as Uwe Boll kept on going with BloodyRayne, In the Name of the King, and Postal, just to name a few. And let’s not forget his first video game horror show, House of the Dead.

I take back that last paragraph actually. Invite some friends over, pour some drinks, make some popcorn, and have a good time laughing at what just might be the worst video game movie of all time.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

a still image from the movie mortal kombat annihilation - movies based on video games
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

Does this movie make any sense? Before writing about it, I had to look up the plot even though I watched it just before the new Mortal Kombat film was released.

Apparently, an adaptation of Mortal Kombat 3, this failure of a sequel follows the fighters as they work together to stop Shao Kahn from conquering Earthrealm. Okay, that sounds familiar and kinda cool. Too bad everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

After the surprising success of the first movie, Paul W.S. Anderson was replaced as the director. Lord Rayden was also recast as the franchise moved on from the camp of Christopher Lambert to James Remar. Robin Shou was convinced to return as Liu Kang, in a decision I’m sure he regretted.

Mostly, Mortal Kombat Annihilation suffers from “everything must be bigger” syndrome. The film’s producer, Lawrence Kasanoff stated as much, admitting to trying to make a film, “even more spectacular than the first movie, which earned a healthy $73 million in the U.S. Annihilation is three times more ambitious than Mortal Kombat. Our theme for the sequel is to shoot for more – more fights, more special effects, more Outworld, more everything.”

It’s a shame, too, because while the 1995 film is dumb fun with some outdated CGI but still impressive practical effects, the sequel is just… dumb.

Mortal Kombat (2021)

Worst Video Game Movies of all time - goro from the movie mortal kombat
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

I had high hopes for Mortal Kombat 2021. The trailer made it look like it was going to be a bloody good time. James Wan producing this video game movie gave me confidence that it would avoid the pratfalls of what came before. Choosing to only produce the film instead of directing it, however, should have been the only warning sign I needed that something was wrong.

Mortal Kombat released the same day and date in theaters and on HBO Max. Not wanting to brave a packed theater on the opening weekend during a pandemic, I gladly poured a whiskey on a Friday night and hit play. Then I spent the entire film waiting for the tournament that it takes its name after to start. And it NEVER started.

There’s a line in the third act about how the characters will bring the tournament to the bad guys. Really though, that’s just a bad attempt to cover for the fact that the movie is a prequel to a hopeful sequel. Talk about being let down. Prince Goro is also wasted as a throw-away “boss battle” when he was one of the best characters for the 1995 film.

Silent Hill

movie still from silent hill
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures and Konami

Silent Hill, in many regards, has aged more gracefully than other video game movies. Bashed by critics at the time for being confusing and too long, a newer audience has embraced it as a true-to-game move from console to screen. But is it, really?

The visuals stay true to the game for sure and are nothing less than breathtaking. The rest of the film is full of loud jump scares that aren’t scary and dialogue lacking any sort of realism. My bottom line on Silent Hill is that director Cristophe Gans tried so hard to make it look like that game that he forgot he also needed to make a good movie.

As Lou Lumenick from the New York Post so elegantly put it, Silent Hill is a “great-looking but stupefyingly incoherent supernatural thriller adapted from a popular video game that ransacks the entire catalog of horror film tropes for more than two mind-numbing hours.”

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

a digital actress from final fantasy the spirits within - movies based on video games
Photo Credit: Square Enix and Sony Pictures Releasing

I’ve never been a fanatic of the Final Fantasy games, but I was still pretty excited when The Spirits Within was released theatrically in 2001. One of the most expensive films ever made at the time, its computer animation was groundbreaking. Sadly, the rest of this video game movie adaptation was a snooze fest.

The plot sees Doctor Sid and Aki Ross working to free Earth from the phantoms, a deadly alien race. These beings have forced humans to go into hiding in “barrier cities.” Ross, voiced by Book of Boba Fett star Ming-Na Wen, was the world’s first photorealistic computer-animated actress.

If all had gone to plan, Ross would have starred in multiple films playing different roles. Instead, The Spirits Within bombed, only earning $85 million worldwide against a bloated budget of $137.5 million. Pretty to look at, the beauty is only the surface of this dull and boring video game movie.

Resident Evil Sequels

a still image from resident evil the final chapter
Photo Credit: Capcom and Screen Gems

There are just too many Milla Jovovich-led Resident Evil movies to list in their own individual slides. They are all bad and deserve to be lumped together in the deepest pits of hell. It’s a real shame, too, because I genuinely enjoyed the first film in the franchise. It was a fun blend of action and horror with two kick-ass female leads and zombie dogs.

And even though that first movie was dumb, it was far from stupid. The sequels that followed, starting with Apocalypse in 2004 ratcheted up the action and noise and dropped any ideas of horror. Director and series runner Paul W.S. Anderson always made sure to include easter eggs for fans of the game, like Nemesis, but largely ignored the atmosphere that made them so terrifying.

The low point of the franchise has to be The Final Chapter. Released in 2016, it fails to bring the movies full circle, instead rehashing tired action movie tropes. Maybe the reboot, Welcome to Racoon City finally got it right?

Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City

a still image from resident evil welcome to raccoon city
Photo Credit: Capcom and Sony Pictures Releasing

Nope. Despite promising a return to the mansion from the first Resident Evil videogame, as well as a return to its horror roots, Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City failed to elicit chills. Sony turned to 47 Meters Down: Uncaged director Johannes Roberts to help revive the moribund franchise, but all he did was bury it further into the ground.

Roberts, to his credit, loves the games, saying in an interview:

“What I loved about the games was that they were just scary, and that’s a lot of what I wanted, that atmosphere. It’s raining constantly, it’s dark, it’s scary, Raccoon City is a rotten character… We had a lot of fun, we even used the fixed angles that the first game has when the characters are at Spencer Mansion.”

Putting so much care into making sure that Spencer Mansion felt like a character ended up hurting the development of the actual protagonists of the film – Claire and Chris Redfield. Like Silent Hill twenty years before it, the atmosphere and gore just aren’t enough to carry a video game adaptation led by cardboard leads.

Doa: Dead or Alive

still image from DOA dead or alive movie
Photo Credit: Dimension Films and Tecmo

Made for no other reason than to get teenage boys to buy movie tickets, DOA: Dead or Alive was always going to be dead on arrival. Still, let me break down what little plot there is in the film for you. Four female ninja rivals are invited to the Dead or Alive martial arts contest.

As the women uncover the truth about the tournament, they form a team to save the day. Variety critic Joe Leydon panned the movie (unsurprisingly), writing it was a “whirring blur of hot babes and cool fights.”

Not every critic hated it. L.A. Weekly inexplicably praised the movie as “pretty much nonstop fighting, mostly in very little clothing, with the flair you expect from a master choreographer like Yuen. It’s awesome.”

As you can see, DOA: Dead or Alive was made for a very specific audience, and it was so bad that they didn’t even go see it. The movie bombed, earning less than $10 million worldwide against a $30 million budget.

Warcraft

a still image from the movie warcraft
Photo Credit: Blizzard Entertainment and Universal Pictures

Looking to ride the fantasy tide brought in by Game of Thrones, Warcraft was released in 2016 with high hopes. Directed and written by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), everything was lined up for this bloated big-budget epic to be the next major fantasy franchise.

With a runtime of just over two hours, this movie is overstuffed with action, exposition, human and orc team-ups, and everything in between. Sometimes less is more, something the director clearly didn’t realize and he was putting this monstrosity together.

As bad as the film might be, it was successful. Made for $160 million, it grossed $439 million worldwide. The success earned Warcraft a spot in the rotation on cable television, so even if you’ve never seen it, you’ve probably flipped past it once or twice.

My advice to you is just keep on flipping. It’s definitely one of the worst video game movies ever made, despite its box-office success.

Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li

a still image from street fighter the legend of chun li
Photo Credit: Capcom and 20th Century Fox

Kristin Kreuk was hoping to leap a tall building from the small screen success of Smallville when she signed on as the lead in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chu-Li. The massive failure sent her straight back to television, with supporting roles in movies coming sparingly.

The Legend of Chun-Li was the second attempt to adapt Street Fighter into a movie. The first one starred Jean-Claude Van Damme, who was offered a role here but turned it down. This movie is wholly forgettable. I don’t remember a thing about it, other than groaning a lot.

On Rotten Tomatoes, The Legend of Chun Li is a putrid three percent rotten. Jim Vejvoda of IGN wrote, “There’s better staged and more enjoyable brawls between Peter and The Chicken on Family Guy.” Need I type more?

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

a still image from in the name of the king a dungeon siege tale
Photo Credit: Gas Powered Games and Freestyle Releasing

Jason Statham, Burt Reynolds, and Ray Liotta walk onto set together and become the start of the unfortunate joke that is In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Statham plays Farmer, a… farmer looking to avenge the death of his son against the Krug. To fill two hours, there’s also a plot about Ray Liotta trying to overthrow Burt Reynolds as the rightful king.

Directed by Uwe Boll, no one should have expected much, so why would such respected actors sign on? I have no idea, but the movie was a bomb, earning just $13 million worldwide against a $60 million budget.

Shockingly, two sequels were made. In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds starring Dolph Lungren, and In the Name of the King 3: The Last Mission starring Dominc Purcell. Watch at your own risk.

Bloodrayne

A still image from the movie bloodrayne
Photo Credit: Boll KG Productions

Let’s keep the Uwe Boll train rolling, shall we? This time we get BloodRayne, released in 2005 and starring Kristanna Loken. A masterclass in bad filmmaking, this monster of a video game movie received a four percent rotten rating, unsurprising considering the pedigree of its distinguished filmmaker.

Co-starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Michelle Rodriguez, it never ceases to amaze me how early in his filmography Boll was able to attract sizable acting talent. BloodRayne managed to pull in $1.6 million at the box office, which was enough for Boll to make two sequels. Even if moviegoers were uninterested in more lifeless vampire adventures, the modern era’s Ed Wood wasn’t.

I won’t waste any more words on this movie.

Wing Commander

a still image from the movie wing commander
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox and Summit Entertainment

When Wing Commander came out in 1999, I had no idea it was based on a video game. All I knew was it took popular actors at the time – Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard, and Saffron Burrows – and threw them into space for an action-adventure that I naively decided I needed to see in theaters.

The movie is everything you might expect from the genre. It’s full of cringe-inducing dialogue and poorly staged action sequences. As an adult it would be fascinating to go back and watch it again, just to see how badly it has aged.

Wing Commander is so bad that years after its release, Prinze Jr. was quoted saying, “

“I can’t stand Wing Commander. I can’t watch one scene of that movie… I read the script and loved it. So did my buddy Matthew Lillard. We both got the parts. We went on location and they said, ‘Here’s the new script’. It was a piece of crap.”

House of the Dead

a still image from the movie house of the dead
Photo Credit: Artisan Entertainment

Another Uwe Boll abomination, this time based on the arcade rail shooter House of the Dead. Truthfully, I’ve never watched this movie. It’s come on TV a few times, and I’ve witnessed some awful writing and acting that my brain has stricken from my record logs. All I have to go on for House of the Dead is the reputation of director Uwe Boll, and the Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus that reads:

“A grungy, disjointed, mostly brainless mess of a film, House of the Dead is nonetheless loaded with unintentional laughs.”

Unlike other early Boll productions, he was unable to convince A-list actors to join him on the ride. That’s probably for the best. And somehow, for some unknown reason, a sequel was greenlit, House of the Dead 2, which was directed by Michael Hurst and debuted on the SyFy Channel in 2006. If you’re going to greenlight a sequel to truly awful video game movies, SyFy is probably the best fit.

Doom

still image from the movie doom starring the rock
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

DOOM is a movie I wish I could love. To my memory, it was one of the first video game movies that really wanted to be true to the game for fans. Sections of the action in the third act were even shot in the first-person perspective! The cast included budding action star (at the time) Dwayne Johnson and a relatively unknown Karl Urban.

If you can turn off your brain and just enjoy the action you might have some fun with DOOM. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian did call it “brainless” after all. He also called it “charmless.” For a video game movie, it just takes itself a little too seriously.

What was supposed to start a franchise for The Rock ended up being a one-and-done, with an unrelated sequel of sorts, DOOM: Annihilation, coming out in 2019. Will that one also make this list? You’re going to have to keep reading to find out!

Assassin’s Creed

a still image from the movie assassin's creed
Photo Credit Ubisoft and 20th Century Fox

Has there ever been a better cast video game adaptation than Assassin’s Creed? Starring Marion Cotillard, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, and Jeremy Irons, how could the movie fail so miserably? It’s pretty clear at this point that video game movie adaptations are cursed.

The lavishly expensive production directed by Justin Kurzel grossed $54.6 million in the United States. Too bad it cost a reported $125 million. The biggest reason for this failure was the story – a completely new one unrelated to the video games but set in the same universe. As Fassbender tried to explain:

“We really want to respect the game[s] and the elements to it. But we also wanted to come up with our own thing. And one thing I’ve sort of learned from doing the franchises like X-Men is that audiences, I think, want to be surprised and to see new elements of what they already know, and different takes on it.”

I’m pretty sure he was wrong with his assessment when it comes to bringing video games to the big screen.

Pokemon Animated Movies

a still image from pokemon the first movie
Photo Credit: Toho

LOOK, I know Pokemon fans have a soft spot for Pokemon: The First Movie, but can we be honest – it’s not good. And the multitude of sequels with dumb names (looking at you Pokemon: 4Ever) are even worse. Let’s all just be happy we eventually were blessed with Detective Pikachu and move on.

The original animated films are nothing but cash grabs. Cheaply animated with bad voice acting and even worse dialogue, no one should be ashamed to admit over 20 years since the first one came out that it never should have been made.

Not including Detective Pikachu, there have been 23 movies based on Pokemon. The most recent one to come out was Secrets of the Jungle in 2020. Save yourself the trouble and don’t fall down the Pokemon animated movie franchise rabbit hole any time soon.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

a movie still image of angelina jolie in tomb raider
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

The stars aligned for teenage boys across the globe when Angelina Jolie was perfectly cast as the sexy answer to Indiana Jones. No offense to Harrison Ford, of course, since his hero is featured in the far superior movie franchise. I just don’t think 13-year-old hormone factories were heading to theaters to watch Lara Croft Tomb Raider for a history lesson.

The movie was a hit, which shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this. Lara Croft was the star of one of the most popular video games at the time, and the production made sure to capitalize on that, even if it meant the quality of the film suffered as a result. Which it did.

Critics panned the film, and history hasn’t been kind to it. But because it made a chest load of money, a sequel was greenlit, so let’s dive in…

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

still image from lara croft tomb raider film starring angelina jolie
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Coming out two years after Lara Croft: Tomb Raider came out, the Jan De Bont directed Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Noted by critics as a slight improvement over the original, it still only managed a 24 percent rotten score. Fans weren’t as nice and avoided the theaters, leading to a US gross of $65 million, half of what its predecessor brought in.

Another rushed production, De Bont had nothing nice to say after the movie came out, but he said something all the same:

“It was not such a great experience. But more from the reason how the studio tried to really interfere with it in a way. And the thing itself is that the makers of the game were also involved. And they never told me that they, also, have a say in the story.

Suddenly there were all these changes that have taken, and who had to be what, and what cast. And then suddenly it became such a big scene. Everything was a big deal.”

These video game movies are enjoyable as a Friday night double feature with friends, which at least gives them some redeeming qualities. Call over your buddies, crack open some beers, and enjoy the “scenery.”

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

a still image from Prince of Persia the sands of time movie
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Released in 2010, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time first began development in 2004 and ultimately cost Disney upwards of $200 million before marketing. A lot was riding on the Jake Gyllenhaal starring vehicle to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and all that pressure proved costly on the final product.

The movie threw away most elements of the games to tell a brand new story, a common mistake that has been mentioned before. Gyllenhaal and female lead Gemma Arterton lacked chemistry, making their scenes together more cringe than funny.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything redeeming. Sands of Time looks expensive (because it was), and the action is fun. Turn off your brain and you might have a good time.

In 2019, Gyllenhaal revisited the movie in an interview, saying:

“I think I learned a lot from that movie in that I spend a lot of time trying to be very thoughtful about the roles that I pick and why I’m picking them. “And you’re bound to slip up and be like, ‘That wasn’t right for me,’ or ‘That didn’t fit perfectly.’ There have been a number of roles like that. And then a number of roles that do.”

Hitman

A still image of Hitman starring Timothy Olyphant
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

There’s nothing quite like the period when mid-budget action filmmaking was king and Jason Statham sat on the throne as The Transporter. Without the popularity of that franchise, I don’t think Hitman starring Timothy Olyphant would have ever been made.

Olyphant plays Agent 47, a trained hitman who is set up by his own organization. When the project was first sold in 2003, Vin Diesel was set to play the lead. When he dropped out, Olyphant took his place. And in one of the more amusingly bizarre decisions to save money, footage from the television show Dark Angel was used to help show the character’s origin story.

Made for $24 million, Hitman made a modest $39 million in the United States and another $60 million overseas. The video game movie may not have been good, but it made enough money to greenlight the next movie on this list…

Hitman: Agent 47

a still image from the movie hitman agent 47
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Eight years after Hitman warmed the box office, Hitman: Agent 47 came out. More of a reboot than a sequel, Rupert Friend took over the lead role and Zachary Quinto was brought on board to play the bad guy, something he was more than familiar with thanks to Heroes.

There aren’t actually many dots connecting Hitman: Agent 47 to Hitman. Screenwriter Skip Woods wrote both movies, but that’s about it. Before Friend was cast, Paul Walker was signed on to play the lead role. When he tragically lost his life in a car accident, Friend was brought on board.

The movie, made for $35 million, only pulled in $22 million at the American box office. Critics were resoundingly harsh, and fans clearly decided to stay away. I haven’t even seen this one hit the late-night cable TV circuit yet.

Silent Hill: Revelation

A still image from silent hill revelation
Photo Credit: Open Road Films

Based on Silent Hill 3, Silent Hill: Revelation came out six years after the first film in the franchise. Actors Radha Mitchell, Debra Unger, and Sean Bean all return for the action, led by new writer and director M.J. Bassett. After failing to please a wide audience in 2006, Sony decided to make things less artsy this time around.

Sony’s vision ended up conflicting with their chosen director’s new vision. Barrett lamented after the film came out that she wished she had fought for her original vision because trying to please herself, the movie studio, and fans was just too much to handle.

Silent Hill Revelation opened to just $8 million and was panned by critics, earning a 10 percent rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes. If you want to see how to make a bad sequel to an already bad first movie, I highly recommend finding this gem streaming.

Street Fighter

A still image from street fighter in 1994
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

The last role of Raul Julia’s career could not have been campier. Starring as villain General M. Bison in Street Fighter in 1994, Julia is the only reason to watch this movie. Aside from a few character names, this is barely a video game movie as it doesn’t even try to relate to the franchise it was birthed from.

Not even Jean-Claude Van Damme can save Street Fighter. Look hard enough and you might spot a young Ming-Na Wen, though, who today is best known as Fennec Shand in the Star Wars universe run by Disney.

Like Mortal Kombat from around the same time, there is an oddly undeniable charm about Street Fighter. I only saw it for the first time a few months ago, so maybe it just plays better as a curiosity of the past than it did when it bombarded cineplexes in 1994.

Max Payne

a still image from max payne starring mark wahlberg
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

The selling point to Max Payne the video game was “bullet time.” Thanks to The Matrix, that couldn’t be the selling point for the movie adaptation, so Mark Wahlberg was used instead. And while that is all fine and dandy, taking a Mature-rated video game and turning it into a PG-13 movie is just a bullet in the brain.

Max Payne never stood a chance. I had honestly forgotten it was a movie that was made until writing this list. It’s that forgettable.

If reviews are to be believed, it is one of those “so bad it’s good” films. It could be worth revisiting just to see how bad Walhberg’s performance was that it earned him a Razzie nomination.

After the movie came out, the producer behind the video game talked about how confused he was by all the changes made from the source material. Fans were also confused by the inclusion of demons, something never even touched upon in the games. Now, as I sit here typing, I wonder what could have been if we had gotten an R-rated Max Payne that steered itself closer to the source material.

Ratchet and Clank

animated ratchet and clank
Photo Credit: Gramercy Pictures and Focus Features

Aimed at very young viewers, Ratchet and Clank missed the mark with general moviegoers. Or fans of the game. The games are noted for their action, sense of adventure, and humor – all of which are lacking in this video game movie adaptation.

GameSpot may have put it best in their review:

Ratchet & Clank pulls us across the universe at a breakneck pace, but it never seems to take us anywhere. The series may have found success in video games, but in the meantime, it’s merely stumbled into film.”

Made for just $20 million, the animated movie failed to break even, saving us from a franchise that really only works as a video game.

Need for Speed

aaron paul need for speed
Photo Credit: DreamWorks Pictures and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Was Need for Speed the first Breaking Bad spinoff movie? The premiere of the trailer during the series finale sure made fans hope so. We now know Jess Pinkman got his own movie in El Camino, and Need for Speed was based on the video game. Producers, to their credit, were just smart enough to take advantage of Aaron Paul’s fame.

The confusing marketing made sure people knew the movie existed. Having no idea what the movie was actually about was another problem. By the time the Need for Speed came out, it was viewed as a low-rent version of The Fast and the Furious instead of a star-making franchise vehicle for Aaron Paul.

Need for Speed does earn points for opting to use practical effects over CGI whenever necessary, making the car chases worth the price of admission. Just don’t expect much in the way of plot or character development.

Uncharted

a still image from uncharted starring tom holland
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

A big-budget 2022 release a long time in the making, Uncharted stars Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Sully. Casting both characters much younger than they appear in the video games turned fans against this movie before it even came out.

For myself personally, the trailers have shown me everything I need to see. The action from director Ruben Fleischer feels frenetic, and over the top. The banter between Holland and Walhberg makes me wish Nathan Fillion was cast over a decade ago when the film was originally announced.

Once Uncharted hits television, it should be worth watching. Most big dumb action films are. As for paying money to see it in theaters? I think I’ll pass on this video game movie.

Rampage

a still image from rampage
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

After reviving the Fast and the Furious franchise and cementing himself as an action star, Dwayne Johnson returned to the world of video game adaptations with Rampage. The classic arcade game is sparse on story, simply pitting three giant monsters – a wolf, a lizard, and a gorilla – against each other.

The movie takes the same idea and turns the monsters into mutated animals, focusing on a gorilla named George and his relationship with Davis Okoye (Johnson). Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan join in the fun, leading to a film overstuffed with human characters and light on giant monster action.

Rampage is fun to watch. All the actors deliver and look like they’re having a blast. Dwayne Johnson is excellent in making you believe in his relationship with George.

The problem is that for a movie that should be about, as I’ve said, giant monsters fighting, all the fighting is saved for the third act. The rest is filled with a pharmaceutical cover-up that unsurprisingly fails.

Tomb Raider (2018)

a still image of alicia vikander in tomb raider
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

Is anyone here interested in a more grounded take on Lara Croft? I didn’t think so, but someone did, which leads us to Tomb Raider (2018), starring Alicia Vikander, Walter Goggins, and Nick Frost. Everyone involved looks like they took adapting a video game way too seriously. Maybe if the plot was better, or they scrapped the idea of it being a Lara Croft movie I would have nicer things to say.

With a 52 percent rotten score, Tomb Raider is one of the better-reviewed video game adaptations of all time. The story follows Croft as she investigates the disappearance of her father.

Sony was forced to investigate the disappearance of the fans, however, as the film flopped. I can’t say I’m upset this film wasn’t able to launch a franchise. All that said, it’s a perfectly entertaining option on our list of the worst video game movies to watch on a lazy Sunday scrolling through channels.

Jason Ripley

Written by Jason Ripley

Jason Ripley is an avid Nintendo Gamer, although he does branch out to other platforms. He is a veteran writer and longtime editor.

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