Video game movies are often cast aside or plain derided by critics and fans, but we think that’s pure poppycock.
It’s hard enough to bring a novel to life without angering fans, but just imagine if you were so immersed and devoted to that book that you occasionally slammed it into your hardwood floors, shattering it to pieces and thus forcing you to shell out $50 for a new one.
Below is a list of the best video game movies to date, and with each, we provide the trailer and budget information for context. Enjoy.
Horror Movies Based On Video Games
1. Resident Evil (2002)
Total Budget: $33,000,000Resident Evil is just one example of how underrated W.S. Anderson is as a director. He often brings fresh ideas and filmmaking techniques to the table, but rarely gets the same credit as many other directors.
The first Resident Evil is a video game movie that’s much more frightening than the run of the mill horror film because it has this terrifying puzzle box aspect and touches on the concepts of fear and evil.
Movies Based On Video Games
2. Mortal Kombat (1995)
Total Budget: $18,000,000Another W.S. Anderson film, Mortal Kombat found the perfect mixture of entertainment, camp, and devotion to the source material. Shout outs to the game seemed to be perfectly timed, either for excitement or comedy.
The acting is also perfectly on point and self-aware. Apart from some really great effects and fight scenes, the whole movie seemed to be super consistent in tone, which is why this video game movie “works” so well
Movies Based On Games
3. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Total Budget: $200,000,000One of the biggest critiques of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the culturally inappropriate casting, but if you remove that the acting is actually pretty perfect and some of the best in a video game movie.
Sure, there is clever adventure movie dialogue all throughout the film, but the filmmaking and CGI are gorgeous and many of your favorite effects used in Marvel movies were advanced upon through this movie.
Best Video Game Movies
4. Super Mario Bros. (1993)
Total Budget: $48,000,000Super Mario Bros. is probably the most absurd when compared to the source material, but so is the source material so we can’t hold that against this video game movie. The best part is that it’s super fun.
Everything is done relatively well as far as filmmaking and effects, especially for the time, and early video game movies that didn’t have monstrous budgets get a bit of an early pioneer pass.
Best Movies Based on Video Games
5. Street Fighter (1994)
Total Budget: $35,000,000Street Fighter came out before Mortal Kombat, but it seems to share many of the same attributes that made it fun. This video game movie also has a fun cast with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Byron Mann.
Street Fighter has some cool fighting scenes and some fun to watch action scenes, but perhaps the one reason it falls a little further down on the list is because it expands on the source material too much.
Good Video Game Movies
6. Assassin’s Creed (2016)
Total Budget: $125,000,000This was by no means a perfect movie, but Assassin’s Creed spent its colossal budget in much better ways than, say, Warcraft. The Assassin’s Creed video games are already so cinematic, they’re hard to match.
Michael Fassbender is always fun to watch, and the stunts, parkour, fight scenes, and CGI is all really great. Many feel this movie was a big miss for a video game movie, but I can’t help but enjoy the filmmaking.
Video Game Film
7. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Total Budget: $115,000,000Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was instrumental in setting Angelina Jolie as an action star, and featured Daniel Craig and Jolie’s father, Jon Voight. It has some clever action scenes and catchy lines for a video game movie.
Where the film falls short is where so many Marvel films and modern action films seem to default. The final battles seem to lose their stakes by turning into waves of faceless and non-human enemies.
Video Games Made Into Movies
8. Max Payne (2008)
Total Budget: $35,000,000Max Payne is visually spectacular and has a few really great nods to the source material that keeps it from falling into obscurity. Some of the acting could have been a bit better. A fun watch for a video game movie.
The style behind the film is great while the tone could have even gone a bit darker to more closely align with the actual video game. It's fun watch and well made, but the video game movie stigma is hard to shed.
Video Game Movies
9. Doom (2005)
Total Budget: $60,000,000
Doom was smart to play up the first-person shooter perspective as part of the filmmaking techniques. The casting is also really fun, and the action seems entirely appropriate for this kind of video game movie.
What’s so funny about doom is that it somehow makes the “waves of faceless enemies” I just mentioned work a bit better. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re not CG, or that it somehow better tied into the story.
Video Games turned Into Movies
10. Double Dragon (1994)
Total Budget: $7,850,000
Double Dragon is one of those movies that could only exist when it did, but I kind of wish they made more and more movies like this one. There are some seriously creative visual choices laced throughout this film.
One of the biggest reasons this movie doesn’t land around the same area as Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter is probably due to the quality of the actual source material, but it’s a fun video game movie nonetheless.
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