Unfortunately, Hollywood has a long history of demonstrating that it doesn't quite get video games. There's no shortage of examples of mediocre-to-horrific game adaptations for the silver screen, but these five stand head and shoulders above the rest. As someone who loves games and good movies, I'd like to steer you away from these unfortunate films—should your affection for games ever override your better judgement.
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What do John Leguizamo, Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper have in common? Each lost a little of his dignity when he agreed to star in this bizarre live action, neo-punk interpretation of the Super Mario Bros. universe.
Mario’s arch-nemesis Bowser is transformed into a swarthy human/lizard hybrid, in what has to have been the late Dennis Hopper’s proudest moment on the silver screen. Hoskins and Leguizamo portray Mario and his devil-may-care brother Luigi.
While the film certainly isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen (I wouldn’t dare besmirch the majesty of such greats as Pauly Shore’s Bio-Dome), the future-punk-meets-mario-bros. theme is too bizarre, and fails to appeal to video game fans and filmgoers alike.
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Ah, Street Fighter... Steven de Souza’s magnum opus. It’s strange to think that the screenwriter responsible for the action classic Die Hard would produce such a poor adaptation of the Street Fighter series.
Granted, the task of crafting a compelling narrative around the tidbits of back story contained in an instruction manual isn’t a simple task—but when a film fails to remain true to this limited framework, and the creatives get a little too creative, Street Fighter is the result.
Street Fighter's missteps include Guile’s lost compatriot, Charlie, undergoing a transformation into the character “Blanka” (according to game lore, he’s a child lost in a plane crash who grows up in the wilds of Brazil), the Shadaloo agent Balrog becoming an affable friend to Chun-Li, and Zangief becoming a dim-witted Shadaloo agent.
This is to say nothing of the cardboard acting, the ludicrously over-the-top battle scenes and so-bad-it’s-good one-liners. The movie's worth viewing at least once, though—for the sheer spectacle of it all.
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The producers might as well have titled this schlock-fest Bill and Ted vs. The Shadow Boss. Robert Patrick of T2 and X-Files plays the role of the goatee’d “Shadow Boss,” a businessman maneuvering to take complete control of a post-fallout Los Angeles.
The Lee brothers rocket around the city in the cobbled-together Dragonmobile doing battle with oddly in-your-face gangs that would feel right at home in a Saturday morning cartoon.
Alyssa Milano takes on the mantle of Marion, the Lee brothers' beleaguered love interest from the game series, becoming the leader of a rebel group in the transition to film. Another amusing creative liberty is turning game enemy Abobo into a mutated freak (though Double Dragon scholars might contend that point).
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With Jason Statham headlining this action/fantasy flick, viewers are at least guaranteed a few decent fight scenes. Unfortunately, with the infamous wunderscribe Uwe Boll at the helm, it was almost guaranteed to be a poorly executed film with a tenuous link to the game series at best.
The film features none of the fantastical locations, creatures or magic of its namesake game series—and could just have well been titled Random Bastard Son of Royalty Helps Save the Kingdom.
Poor pacing and some truly wooden acting (though, let’s be honest, the fantasy genre generally isn’t known for oscar-caliber acting) don’t help matters either. While not as awful as the other films in this list, A Dungeon Siege Tale is about as generic of a fantasy film as you can get, neither referencing or expounding on any of the interesting lore, characters or magic from the game series.
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What’s missing from a successful series of space simulation/action titles? Why, the sterling theatrical abilities of Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard and a cadre of other B actors.
Surprisingly, despite direction by Chris Roberts, the creator of the namesake game series, key changes such as the appearance of the Kilrathi (the antagonistic race from the series) alienated fans of the games. Some truly cheesy acting and one-liners don’t really help this film either.