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Which are the worst video game-to-movie adaptations?

While video game adaptations can be popular on the big screen, they're not necessarily a guarantee of quality for moviegoers

Published: Jun 14, 2024 12:11:03 PM IST
Updated: Jun 14, 2024 01:15:43 PM IST

The more recent The more recent "Super Mario Bros. Movie," released in 2023, received better ratings on IMDb than the 1993 movie adaptation of the video game. Image: Photography Copyright 2022 Nintendo and Universal Studios

Although moviegoers are fond of them, video game adaptations on the big screen don't always live up to fans' expectations. Some even score disastrously on IMDb, one of the world's leading movie ratings and reviews websites. So between "Super Mario Bros.," "Mortal Kombat" and "Street Fighter," which are the worst game-to-movie adaptations of all time?

After comic books, the movie world has set its sights on video games. But while video game adaptations can be popular on the big screen, they're not necessarily a guarantee of quality for moviegoers. By analyzing the ratings of all big-screen video game adaptations on the IMDb website, specialists from the Italian website Gamer Brain have compiled a list of the 10 worst video game adaptations of all time.

Unfortunately for the German director, Uwe Boll, three of his movies make up the top three. Released in 2003, "House of the Dead" takes the gold medal for the worst game-to-movie adaptation, with a rating of 2.3 stars out of 10, according to the analysis. But it gets worse, as the horror film currently boasts 2.1 stars out of 10 on IMDb, based on 39,000 votes. "This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen," commented one user on the film's IMDb page. Between the non-existent acting, the unconvincing special effects and sequences taken directly from the video game, the film received such bad reviews internationally that it won the Worst Film award at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, an award ceremony focused on horror and thriller films created by the specialist magazine Fangoria.

"Alone in the Dark" and "BloodRayne" (2005), by the same director, took second and third place respectively as the worst game-to-movie adaptations. With a score of 2.4 out of 10, based on 47,000 votes cast, the thriller "Alone in the Dark" failed to win over audiences, despite its sizable budget. Its nonsensical screenplay was a major factor.

Finally, "BloodRayne," with a score of 3 out of 10 on IMDb, based on 37,000 votes, was a disappointment despite a cast including Ben Kingsley ("Shutter Island") and Michael Madsen ("Reservoir Dogs," "Kill Bill"). Viewers lamented a lack of character development and dialogue containing too many clich├ęs.

More recent movies, such as "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," released in 2023, or the two installments in the "Sonic, the Hedgehog" franchise (2020 and 2022) have proved among the most convincing game-to-movie adaptations, with scores of 7 and 6.5 out of 10 respectively on IMDb. Meanwhile, the 1993 movie based on the Mario Bros. video game did not garner such good reviews.

Also Read: Video games top source for TV inspiration, says Jonathan Nolan

It would seem, then, that video game fans place particular importance on special effects, but especially on the quality of the script and the acting, no matter how famous the game might be. On this front, one major recent success was "The Last of Us," adapted not for the big screen, but as a TV show with record audiences.

The top 10 worst video game movie adaptations of all time (according to their IMDb ratings)

1- House of the Dead (2003) - 2.3

2- Alone in the Dark (2005) - 2.4

3- BloodRayne (2005) - 3

4- Far Cry (2008)/ Dead Trigger (2017) - 3.2

5- Mortal Kombat : Destruction (1997)/ House of the Dead 2 (2005) / Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009) - 3.7

6- In the Name of the King (2007) - 3.8

7- Double Dragon (1994) - 3.9

8- Street Fighter (1994) - 4.1

9- Super Mario Bros. (1993) - 4.2

10- Wing Commander (1999) - 4.3