One of the major trends in the world of entertainment is the media mix, where the same story and the same events become protagonists of different ways of distribution. This is also what happens in the involvement of the cinematographic and videogame sector, where the latter goes beyond its borders to bring to film what gamers have experienced on their consoles. Considering the current moment, where the serie dedicata a The Last Of Us seems to have reached a good level of acceptance by critics, can we say the same of the films based on videogames? We have no upcoming releases, and the last title of this genre was Uncharted with Tom Holland and Mark Walhberg, but it’s still a good opportunity to rediscover together the tops (few) and flops (many) of film releases taken from video games in the last decades!
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5 flop movies based on video games
1. Mortal Kombat (1995)
Well yes, let’s start our selection of flop films based on video games with one of the titles that has taken over the classic fighting games that have made the history of gaming, a little less than cinema. Let’s talk about Mortal Kombat, one of the many feature films dedicated to this franchise we would dare to say, but among the less successful ones. Released in 1995has not been able to distinguish itself except for…ugliness.
In 1995 New Line Cinema, trying to exploit the success of the franchise among the very young, he decided to make a film adaptation of Mortal Kombat, the very first chapter. Directed by a young Paul WS Andersonafter the debut with Shopping (and before a much more fortunate Licorice Pizza), strongly inspired by the first two chapters released on consoles, the story has as its main protagonists Liu Kang, Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. They have been invited to a mysterious martial arts tournament, Mortal Kombat.
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Difficult task, that of transposing a fighting game to film, which is especially noticeable in the creation of settings and special effects, in addition to the narrative component. The series of martial clashes is incessant, swithout offering a logical reason and with a characterization of the characters based on trivial stereotypes. The first cinematic version of Mortal Kombat is indefensible from a qualitative point of view, leaving no particular (good) memories.
2. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
We continue our selection of flop movies taken from video games with Resident Evilor rather the second chapter of the big screen transposition of this franchise: Apocalypse. A movie that astonishing it really had nothing, or almost: the ugliness.
This Resident Evil is totally devoid of the pathos and atmosphere of the previous episode, already not great, now showing a sort of meaningless collage. There is no shortage of action, with an excessively high pace, but the suspense and thickness of the plot is missing. A Raccon City and the laboratories of the Umbrella Corporation full of zombies, with Jill Valentine and a superhuman Alice (only convincing point, being interpreted by a believable Milla Jovovich) that try to mitigate the negative impact of the film. But they are not enough. The plot has not been able to untie some of its knots, but it is difficult to find anyone who is still hesitating about their resolution.
The journey into the “horror” of flop films based on videogames continues with a title that we really struggle to believe was actually filmed and shown to the public. Doom con Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson e Karl Urban che really gave the “perdition” to the spectators.
In 2005 the film adaptation of Doom offers us a world characterized by deep darkness, where the victim scientists are hidden. Even here there is no lack of action, but the plot is just as basic and stereotypical. As in the aforementioned Resident Evil, most of the time we are dealing with trivial dialogues that make the characters too much of a speck. Director Andrew Bartkowiak contrasts photographic choices and preponderant lights with a deep darkness, which should have increased the tension, on the contrary it makes everything even more rough and raw.
The monsters are perhaps the only strengths of the film, with the only homage to video game fans given by the subjective sequence with Karl Urban in action. A film to be taken as it is, without any pretension of having a memorable title on screen.
The French director Xavier Gens brings to the screens in 2007 the film dedicated to one of the best-selling video games in the world at the time: Hitman, with Timothy Olyphant, already seen at the time in Die hard – Live or die. The protagonist falls into the character with ease, charm and charisma, but there’s more.
If the plot of this film is not far from the plots of the game missions, there is no in-depth analysis of the characters and Skip Woods’ elementary script doesn’t help. A lifeline is dictated by Olga Kurylenko, who perhaps manages to keep the public’s attention a little higher. But the fact remains that The Hitman offers very little, like a badly made b-movie and although there are several references to the video game, the film cannot be saved.
But all this is not enough to save the film between a story of little depth and the unfolding of the story dull and without surprises. A shot that didn’t hit the mark, speaking outside of video games.
5. Max Payne
We conclude this first selection of truly flop film titles with Max Payne, released in 2008 and which gave us a decidedly slow exploration. John Moore tried to make the film more video game, but not easily.
The director recovers the tradition of the noir genre, with a truly dark character with whom it is impossible not to identify. The problem lies in the sheer semantic translation from one medium to another, with the hero’s athletic abilities far too exaggerated and making him, once again, stereotyped. The narration is obvious and no particular appearances on the screen are revealed. And that’s all.
Top 5 movies based on video games
1. Tomb Raider (2018)
Yes, we specified 2018 not because we didn’t like Angelina Jolie’s version as the most famous archaeologist ever, but because of the fresher and less stereotyped point of view offered by Alicia Vikander. Also closer to the reboot saga that the videogame franchise has been experiencing for some years, thanks to the excellent direction of an excellent Roar Uthaug (less performing instead in the recent Troll su Netflix), Tomb Raider released in 2018 is certainly one of the best films based on video games in recent years.
A film that allowed us to see in action a young Croft, grappling with more human and believable dilemmas and difficulties, compared to an imperturbable Jolie, almost programmed like an automaton. Alicia Vikander has been able to stage a somewhat different story, but not without difficulties in directing. The film is looking for a balance between the obvious expectations of gamer fans to see a new Lara Croft, next though to a rewriting of tradition, trying to meet the tastes and expectations of a new generation. Waiting for a second film title dedicated to Tomb Raider, we will see if the road towards the tasks to be performed and the objectives to be achieved will still be traveled.
2. Warcraft: The Beginning
By completely changing genre and moving on to fantasy, this film was released in 2016 which was also able to generate good success at the box office. Warcraft turned out to be a fantasy epicwith particular attention to the creation of orcs and the rendering of humans close to that proposed in the video game.
The film, directed by Duncan Jones and launched on May 24, 2016, perhaps has nothing particularly exciting or original, from a directorial point of view, but it is certainly among the best shot titles of the flop films seen just now. The film perhaps even takes itself a little too seriously, compared to games, lacking that truly epic essence and giving up the irony that distinguishes the plot. This does not mean that it is still a pleasant vision and worthy of mention among the best films based on video games. Probably a lower quality film than one might have expected, but it had laid the foundations for sequels that… well, are not yet in the pipeline.
3. Detective Pikachu
A title could really be missing dedicated to pokemon? Not for anything in the world, and these are not the very first films released in perfect line with the first series of cartoons. The film in question is Detective Pikachua title that has not caused so much hype, but which has nevertheless garnered a good level of appreciation.
Released in 2019, the live action dedicated to little monsters paperbacks came at a time when…