Didn't set the bar too high – «Super Mario Bros.». Source: Buena Vista Pictures
Didn't set the bar too high – «Super Mario Bros.». Source: Buena Vista Pictures
News + TrendsGaming

9 howlingly bad movies based on video games and 9 guilty pleasures

Philipp Rüegg
Philipp Rüegg
Zurich, on 13.02.2018
Translation: Jessica Johnson-Ferguson
It is said that a new «Super Mario» should be out soon. If the mere thought of that makes your hair stand on end, you’ve probably lived through one or two games turned into movies. To mentally prepare you for this upcoming event, we’ve put together some of the worst movie adaptions of games ever made.

There’s probably no need to be quite so pessimistic about the new «Super Mario» film. After all, Nintendo will be working closely with the film studio this time round; something they failed to do for the infamous «Super Mario Bros.» released in the 90s. Shigeru Miyamoto himself will act as co-producer. And with Illumination Entertainment, creators of «Despicable Me» and «Minions», to back them up, things are looking much rosier. If you’re curious to find out why the last «Super Mario» film was such a flop, the following article gives good insight.

Nevertheless, Hollywood has fobbed gamers off with harrowing movie adaptations way too often. All hail some of the worst culprits (I’ve deliberately left out animated films).

«Max Payne»

In my opinion, this one's the worst, despite the game practically handing us the script on a silver platter. I can just about live with the cast but the film totally ignores the melancholy atmosphere of the game and Max’ internal struggle. They even managed to mess up the slo-mo action.

«Assassin’s Creed»

At least there’s one thing the movie has in common with the games: It takes itself way too seriously. This totally generic action movie is forgotten as soon as the closing credits start to roll. Kind of like a glass of water: It quenches your thirst but tastes of nothing.

«Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li»

While its predecessor featuring Van Damme was a totally over the top and far-out bit of trash gold, «The Legend of Chun Li» is really scraping the bottom of the movie adaptation barrel. A mind-numbing story with lame action and dialogues a ten-year-old button masher would have done a better job of.

«Far Cry»

German director Uwe Boll is infamous for his game interpretations for the big screen. One of the games he butchered was for the first «Far Cry» movie. Surprisingly, he was somehow able to get Til Schweiger on board. But all poor Til could do was watch the whole boat sink.

«Mortal Kombat: Annihilation»

I’ll get to the original «Mortal Kombat» movie later. The sequel gets absolutely everything wrong. An unmotivated cast, a story that stinks to high heaven and the production quality of a school play.

«Alone in the Dark»

Once again, there’s no stopping Uwe. Despite casting an acclaimed leading actor (Christian Slater), he did not develop a feeling regarding the fascination for the original.

«Need for Speed»

One of biggest wastes of time I’ve ever been talked into. «Believe me, this is the good kind of trash», my mate, who was watching the movie for the second time, assured me. But frankly, I’ve seldomly seen anything quite as boring and uninspired. There is not a single moment in which the movie manages to break the magic barrier between boring and trashy-funny. It’s just downright terrible.

«Dead or Alive»

«Dead of Alive» is the title of a series of fun games that are all about big bouncing boobs, whose dynamics calculations probably account for 50 per cent of the entire processing power. The film goes down a similar route and relies heavily on eye candy. But that’s as far as the similarities go. Maybe they should have called it «Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball» to keep expectations at bay.

«In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale»

Here comes Uwe Boll again! And one thing he is not is lazy. «Dungeon Siege» is the title of yet another of his victims. This fantasy film features Jason Statham wielding a sword in a feeble attempt to bring an action-packed role-playing game to the big screen. Incredibly, an additional two sequels were produced – one worse than the other.

Fortunately, not all video game movies are abysmal. Having said that, I wouldn’t say that any adaptation is a really good movie, either. However, there are a few flicks that are entertaining enough. To keep the balance, I’ve listed my guilty pleasures.

Guilty Pleasures

«Lara Croft: Tomb Raider»

The early «Tomb Raider» games are roughly about a busty, gun-toting adventurer hunting for treasures in acrobatic style. According to this list, this movie adaptation featuring Angelina Jolie ticks all the boxes. Admittedly, the film is no masterpiece, but the characters are convincing and the action scenes are spectacular.

«Resident Evil»

Regarding content, this movie adaptation has very little in common with the original. Only the names are the same: Umbrella Corporation, T-Virus, Raccoon City and zombies. The story, on the other hand, is made up. Nonetheless, the film offers decent popcorn entertainment and even features some zombie dogs.

«Mortal Kombat»

This one’s the good kind of trashy. The film captures what fans of the game love about it. We want Scorpion, Raiden and Johnny Cage and we’re not disappointed. They all make an appearance and beat the crap out of each other. There are even some special moves including fatalities that are surprisingly bloody for a film rated suitable for 16 years and over.

«Silent Hill»

An eerie atmosphere, a high recognition factor for gamers – including the iconic Pyramid Head – and enough heart-stopping moments for it to pass as a horror movie.


Granted, this film takes plenty of liberties with regard to the original, but overall, it provides the audience with entertaining action. There’s inventive assassinating and lots of it. Hitman is a cool cat even though his costumes are a tad disappointing.


This film is plain daft but still quite entertaining – unsurprising if The Rock’s in it. It’s totally clear from the start that practically none of the super-tough mercenaries will survive. So basically you’re just waiting for their bloody death. Plus there are tons of cool lines, the BFG, Pinky Demon and even a scene in first-person shooter perspective right at the very end.

«Prince of Persia»

This movie probably had the biggest budget in its category. Once again, there are a lot of amusing lines and an enjoyable storyline that’s close enough to the meagre original for the fans to feel understood. Not to mention lots of jumping, climbing and fighting. The visual quality rounds everything off.


Objectively speaking, there’s no way this is a good film. But if you’re a long-standing «WoW» player, you’ll still get excited when you hear «For the Horde», when a griffin flies over Stormwind or somebody is turned into a sheep. Plus the motion capturing of the orcs and the overall look of the film are amazing. And when a Murloc screams rawglrrrrggglllllrrrrglurg, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.


If I had to name one film that truly captures the style of the original, then I’d say «Postal». The game is a social satire in which you’re a crack-smoking, trenchcoat wearer completing quests in a city full of nutjobs. The movie is just as wacky and jam-packed with below-the-belt humour. This film also bears the signature of Uwe Boll. But this time the original seems to have been more up his street. Don’t expect anything deep and you’re guaranteed an entertaining evening with your mates.

What about you? Are you excited about the new «Super Mario» film or have you been scarred for life by other adaptations?

21 people like this article

Philipp Rüegg
Philipp Rüegg
Senior Editor, Zurich
Being the game and gadget geek that I am, working at digitec and Galaxus makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop – but it does take its toll on my wallet. I enjoy tinkering with my PC in Tim Taylor fashion and talking about games on my podcast . To satisfy my need for speed, I get on my full suspension mountain bike and set out to find some nice trails. My thirst for culture is quenched by deep conversations over a couple of cold ones at the mostly frustrating games of FC Winterthur.

These articles might also interest you