The 10 Best & Worst Movies Based on Video Games [VIDEOS, POLL]

Video games are a gold mine venture. Every year, video games makes millions upon millions of dollars that put box-office numbers to shame. With that in mind, it is understandable to want to get in on some of that coin which led to movie adaptations of popular video games. Sometimes they come up with a success, but more often than not, something gets lost in the translation and they end up as flop. We at COED present to you some movies based on video games that either made it to the kill screen or game over screen. Don’t forget to vote at the bottom of the post.

Best Movies Based on Video Games

Mortal Kombat

Back in the 1990s, Mortal Kombat was the violent video game of the day. Every kid was amazed by the brutal fatalities as characters ripped out spines and set each other on fire. So you could imagine the excitement at the mere mention of Mortal Kombat movie. Unfortunately, the movie had to be rated PG-13 so us kids would actually be able to see it. Although the gore was missing, all of the other elements the fans wanted were there. We got to see Scorpion, Sub-Zero and an animatronic Goro that wasn’t half bad. We even got to see Scorpion take off his mask and utter his trademark taunt ‘get over here’. As a kid, it was incredible. As an adult, Mortal Kombat is ridiculous, but still quite fun. It’s laughable, but at times you can see the actors winking at the camera as if to say ‘yeah, we know it’s dumb’. Realizing that, the movie is all the more fun to watch. This is the perfect movie to see drunk on a Saturday night with a group of friends.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

One of the most popular RPG franchises of all-time received the star treatment with a top-quality theatrical computer animated movie from Sony. Though the Final Fantasy fans panned the film for not sticking to the source material (despite the video game series containing hardly any continuity), critics fell in love with the animation that very impressive for its time. In a futuristic society, humanity rages an unending war against alien ghosts. All the non-stop action and violence was great, but what really drew everyone’s attention was the realistic simulation of hair. Yes, back in the old days of 2001, something as simple as realistic CGI hair was enough to get people talking. Even after all these years, the animation still holds up with some great lighting and staging. Not to mention you don’t see too many animated features were character get impaled and have their souls ripped out by aliens. As it stands, the story is very much your standard science fiction tale, but a movie based on a video game franchise having even a decent script is still pretty good.

Dead Space: Downfall

In this prequel to what could easily be considered the scariest console game ever (if not the goriest), Dead Space: Downfall revolves around the mining ship Ishimura acquiring an alien artifact which causes people to go insane and brings about a zombie-like outbreak. A corrupt captain refusing to let go of the artifact sends the ship into a fight for survival against an impossible alien menace. Much like the horror flicks The Thing and Alien, Downfall presents a claustrophobic setting surrounded by scary Necromorphs who want to eat you, kill you or make an investment in expanding their race via your body. You can pretty much guess how the plot will play out, but the film certainly delivered when it came to violence and gore with several great money shots. If you didn’t play the game before watching this movie, chances are you won’t want to play it after you see just what horrifying terrors await you on Ishimura.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

It debuted at #3 at the U.S. box office behind Shrek Forever After and Sex and the City 2 with $30.1 million in its first 3-day weekend of release. It is the third highest opening for a video game adaptation, behind Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Pokémon: The First Movie. It has become the highest-grossing video-game adaptation ever worldwide with a gross of $335,154,643 as of August 2010. It was also nominated for a 2011 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Action Movie.

Resident Evil

The movie earned $102,441,078 worldwide at the box office and spawned numerous sequels. If it sucked so much (as the critics said it did) then why do they keep makin’ em?

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Silent Hill, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Worst Movies Based on Video Games

The Legend of Chun-Li

Remember how much fun playing Street Fight was? Remember when Guile delivered Sonic Booms and Ryu fired Hadokens? How about that time when Balrog fired a rocket launcher? No? Then the director of The Legend of Chun-Li must have gotten Street Fighter mixed up with Doom when he made this flop. There are more gunfights than actual fist fights in this action flick based on a FIGHTING game. Say what you will about the Street Fighter movie from the 1990’s, but at least that film had more actual fights with punching and kicking albeit ridiculously staged. The Legend of Chun-Li is just…sad. The scenes of actual fighting are clumsily assembled and just plain bad. But do the fans at least like it? Just tell them the farfetched origins of Bison in this movie and watch their heads explode in anger.

House of the Dead

Honestly, we could have filled this entire list with Uwe Boll films. This is a man who has directed several films that have been considered the worst video game movies ever made. But House of the Dead is by far one of the worst of the bunch. The film features a group of teens who get ambushed by zombies on an island. How could you screw up a movie with such a simple premise as that? How about using the 360 Matrix-style camera shot on every single character in every fight scene? But, remember, this is supposed to be a movie based on a video game. Just in case you forgot, Uwe Boll randomly inserts footage from the video game into the action scenes. This is a film so lazy it has to go to the source material for B-roll. I don’t know if Uwe is aware of this, but low-polygon zombies do not mesh well with realistic zombie effects. I wish I could say Mr. Boll learned his lesson from this, but he followed up with Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne which were just as bad if not worse.

Super Mario Brothers

If there is anything that we learned from the 1993 movie adaptation of the most popular video game duo of all-time, it is that simple video games do not make for a coherent movie, let alone a good one. Let’s boil down the basics of what Super Mario Brothers was about: two plumbers must save the princess of the mushroom kingdom from a giant turtle. For an 8-bit video game, it makes sense. But when you try to take that idea and force it into reality, you end up with something both confusing and horrifying. The Koopas look like raptors in gang jackets, Yoshi looks like a reject from Jurassic Park and Bowser looks like Dennis Hopper with head beaten in. But even if you cast aside the visual elements, the movie is a complete mess. None of the characters are relatable and the plot of our dimension merging with the dinosaur dimension makes little to no sense. The film was hated by Mario fans, video game fans, critics and I’m pretty sure monkeys don’t care for their portrayal in the movie. It also made next to nothing at the box-office and left theaters as fast it came. Over the years, the movie has reached a cult status which I can only fathom is because of the fascination that this movie was a complete train wreck.

Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark was panned by nearly every film critic. Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film 15th of the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s with a rating of 1% based on 116 reviews. At Metacritic, it was a score of 9/100. Alone in the Dark was given several accolades highlighting this poor reception:

Alone in the Dark won three 2005 Stinkers Awards:

  • Worst Picture
  • Worst Director (Uwe Boll)
  • Worst Special Effects

It also won one Calvin Award:

  • Worst Picture

Alone in the Dark received two 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards nominations:

  • Worst Director (Uwe Boll)
  • Worst Actress (Tara Reid)

Game Trailers ranked the film as the third worst video game movie of all time; among other things, it was emphasized that “the inadvertently hilarious action-horror flick had little to do with the series and even less to do with common decency!”

Alone in the Dark grossed $2,834,421 in its opening weekend, ranking at #12; by the end of its run, the film had grossed $10,442,808 and was a box office flop, considering its $20 million budget.


The film ended up grossing $3,591,980 USD (June 2006) on a budget of $25 million.

It was nominated for 6 Golden Raspberry Awards including:

  • Worst Picture
  • Worst Actress (Kristanna Loken)
  • Worst Supporting Actor (Ben Kingsley)
  • Worst Supporting Actress (Michelle Rodriguez)
  • Worst Director
  • Worst Screenplay

In 2009, Time listed the film #6 on their list of top ten worst video games movies.
The film was number one on Gametrailers countdown of the worst video game movies ever.


Liked this? Check out these:
Movie Equivalents To 8 Popular Video Games
10 Movies About Video Games That Don’t Suck
7 Best Vs. Movies To Celebrate Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World On DVD
The Light and Dark Side of Star Wars Video Games
13 Musicians Who Should Get Their Own Video Game

  • 10678531520930918