games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Most Baffling Video Game Movies

March 21, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of the 8 Ball. This week with Assassin’s Creed hitting on DVD, I wanted to talk about video game movie adaptations and how far they can stray from their source material. This isn’t a “worst” game movie list, as that would just be filled by Uwe Boll movies, this is instead a list about movies that make no logical sense, either from a movie, or a game perspective and questions why they were even made in the first place. Let’s begin:

#8: Double Dragon

While it keeps the names of Billy, Jimmy, Marian and the all-important Abobo in the movie, nothing about the Double Dragon movie has anything to do with the games. The premise is on a scenery-chewing Robert Patrick trying to get two pieces of the Dragon Medallion in some half-baked bid to take over the world…or something. Double Dragon has Alyssa Milano with the shortest haircut of any woman, and the double star power of Scott Wolf and Mark Dacascos as Billy and Jimmy lee, respectively. It’s a bad movie, but no one near as other half-baked films on this list.

#7: House of the Dead

All of Uwe Boll’s movies are objectively terrible, but House of the Dead is a cut above for literally using game footage in the movie spliced in with his laughable action scenes. He might as well just have come on screen himself and gone “Hey, this is from the game you guys! Get it?!” Also, when a movie has its biggest star in the form of Clint Howard, who is undoubtedly cool but still, you’ve got issues. Filmed in British Columbia with a cast of actors no one has heard of before, or since, it is still the best of Boll’s abilities as a film maker, which is really saying something.

#6: Mortal Kombat Annihilation

The philosophy of this movie had to have been “Let’s just cram as many characters on screen as possible, despite having no reason to do so!” The movie is jampacked with characters but almost none of them have purpose other than simple fan service. Also, considering this movie had a budget that was 10 million dollars more than the first, it looks like complete garbage. Not just the dodgy CGI for the animialities or Motaro, but the costumes took a notable hit in quality from Sub-Zero to the cyborg ninjas Cyrax and Smoke looking like a step down from a direct-to-dvd film. The first Mortal Kombat film, arguably, is still one of the best video game movies, and Annihilation is one of the worst sure, but also one of the more confusing.

#5: Dead Rising Watchtower

It boggles the mind they missed the point of the games so much with this movie. It’s not necessarily bad, as it has two things going for it, Rob Riggle is perfect as Frank West, and I’ll watch damn near anything with Keegan Connor Tracy in it, but that’s about it. The zombie effects are passable, but nothing that wasn’t done better a decade ago in Dawn of the Dead, and the other characters are flat with no personality. The oddest thing though is that they have a great Frank West and he’s in the movie for about 6 minutes, give or take. So, why really bother having him in the movie if he’s not going to do a damn thing at all that is germane to the plot?

#4: Assassin’s Creed

For the press of the movie, they kept saying that they were going to respect the source material. So…what happened? Fassbender is serviceable in the role, and I like Omar as much as the next guy, but they are the only two semi-interesting characters. The Animus they have is bunk, Marion Cotillard’s accent is abysmal, and they focus way too much on the present day stuff, to the detriment of the historical sequences, which is what makes the games actually interesting. I read recently that the blu-ray will have 90 minutes of extra footage and it makes sense, given how slapdash some of the editing is in the movie. The biggest crime it has is the ending, where Callum tells Sophia that he’s going to kill her dad, she lets him by, he kills him, and then she swears revenge on him…for doing something she was a party to? The hell?

#3: Super Mario Bros

Much has been written about the production of the Super Mario Bros movie being a mess and it shows. I kind of like the idea that Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo were bombed out of their gourds on alcohol during the making of this movie, because it’s the only thing that makes sense. There are things to like about this movie, namely Fisher Stevens and Mojo Nixon, but that is about it. I like to think this movie is where Trump has gotten most of his political acumen by just trying to emulate Koopa. It does have the occasional nod to the games like the Bob-omb, jump “shoes” and that fireball gun, but none of it is tied to the games, and almost nothing in the movie makes logical sense.

#2: Resident Evil Extinction

Really, I could make a whole column about how stupid the Resident Evil films are. The principle knock against them is that the entire franchise is based around a nothing of a character, who literally has no personality, because she is usually an amnesiac in half of these movies. I single out the third RE movie though because of the “The T-Virus has somehow managed to dry up all the water on Earth”, despite the next movie having water, and the premise of the 5th movie being “we’re in an underwater complex”. Also, let’s not forget the whole clone Alice garbage this movie ends with, that the next movie wraps up in about the first three minutes of the opening.

#1: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Who was smoking what, when they came up with the story idea for Spirits Within? Having literally nothing to do with any of the games up to that point, the movie is about a group of crack commandos as they guard a scientist as she gathers spirit fragments to eliminate the ghosts of dead aliens. What. What game is this based on? FF7 did have the Lifestream crap, but I don’t remember a lot of dudes with assault rifles, or alien ghosts in the game. This movie led to the ouster of Sakaguchi and was such a financial bomb that it almost led to the closure of Square as a company, leading the company to massive losses, the CEO stepping down, and requiring Sony to buy a large chunk of the company to stay afloat. So…good on you, Spirits Within, not only are you an incomprehensible, pseudo-philosophical mess of a movie, but it also almost brought down a company that has lasted for nearly 20 years at that point.

For comments, list which video game movies baffle you.

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison