games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Live Video Game Adaptations – Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, More

May 22, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Resident Evil Afterlife

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. When I came up with this idea last week, I thought it would be fairly easy. Boy, was I wrong. If you discount fan-made stuff, and stuff not in English (or released in America), then the list of available adaptations gets thin, real quick. My only criteria here was to make a list of live-action adaptations, could be movies, tv shows, even internet videos, so long as they are made by the game company. Even with those rules, this was still like trying to find diamonds amongst a pile of Uwe Boll and Paul W. S. Anderson crap. Also, there won’t be a column next week, since I’ll be on vacation, but I’ll be back the following week. Let’s begin:

#8: Dead Rising: Watchtower

Dead Rising: Watchtower could have been a great film but the entire thing is a weird mis-direct. The basic plot follows “Chase Carter” (Jesse Metcalfe) as he infiltrates a quarantine zone in a city to get to the truth of a new zombie outbreak and what the army is doing. It also has Frank West (Rob Riggle) on the sidelines just kind of making wisecracks about what is going on. The question I have is, why are we supposed to care about this Chase Carter guy at all? Metcalfe seems like a bad actor, and it makes you not interested if he survives at all against the zombies. Why didn’t you slot Frank West in that role, instead? Could the filmmakers only get Rob Riggle for a day? That’s how it seems to me. This movie also has Keegan Connor Tracy in it, an actress I like, as Chase’s camerawoman, but she is such a throwaway character, it barely resonates. There’s some good zombie makeup and gore in the film and not much else.

#7: Tomb Raider

Casting McNulty (Dominic West) as Lara’s dad was a good stroke of genius. Also, having Walton Goggins as the bad guy fits in well. I think Alicia Viklander was somewhat of a poor choice though. She just didn’t have the gravitas that the role necessarily requires, despite trying her best. Also, while the story works in a 20 hour game, it doesn’t necessarily translate into a 2 hour movie. Still, it’s better than either of the Angelina Jolie movies, so it has that going for it.

#6: Resident Evil: Apocalypse

ALL of the Resident Evil films are bad, be it live action or CGI. This film is bad as well, with the usual stilted performance by Milla Jovovich, bad action, bad story, really, bad everything. The only reason it is on this list is because it at least attempts to follow the plotline of Resident Evil 3. It doesn’t succeed, because the Alice character is shoehorned in like crazy, but it almost makes the attempt. Things from the game like Nemesis, Umbrella soldiers like Carlos and Nikolai, and Jill Valentine in the most impractical outfit ever, are in the movie. This is literally the only saving grace of this movie.

#5: Halo: Nightfall

This show has almost nothing to do with “Halo”, as a franchise. It does have Locke in it, but it’s a prequel to anything he does in Halo 5, but that’s about the only connection it really has. The only reason it’s on this list is because I like Mike Colter (Locke) and Christina Chong (Mercer). Both are good actors, who generally try in material that is just kind of bland. This series wasn’t needed in the slightest, but as far as tie-in stuff goes, it’s fairly non-offensive.

#4: Mortal Kombat: Legacy

Legacy is odd because a lot of it has little to do with what is going on in the actual games. Sure, it has the same characters but a lot of the actual fighting is based on the “real world” and not the fantastical stuff from the games. I’m not really big on the way the web-series looks either, going for some weird Battlestar Galactica grime, instead of being more realistic. Still, Jeri Ryan was a *superb* choice of Sonya Blade, and most of the actual fighting choreography is decent to good.

#3: Silent Hill

The story of the Silent Hill movie barely makes sense, which is actually really on-par with the source material. It’s high on my list just for the visuals and music, which are pretty decent. Also, Laurie Holden does make a pretty passable Cybil, even if the character is short-changed pretty badly. I remember seeing this with some friends, when it came out, and they were enthused. I thought it was “eh, ok”, but having watched it fairly recently, I see how the story is one of the more incoherent movies I’ve seen. At least the “Pyramid Head ripping off the woman’s skin” scene was decent.

#2: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

The early 90’s was an era of kids gameshows. Legends of the Hidden Temple, GUTS, Double Dare, among others were great shows to watch when you were a kid (like I was). One of the more popular ones was Carmen Sandiego, which I think is 100% due to its theme song. You can’t listen to it, and not tap your foot. Aside from Rockapella, the show itself was basically kids Jeopardy, answering trivia questions about geography and the like, interspersed with some comedy skits and physical mini-games with the kids. It was a great show to watch and still holds up well to this day. Also, Rest in Peace Lynne Thigpen.

#1: Mortal Kombat

How sad is it that the best live-action movie of a video game is from 23 years ago and is only adequate as an actual movie. In the pantheon of video-game movies, Mortal Kombat is practically Citizen Kane, but that’s only because the bar is set so low with this stuff, that it having a tolerable makes it leaps and bounds ahead of most stuff. Mortal Kombat has a decent story, relatively good (for its era) special effects, and Christopher Lambert hamming it up like only he can. It’s funny that this is the highest rated of Paul W.S. Anderson’s movies according to Metacritic, with a 58% rating. Some of the character motivations are weird in this movie, but as a whole, this is still the only watchable movie on this list.

For comments, list which live action adaptations you enjoy, and why.

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison