Movies & TV / Columns

The 411 Movies Top 5: The Top 5 Video Game Movies

May 1, 2016 | Posted by Shawn S. Lealos

The 411 Movies Top 5: Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Movies Top 5 List. We take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to participate and give us their Top 5 on said topic. So, onto this week’s topic…

The Top 5 Video Game Movies

5. STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI – This reboot of the movie franchise wasn’t a major box office success, but I thought it was pretty cool. Instead of making a movie that feels like a video game, The Legend of Chun-Li more resembles the first in a possible low budget B-movie franchise. It has a little too much plot, but the cast is superb and the action scenes are fabulous. Neal McDonough is a revelation as the villain Bison, and Moon Bloodgood kicks ass as a cop investigating Bison’s international crime ring. And Kristin Kreuk is excellent as the star and main character Chun-Li. It’s a damn shame that we won’t get another one. I would have loved to have seen what was in store next. Would one of the game sequels become the basis for the movie sequel, or would the producers go with an original story?

4. CLOAK & DAGGER – This was one of those “must-see” kids movies from the 1980’s that had everything in it. You had the kid from E.T., Dabney Coleman, good old Frank Hart hisself from 9 to 5 and that one episode of Different Strokes where he played a bigot or something, a story where a kid fought against a bunch of scumbag spies for some reason, and all sorts of video game stuff. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to be involved in an international spy game with his badass imaginary friend (Coleman playing that character, too)? And it was a movie about an Atari game, one of the coolest looking Atari games of all time. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t a real game (I don’t think it was, although I could be wrong about that. It may have been one of those “real” games that was also a very limited release). The story was about a secret hidden inside an Atari game. I still love this movie. And if and when you do see it be on the lookout for a very young looking William “Bill” Forsythe. I didn’t realize it was him until a few years ago.

3. STREET FIGHTERStreet Fighter is a wonderful mash-up of what an arcade video game looks like (lots of bright colors, big action, fun) and a big budget Jean Claude Van Damme action flick. Back in 1994, at least for me, Van Damme’s presence was the big draw. And it was weird thinking of Raul Julia, Gomez Addams hisself, as the villain Bison. How was that going to work? Thankfully, Julia worked out beautifully. He’s hamming it up big time, sure, but it’s fun watching him have fun. Julia even comes off as a credible martial arts threat to Van Damme, and back in the mid-1990’s no one was a real threat (it was all “movie magic” and whatnot but it still worked). Much like its later reboot, Street Fighter should have been the first of several movies. I really wanted to see what Van Damme could have done as Guile against another enemy. And who would have played Bison, since he wasn’t dead at the end of the movie?

2. GAMER – I was blown away the first time I saw this badass action flick, a movie I consider to be a legitimate modern action classic. People playing a video game where the characters in the game are prisoners on death row? It seems ridiculous, but, hey, if enough rich people want it they’ll make it happen? And the whole “sims” type game where people control real people doing mundane things, like going to parties and having weird sex? Of course that would happen, too? Gerard Butler rocks as the prisoner with the highest score, Terry Crews is scary as all hooha as the psycho put into the game to kill off Butler’s Kane, and Michael C. Hall is pure sleaze as the mega rich mastermind behind the whole “real life video games” idea. I’m surprised that this movie wasn’t a bigger hit. It’s subversive, it’s weird, it’s got insane action set pieces, and Lloyd Kaufman is in it.

1. RESIDENT EVIL – Instead of just adapting the mega popular survival horror video game Resident Evil and making a movie out of the video game, writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson used the game as inspiration to tell his own story. To me, that was a big gamble, as it would have been easier to just copy the game sort of shot-for-shot to appease the game’s huge fan base. And when the movie came out lots of game fans complained. But, thankfully, Anderson’s movie, starring his soon-to-be-wife Milla Jovovich, made enough money to become a major franchise. Five movies have been made (Afterlife, the fourth movie, is the only true weak one in the franchise at the moment) and a sixth one is filming as we speak. The sixth movie is supposed to be the last one, at least the last one with Jovovich and, presumably, Anderson involved. If it’s a success, though, how can it really be the end? I wish they would keep making them until everyone in the world got sick of them. To me, that’s the best way to handle a popular franchise.

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5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010) – Fans could argue that this is more a comic book movie than a video game film. But I love the old school gaming feel of this movie, the coins, the sound effects, the way you can punch the highlights out of someone’s hair. Sure, it’s a little heavy handed when it drops hints that there’s a girl among the “evil exes,” but this one is worth a watch for Brandon Routh alone. More of a genre spoof with lots of great levels than an homage to any one game, Scott Pilgrim vs The World is always a good watch.

4. The Last Starfighter (1984) – This is the movie every 80’s kid imagined themselves in. Who wouldn’t wish that their video game skills were so amazing that they were recruited by aliens (because the game is real in their galaxy) in order to save their world? While the premise of this one is simple and has been redone ad nauseum, The Last Starfighter has some smart writing, solid alien characters, laughs, and some decent drama. This one also features Lance Guest—who you can also see in 80’s classics like Halloween II and Jaws IV: The Revenge.

3. Wargames (1983) – Remember when Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy were young teens? And one of them used an 80’s modem to hack into the government computers that control our nuclear weapons? And he had to use tic-tac-toe in order to convince the computer that war is stupid and always a draw, so they could collectively save the world from nuclear annihilation? Yeah, that’s Wargames, and it’s a great watch. This 80’s classic also features famed British performer John Wood as Dr. Falken—the guy with a kite that looks like a pterodactyl. If a computer ever asks you to play a game called Global Thermonuclear War, don’t.

2. Resident Evil (2002) – I’ll be honest, my fave thing about this movie is that it’s the American debut of James Purefoy—AKA England’s sexiest man alive. Seriously. But this is also the movie that taught us that films based on video games could be well-plotted, feature strong and convincing performances, and need not be a series of fight scenes held together with the flimsiest of premises. Plus, there were T-virus zombies. Scary, scary zombies. The monsters are creepy, the villains are worse, and I’ve never actually wanted Michelle Rodriquez to live so badly in anything. Even the sequels to this movie are highly watchable.

1. Wreck-It Ralph (2012) – What’s not to like about Wreck-It Ralph? It spoofs and references games old and new, features wonderfully diverse characters that are both whimsical and genuine all at once. What’s it like to always be the bad guy? What is Vanellope’s glitch, and why is it important? How come those other girls are so mean? Why does something get in my eye every time Wreck-it Ralph breaks the Candy Cart? I loved this movie so much, it didn’t even bother me when scores of new parents started naming their new daughters Vanellope.

Shawn S. Lealos
5. Silent Hill – This game was one of the scariest games I have ever played (although I haven’t played games like this in many years) and the movie did a great job of taking the atmosphere of the game and putting it up on the screen in glorious manner. The movie was directed by Christophe Gans, a director I was excited to see get the job based on his amazing movie Brotherhood of the Wolf and he did not disappoint in the visuals. The story is just average, but man this movie looked amazing and had some great creature effects.

4. The King of Kong – This is a documentary about the battle for the Donkey Kong world title. Honestly, look at the character that Peter Dinklage played in Pixels, and imagine the real-life version of that d-bag and you would be close to recognizing Billy Mitchell, the world champion Donkey Kong player. This documentary, directed by Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses) tells the story of a man named Steve Wiebe who sets out to break the record and then finds himself in Billy Mitchell’s crosshairs as he tries to do every underhanded thing imaginable to take the record back and get his score in the Guinness Book of World Records. It is stranger than fiction and a great documentary about the geek culture surrounding video games.

3. Mortal Kombat – One of the early positive efforts in the video game adaptations was the movie Mortal Kombat. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, this movie was a straight B-level action movie that succeeded due to the inclusion of elements of fun, as well as entertaining fight scenes. One major highlight is Christopher Lambert’s over-the-top cheesy performance as the God Raiden, plus there was Johnny Cage’s signature move, which I marked out for when I saw the film the first time. The fact that the second movie killed off Cage made me hate that one forever.

2. Wreck-It Ralph – Honestly, start back with Tangled in 2010, and Disney has been on a role when it comes to really good animated movies. Winnie the Pooh, Wreck-it-Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia, and there is not a dud in the bunch. When it comes to all those movies, Wreck-it-Ralph really stands out in my eyes. Honestly, there has been crap when it comes to video game movies over the years, and Wreck-it-Ralph may not be based on a video game, but it might be one of the best video game movies ever made. This film was just brilliant in every area.

1. Scott Pilgrim vs The World – I think that the best video game movie wasn’t based on a video game but on a comic. Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is just a damn perfect video game movie that isn’t even about video games at all. Basically, Wright took the story from the comics and then made it look like Pilgrim was involved in a giant real-life video game, with extra lives, bonus tokens, and more. Sure, that was taken from the comics, but Wright just crafted a perfect movie.


List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:

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