Video game movies: Are they really that bad?

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What do you think is the best video game movie of all time?

Millions of people have been watching the trailer for a new film based on the Mortal Kombat video game series.

The gruesome teaser has got gamers across the world excited about the return of the franchise to the silver screen.

But not all video game movies get such positive attention. The BBC Sounds Press X to Continue podcast has been digging in to the best and worst.

“There are so many video game adaptations that you think are going to be amazing before they come out,” says Gav Murphy, from RKG Video.

“I was like, ‘Assassin’s Creed is going to be incredible when it comes out’ – and it’s just boring. It’s joyless.”


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Game reviewer and Twitch streamer, Inel Tomlinson, on the other hand, took issue with a listener who wanted to rank Doom as the worst video game adaptation.

“Are you trying to tell me Doom is worse than Dead or Alive?

“It’s very fanservice-y,” he says of the Dead or Alive movie. “The stuff that you get in the game… well, you’re getting it in the movie.”

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The new Mortal Kombat movie will be the latest in a string of movie adaptations based on fighting games.

That’s “kind of weird” according to Gav.

“I know there’s a lot of fighting game fans out there, but I don’t think any of them would say that they play Street Fighter and Tekken for the story,” he says.

Sub Zero screenshot


image copyrightWarner Bros

Ali Plumb, Radio 1’s film critic, thinks the capacity to create convincing special effects may make all the difference to filmmakers taking video games to the big screen.

“When you make a Mortal Kombat movie right now, the cost of visual special effects is a lot less,” he says.

“The simplicity of making good-ish or good-enough special effects is there. In 1997 (when earlier versions were released) it was not.

“So I think right now is the time for a Mortal Kombat film, because it can keep up with what it needs to do.”

As for the best of the bunch? The recent Sonic the Hedgehog movie has to be in the mix according to Ali.

“It’s a good little film. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s a surprisingly large amount of fun.

“Does it really have a plot? Not so much. Does it make any sense? Nah. But I can totally see my God kid loving this movie.”

Sonic the Hedgehog


image copyrightParamount Pictures

Another video game movie adaptation getting the thumbs up is horror Silent Hill.

“I think it tried to do what the game does, which is an imposing sense of dread,” says Gav.

Inel insists family-favourite Detective Pikachu is also “way better than it should be”.

And of course, some of the very worst offenders become enjoyable for all the wrong reasons.

“When it comes to these kind of game films, I enjoy them for how bad they are,” he laughs.

“I’ve got two words for these films,” adds Ali.

“It’s terrible and brilliant. So it’s terra-brilliant.

“It’s appalling but I can’t stop watching.”


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