The 5 Best and 5 Worst Video Game Movies (2000 onwards)
For the most part video game adaptations are bad, but not always. With Uncharted having released yesterday, I'm taking a look at the best and the worst video game movies (in no particular order). It's worth noting that this list is completely my own opinion and is based just as much on personal preference as it is on actual movie quality. Only movies from the 2000s are eligible in the interest of keeping it from just being a list of all of the hideously awful 90s adaptations.
BEST: Rampage (2018)
An excellent movie to kick off the list with. Rampage is so great because it doesn't take itself seriously at all. If you don't like the sound of a giant gorilla fighting a giant crocodile fighting a giant wolf then there might be something wrong with you. It's by no means an artistic masterpiece but it provides pretty much non stop action from start to finish and just like the original arcade game that action basically entails three giant animals smashing each other and a city to smithereens. Is it guilty of having exclusively cheesy dialogue? Yes. Is the Rock playing exactly the same role he plays in every other movie? Also Yes. Is Rampage his best movie? By a long way. Rampage is everything it should have been as a movie and is the perfect example of why video game asaptations need to stop taking themselves so seriously.
WORST: Assassin's Creed (2016)
Here is an example of a video game movie taking itself too seriously. Assassin's Creed isn't a bad movie, it's just boring and unforgettable. Putting it in the list of the worst is extremely harsh but it's there because it had so much potential but fell so phenomenally short. What action there is is pretty good, the costumes are great, the cast is great too, but it all just feels like a desperate cash grab when they could have made a genuinely great movie instead. In fact this movie is so unmemorable that I had to look up the plot and to be quite honest I actually can't remember it having literally just read it. I wish Assassin's Creed was a better movie and it was so close but it ended up being a huge dissapointment.
BEST: Need For Speed (2014)
Need for Speed is criminally underrated. I've always felt that if it didn't have the title that it does that people would have felt much better about it. It's better than any Fast and Furious movie by a million miles but it gets a fraction of the recognition. It has a completely excellent A-list cast: Aaron Paul, Michael Keaton, Rami Malek, Dakota Johnson, Dominic Cooper, and (my personal favourite cast member) Kid Cudi. The plot is a straight forward race against the clock (Smokey and the Bandit anyone?), the races and stunts are extremely well done, and it's completely accurate to the game series in every way. I'll never understand how this movie didn't get the love I think it deserves. Need for Speed is a great movie and I'll die on that hill.
WORST: Far Cry (2008)
Uwe Boll directed this one. That alone qualifies it for the worst list, I honestly don't feel like I can do justice to how awful this movie is. The script, the acting, and the cinematography are all beyond awful as with every Uwe Boll property. Far Cry had a budget of $30million and made back just $700,000. To fully understand how bad it truly is you have to watch it but I wouldn't if I were you, live the rest of your life in comfort knowing that you never watched an Uwe Boll directed Far Cry film. Do watch Blubberella though, it's easily Uwe Boll's finest work (in the sense that it's the worst movie of all time but at least, unlike Far Cry, it's actually entertainingly bad).
BEST: Tomb Raider (2018)
Tomb Raider is a very solid movie. Unlike the Angelina Jolie noughties movies these stay very close to the games and it pays off. It's all exactly what you'd expect and that's what makes any good video game movie good. Often times the problems come when writers try to change the core concepts, plots, or characters of the source material but with this they did none of that. This Tomb Raider movie is a masterclass in how to follow the source material and get it right. It was widely liked too and is getting a sequel at some point in the near future which will almost definitely be just as good as the first one so that's something for fans of the franchise to look forward to.
WORST: Doom (2005)
Doom isn't as bad as any Uwe Boll movie but it's pretty dire nonetheless. That feels harsh to say as there isn't necessarily any one reason that it's so bad but it's definitely a movie that could have done with being made 15 years later. It looks incredibly low budget and between them Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban share the acting skills of a person that can't act (this is still the case). The dialogue and script definitely could have done with a little extra work too but I'll forigve it based on the fact that it was a video game movie in the noughties, they were all as bad as each other. Doom is a property with so much potential that if they announced a reboot for it now I'd be very excited but the thought of a repeat of this one is enough to make anyone hesitant.
BEST: Uncharted (2022)
See my review for Uncharted here. Uncharted is great fun. I'd say the same I said for Tomb Raider, the writers understood the assignment fully and didn't try anything for the sake of being different. There are little flaws, it's a bit too short and the lack of Hawaiian shirt on Sully is a shame but on the whole Uncharted deserves the inevitable twenty years worth of seuquels that it will get and I'm fully looking forward to seeing where the franchise will go from here.
WORST: Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001)
This is just personal opinion and not much more. As movies the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider series are fine, they're a little boring and slow but they're fine. I just hate them though, and when you compare the new one to these films it's easy to feel that way. These films hold none of the charm that the games have and are just sort of grimy, boring, generic early 2000s action movies and that's never a good thing. Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider films fall into exactly the same trap as Assassin's Creed, they're plain boring. It does feel a little harsh lumping this in with an Uwe Boll movie of any kind but I can't just do the 5 Uwe Boll video game movies so Tomb Raider falls in to fill in for them.
BEST: Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Sonic could have been an absolute disaster, remember that original character design? But this movie turned out to be a great video game movie that everyone can enjoy. It has a great cast in Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, and Jim Carrey and the cast works perfectly in its favour too just like Need for Speed earlier in the list. A good cast doesn't always make a good movie (for example Assassin's Creed) but in Sonic's case everyone works to make this movie as fun as possible. There is a sequel to this one coming later in 2022 and all signs point to another fun filled outing and will definitely be one to keep an eye on.
WORST: Silent Hill Revelation (2012)
The first Silent Movie is actually a pretty good movie, it's accurate to the source material and it's a pretty well made movie, what more could you ask for? You could ask for a good sequel and that would be fair enough but you'd feel extremely let down if that's what you asked for before watching Silent Hill: Revelation. The special effects and CGI were a standout but Silent Hill: Revelation feels like a movie that would have been better off left as an unfilmed script. It adds nothing to the franchise and is a muddled and confused movie that spends an hour and a half desperately trying to fit in as many set pieces and action scenes as it can. It isn't awful and is completely watchable but if you're a fan of the franchise you'll probably agree that this film series would have been better left at the first one.
And that brings us to the end of this list. I will probably revisit this again with more big budget video game movies releasing in the future, who knows maybe I'll rank the Uwe Boll video game movies in terms of watchability or maybe I'll look at the adaptations from a different era next time.