The 10 best video game movies… ever!

No, they don't all completely suck

We all know that, on the whole, video game movie adaptations are notoriously bad. But still, the film industry keeps on hitting reset and trying again.

In the imminent future, audiences can look forward to and/or brace themselves for big-budget, high-profile Hollywood takes based on Nintendo’s Super Mario (starring Chris Pratt as the titular plumber alongside Anya Taylor-Joy, Seth Rogen and Charlie Day), Metal Gear Solid (with Oscar Isaac) and Uncharted (featuring Tom Holland), while Halo is getting its own TV series. It could be the start of The Golden Age Of Video Game Movies… maybe.

Thing is, not every video game movie to date has completely sucked. Honest. Here are the top 10 adaptations in an otherwise shitty genre.

10
Mortal Kombat (1995)

Leaning heavily on the original 1992 game, the 1995 movie version of Mortal Kombat follows a trio of chosen fighters entering a tournament to protect the world from evil forces. The Karate Kid meets Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with an arcade-ready soundtrack, this film might be cheesy and a bit on the nose, but it doesn’t waste any time in showing fans exactly what they want to see from a Mortal Kombat film – a shitload of fights, namely. If anything, the shocking 2021 reboot makes this version even better.

Is it better than the game?

It’s a close one, but, ultimately, the game lands the fatality.

9
Silent Hill (2006)

Director Christophe Gans spent five years trying to make a Silent Hill movie, and only got the rights after sending a video to Konami in which he explained how much the games meant to him. A film by fans, for fans, Silent Hill has everything you could want from a psychological horror – a sinister cult, interdimensional monsters, a missing child with a creepy backstory, a parent making silly decisions and Sean Bean. It’s basically Stranger Things without the precious gang of misfits to save the day.

Is it better than the game?

It might be a love letter to the 1999 game, but it never shies away from developing its much-loved characters.

8
Monster Hunter (2020)

An otherworldly take on Jurassic Park, Monster Hunter is set in a different dimension where both humans and giant monsters co-exist. When Milla Jovovich’s Artemis accidentally falls through a portal, professional monster slayer Hunter (Tony Jaa) helps her return home. Sure, the plot focuses more on spectacle than subtlety, but with a host of terrifying beasties and some equally outrageous weapons, Monster Hunter is a joyful popcorn flick.

Is it better than the game?

It’s the perfect introduction to Capcom’s Monster Hunter universe.

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7
Rampage (2018)

Dwayne Johnson teams up with a super-powered gorilla to fight a giant crocodile and a huge wolf: Rampage really is as ridiculous, over-the-top and entertaining as it sounds. While recent monster movies like Godzilla vs. Kong have shoehorned a human storyline into the plot (like giant creatures fighting isn’t engaging enough), Rampage lets the creatures be the rightful stars of the show.

Is it better than the game?

Let’s be honest: none of you knew Rampage was a video game before this film was made.

6
Double Dragon (1994)  

Double Dragon is a movie so bad, it’s actually good. Set in the then-near future of 2007 (!) where cops rule the day and punks own the night, it’s basically a West End musical without the singing. A blend of action, comedy and martial arts, it’s as ‘90s as they come and hits every single video game cliché you could imagine. It should be a car-crash, but honestly, every single scene is inadvertently hilarious.

Is it better than the game?

The game is fine, the movie is a work of art.

5
Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)

When the first trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog dropped back in 2019, the internet kicked off over how stupid the legendary blue hedgehog looked in it. Paramount were forced to take an extra three months to redesign the hero, and the rest of the movie is handled with just as much care. Sure, it faithfully follows the plot of almost every Sonic game (the hedgehog thwarting Dr. Robotnik’s latest nefarious scheme), but with a brilliant performance from Jim Carrey and Sonic’s sarcastic personality staying on the right side of edgy, it’s a joyous romp that captures the same fast-paced joy as the games.

Is it better than the game?

It features all the very best bits of Sonic’s 30-year career under one roof.

4
Pokémon: The First Movie (1998)

A global phenomenon that was released at the very height of Pokémon-mania. Ash, Brock, Misty and Pikachu have to deal with an army of clones who are led by science-experiment gone wrong, Mewtwo. Expanding on the lore of Red & Blue’s post-game and properly establishing the Pokémon-versus-people narrative that’s become a central part of almost every Pokémon game since, The First Movie saw Pokémon get a little mature while maintaining the wonder and adventure that captured the hearts of a generation.

Is it better than the game?

Well, none of the Pokémon games have ever made us cry.

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3
Resident Evil (2002)

A faithful, terrifying introduction to the Umbrella Corporation that sees Milla Jovovich’s Alice as the ultimate zombie slayer. The first of seven (!) films in a consistently gory, action-packed franchise, Resident Evil is the video game movie equivalent of the Fast & Furious series – just with a little less family and a lot more horror. Later films kept fans of the games happy with appearances from Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Carlos Oliveira, Chris Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy, but the first Resident Evil relied on blood, guts and one hell of a final reveal.

Is it better than the game?

The voice acting definitely is…

2
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Angelina Jolie brought Lara Croft to life in this action/adventure film from 2001. While the 2018 reboot took itself very seriously, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider delved into the mysterious-but-bonkers world that Croft calls home where she tries to obtain ancient artefacts from the Illuminati. Featuring giant robots, a trigger-happy Croft and a plot inspired equally by Indiana Jones and internet conspiracy theories, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is more fun than it has any right to be.

Is it better than the game?

At no point in the film do you want to lock the butler in a fridge, or take Angelina Jolie for a deathly swim.

1
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

For some time the most expensive video game movie ever made (until the release of 2010’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, but the less said about that the better), The Spirits Within is basically a better version of The Matrix: Revolutions. Set in 2065 following an alien invasion of Earth, the movie is an existential sci-fi adventure that tackles life, death and what happens next. Full of big emotional moments, plenty of action, a lush soundtrack and the most gorgeous of visuals, it’s got everything a great game and movie should have – without ever playing it safe or simply ticking boxes.

Is it better than the game?

It might not be as adored as the classic run of FF7, 8 or 9, but it’s a lot more interesting and fun than the later titles in the franchise.

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