Top 10 Best Video Game Based Movies

There are good games and there are bad games. There are good movies and there are bad movies. But then, how do video game movies hold up?

It's no mystery by now that video game movies are widely considered to be box office poison. On top of that, video game movies are also critically not very well received overall and not taken nearly as serious as most of the games they are based on.

Yet still, there have to be exceptions to that rule, right? Or at the very least, video game based movies which, while not perfect, are fun and entertaining experiences or even positive examples in which way the genre has to evolve in order to eventually succeed someday.

Let's look at how far video game movies have come by now with Invisible Kid's Top 10 Best Video Game Based Movies.

The rules for this Top 10 list are the following:

1. The movie has to be a live-action movie.
2. The movie has to have had an international theatrical release.
3. The main factors that influence the ranking are:

- overall production quality / production values
- entertainment value
- faithfulness to the original source material / video game
- quality of the movie's own ideas and story complete with characters, etc. 

So now, let's dig through the abyss of video game movies to find out what possible hidden gems we may find...


Just to give you an idea of how difficult it is to come up with even 10 movies to fill up this list, our 10th place goes to a movie that generally has incredibly little to nothing to offer.

Hitman starring Timothy Olyphant in the titular role is a video game adaptation whose production values and big budget are undeniably visible, yet it's a movie that ultimately gets almost everything about its main character wrong. Aside from a ridiculous casting choice, Hitman is misguidedly enough much more about full-on action than the stealth tactics Agent 47 is known for from the games. Along with an incredibly forced badass attitude, unconvincing chemistry between the two leads and a very sluggish pacing, the only reason Hitman even makes our Top 10 list, is that all other video game movies are even worse than this.
Sadly, though, judging from the trailers, the upcoming reboot titled Hitman: Agent 47 is about to make the exact same mistakes that its 2007 predecessor made.


Need for Speed

Making a movie out of a game with practically no established characters or story like Need for Speed gives the producers and director loads of opportunities and possibilities to basically do whatever they want.
With that said, it only baffles us how a movie with such a dynamic and action-heavy premise like Need for Speed could turn out as such a slow drag of a movie.
Featuring way too many dialogue-heavy scenes with uninteresting characters and clichee relationships, it only hampers the amount of fun Need for Speed should actually offer. But to be fair, when the movie's anticipated crash-heavy races and chases finally appear, they are legitimately impressive. Though occasionally a bit too realistic for its own good, Need for Speed's high octane races with shamefully expensive sportscars alone are enough to grant it a place in this list.
Sure, Need for Speed made a whole lot more wrong than it did right over the course of its running time, yet it still manages to get the gist of the game it's based on right enough to make it enjoyable enough even if it's only for the racing scenes.


Resident Evil

Directly comparing the Resident Evil movie franchise to its video game counterpart will make any fan of the videogames facepalm in shame. Consisting out of five movies to date which basically follow and develop an entirely different storyline as they go along, the Resident Evil movies are mostly slapped together messes of fight scenes and fan service motivated character cameos.

Yet among all of them, the very first Resident Evil movie that started it all turns out as the most enjoyable of the bunch (especially after seeing how gradually worse the movie franchise got after every movie).
Resident Evil from 2002, just as its sequels, told a very different story from its video game counterpart with completely new unknown characters, yet it managed to mainly get what the first Resident Evil game was all about.
Though greatly shifting its setting into a huge underground lab instead of a creepy mansion with an entirely new cast of characters, the first Resi film for the most part nailed the claustrophobic and desperate feel of trying to escape the horror. Sure, there is still quite some silly dialogue, unnecessary pseudo-kung fu fights (against zombie dogs) and an overly huge focus on Milla Jovovich's character Alice, but if you are willing to accept it and regard the first movie as a creative new vision or interpretation of Resident Evil, the first Resi movie from 2002 isn't even all that bad.

(If you still want a real Resident Evil movie though, you should check out the animated feature movies Resident Evil: Degeneration and Resident Evil: Damnation.)  


Street Fighter

Especially back in the 90s, fighting games were THE s#!t for kids. Aside from Pokemon, this was the genre where kids and gamers in general competed directly with each other and had hours upon hours of fun showing each other who was the true master of the game. On top of all skill-based fighters at that time was a little game known as "Street Fighter II". It was no surprise that it didn't take long till a full-on Street Fighter movie came along.

To make it short: seeing this movie from an adult person's point of's a disaster.
Yet Street Fighter is a movie that couldn't have come out during a more perfect time. During the 90s, the prime of Street Fighter and fighting games in general, kids expectedly loved this movie. It didn't matter that Kylie Minogue was in this movie and that "The Muscles from Brussels" Jean-Claude Van Damme played hyper American patriot Guile with hundreds of cringeworthy lines that are all laughably delivered. At the time of its release, the sheer fact that this single movie managed to cram almost the entire roster of the game's characters into one single storyline was just unreal.
The Street Fighter movie is almost the definition of a "guilty pleasure movie". For adults who grew up playing Street Fighter and witnessing this movie's release, much like the 90s TMNT movies, Street Fighter will always manage to have a soft spot in these peoples' hearts.
The Street Fighter movie lives through its huge amounts of fan service and ample amounts of cheese. It's a disaster of the most wonderful kind. What else is there to say but: "90s kids will know."


 DOA: Dead or Alive

The fighting game franchise Dead or Alive is basically about hot girls in bikinis fighting...and guess what?...the movie DOA: Dead or Alive is about hot girls in bikinis fighting.

DOA is a movie that is so ridiculously retarded with such a visibly low budget that it could've just as well been released as a straight up DVD movie. Complete with silly dialogue, a ridiculously idiotic storyline, cheesy characters and loads of fan service through bikini fights, there arises one question: why then is it so high on this list? It's simple, because with exactly all of these ingredients it almost perfectly captures what the original games it's based on are all about.
The original DOA games themselves featured extremely goofy and silly storylines with a giant roster of over-the-top characters. And seeing that the DOA movie focusses on a bad guy with a pair of sunglasses that grant him all of the other fighters' strengths (yes, that's really what happens), there are numerous scenes in this movie that could've easily just like that happened in any of the DOA games' storylines.
The DOA movie requires absolutely no brain activity to be enjoyed whatsoever, but that's okay since it just so perfectly utilizes its characters with enough fan service to make for an enjoyable B-movie evening.
And lasty, talking about fan service, the movie even manages to get DOA Volleyball in there somehow.


Mortal Kombat

Jumping onto the fighting game movie train in the 90s was also Mortal Kombat.
Whereas Street Fighter amazed gamers through its skill based- and fast gameplay, Mortal Kombat caught peoples' attention mostly through its gore and fatality moves. With that said, despite the fact that it was a big slap in the face when fans of the franchise heard that the Mortal Kombat movie would be rated PG-13, the actual Mortal Kombat movie wasn't even that bad all things considered.
Violent video games like Mortal Kombat, which were not suited for kids, of course attracted exactly these kids to be wanting to play these "forbidden games" even more, therefore it is quite understandable and partially even a nice move to give kids an opportunity to enjoy a Mortal Kombat movie in theaters for themselves.
Surprisingly enough though, even despite the fact that the final movie therefore lacked any gore or even blood whatsoever, the movies numerous dynamic and cool fight scenes complete with the fitting trademark techno beats made up for it quite well.
Additionally, Mortal Kombat was very confident in its presentation. Some kid-friendly silly comedic relief from Johnny Cage aside, Mortal Kombat's atmosphere was full of mystery and magic, which was only further underlined by the awesome scenery (like most notably the Scorpion vs. Johnny Cage forest fight).
Over the years, the movie's CGI effects sure look incredibly dated now, yet the movie now has somewhat of a well deserved cult following.

Its sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihliation though...complete garbage. Let's just not talk about that one.


Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Almost as good as the first one, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life followed upon the success and full-on blockbuster action flick, 2001's Tomb Raider, in respectably self-confident fashion. Without having to establish the main character, her backstory or sidekicks, Cradle of Life gets right to the adventure.
Granted, there isn't too much in terms of depth to be found in neither of the two Tomb Raider movies, yet especially Cradle of Life has a very satisfying pace to boast its Indiana-Jones-esque storyline. With numerous action set-pieces, more vicious bad guys and some supernatural elements, Cradle of Life is no masterpiece and no rival to the glory of Indiana Jones itself, but it nevertheless does justice to the early Tomb Raider games and captures their adventure feel quite well throughout.  


Tomb Raider

While it's fair to say that both Tomb Raider movies are quality-wise pretty much at the same level, the first Tomb Raider just wins by a hair. Why? Because of its sheer impact and its chosen settings that obviously pay tribute to the video games.With gunfights inside Lara's mansion and action scenes located in ancient temples full of supernatural golem monsters roaming around, the first Tomb Raider movie was the biggest video game adaptation at the time of its release. Though far more successful as a straight forward action flick with numerous gunfights rather than a Indiana-Jones-like adventure, director Simon West nevertheless delivered a solidly entertaining action romp with a predictable yet satisfying enough storyline that introduces just as many new ideas and characters as it does pay tribute to the original games.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Prince of Persia was set out to follow the footsteps of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and even top their success. And even though Prince of Persia was far away from being the hit it was initially intended to be, it nevertheless marks one of the best video game based movies to date through its sheer amount of high production values alone. With huge and beautifully crafted sets, starring plenty of A-List actors like Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton and Ben Kingsley, and loads of special effects work, it had all the necessary ingredients for an expensive summer blockbuster. Furthermore, Prince of Persia did the right thing by basing its storyline off of the video game franchise's most successful one - the Sands of Time trilogy. Granted, the movie didn't exactly follow the game's story 1:1, yet with its own ideas, it put together a story that felt much more suited to be put into a self-contained whole movie complete with a varied roster of characters from the hero, the attractive princess, over the silent badass, and the comic relief character.
If it wasn't for the fact that the Prince of Persia movie nevertheless felt quite a bit too much by-the-numbers and predictable, it maybe would've been successful enough to spawn the planned franchise it was supposed to start.


Silent Hill

There are certainly way better horror movies than Silent Hill, yet there are very few (if any) video game based live-action movies that represent such a great blend of truth to the source material and own ideas than director Christophe Gans' 2006 movie Silent Hill.
While the movie's main storyline is mostly an adaptation of the one from the Playstation 1 original game from 1999, the movie adaptation also mixes in various aspects and elements of other Silent Hill games. Yet (with only one or two exceptions) all of those incorporated elements from the video game sequels and new ideas, like a female protagonist instead of a male one, are utilized very effectively in order to elevate the movie's own core themes like mother's love, manic religious cults and parallel dimensions.
Furthermore, it doesn't hurt that many scenes in the movie come off as obvious reenactments of certain memorable moments from the original game. Complete with very detailed recreations of the foggy and mysterious Silent Hill atmosphere, this 2006 movie is despite its good share of own ideas one of the most faithful video game movie adaptations to date.

In the end, Silent Hill surely won't be one of the best horror movies you'll see and surely playing the Silent Hill games (especially 1 and 2) will be a much scarier experience in the end, yet as of now, this is the video game based live-action movie to beat.   

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