- There are many movies inspired by video games out there and a lot of them have not been well-received by critics.
- A few video-game films have been praised by critics, including “Rampage” (2018), “The Angry Birds Movie 2” (2019), “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020), and “Detective Pikachu” (2019).
- On the other hand, critics panned movies like “Street Fighter” (1994) and “Assassin’s Creed” (2016).
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Video-game film adaptations have long been derided by critics for being too noisy, violent, or nonsensical, but in the past few decades, a select number of films have set themselves apart from the rest.
Here are some popular movies based on video games, ranked by critical scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
It’s worth noting that the critic scores were up to date as of publication but are subject to change.
Many were dumbfounded by the lacklustre “Street Fighter” (1994).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 11%
Summary: The Capcom arcade fighting game is brought to life in this action-packed adaptation starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, and Ming-Na Wen.
The film follows a military commander (Van Damme) as he takes a fight against a malevolent dictator into his own hands.
“While de Souza’s arrested development makes him a likely suspect to adapt a video game for movies, the result … is an empty exercise in hyper-stimulation,” wrote film critic Jeff Shannon for the Seattle Times. “Or, to put it bluntly, a complete waste of time.”
Some critics said that “Assassin’s Creed” (2016) suffered from an overstuffed plot.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 18%
Summary: Based on the Ubisoft video-game franchise, “Assassin’s Creed” stars Michael Fassbender as Callum Lynch, a man who is able to access his genetic memories in order to usurp a secret guild of assassins that still exists today.
“‘Assassin’s Creed’ is not the top-to-bottom disaster some of my peers have painted it as, nor is it bonkers enough to suggest a forthcoming critical re-evaluation,” wrote film critic Scott Wampler for Birth, Movies, Death. “Either of those things would have been preferable to something this dour and repetitive.”
Some reviewers felt that “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (2001) was an incoherent mess.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 20%
Summary: Based on the Sega and PlayStation game of the same name, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” follows the titular heroine (Angelina Jolie) as she recovers lost artifacts and goes head to head with sinister members of the Illuminati.
In his Rolling Stone review, Peter Travers wrote: “In the department of numbing ineptitude, the pacing runs a neck-and-neck race with the dialogue.”
Some critics said “Need for Speed” (2014) was stale and slow-moving.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 23%
Summary: Adapted from the popular Electronic Arts racing game, “Need for Speed” stars Aaron Paul as a working-class mechanic who must race for his life when a NASCAR driver falsely accuses him of manslaughter.
“Neither fast nor furious, ‘Need For Speed’ isn’t a car crash,” wrote film reviewer Christopher Preston for One Room With A View. “It’s a $US66 million pile-up, with no survivors.”
Some critics said the schmaltz-filled “Super Mario Bros” (1993) lacked substance.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 23%
Summary: Loosely based on the iconic platformer arcade game, “Super Mario Bros.” follows Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) as they attempt to rescue a princess from the dastardly grip of a reptilian villain who lurks in the sewers beneath Manhattan.
Los Angeles Times critic Michael Wilmington reviewed the film in 1993 and wrote, “The movie knocks your eyes out, at the same time it dulls the mind’s eye. Ultimately, it’s one more stop in the arcade, beckoning, waiting to soak up time and money.”
Despite its impressive visuals, “Warcraft” (2016) was dubbed a waste.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 28%
Summary: Adapted from the global phenomena “World of Warcraft,” this movie centres around an orc shaman who opens up a portal to the human realm and threatens to attack humanity with a powerful army.
“All sorts of people are calling themselves nerds nowadays, but [‘Warcraft’] supplies an easy test,” wrote critic Jake Wilson for The Age. “If you can sit through this bombastic epic fantasy – and can give a coherent plot synopsis afterwards – then you surely deserve the title.”
“Silent Hill” (2006) was derided for being senseless.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 31%
Summary: Based on the chilling horror game made for PlayStation, “Silent Hill” follows a family who find themselves transported to the isolated town of Silent Hill, where residents battle a growing darkness.
“There are worse adaptations of video games out there,” wrote film critic Adam Smith for Radio Times. “But this one will probably leave the PlayStation generation itching for their consoles.”
“Resident Evil” (2002) was dragged as a gory schlock-fest.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 36%
Summary: Adapted from Capcom’s best-selling video-game franchise, “Resident Evil” would become a six-film series centering around Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her fight against an evil corporation and its zombie agenda.
“An already thin story boils down to surviving invaders seeking an existent anti-virus,” wrote Mike Clark for USA Today. “If only there were one for this kind of movie.”
Some found “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2010) shallow yet enjoyable.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 37%
Summary: Based on the action-adventure game series that follows the trials of a prince, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Dastan, a prince gifted with a dagger than can turn back time.
“As usual, the talent in Prince of Persia is generally top notch – from the cinematographer John Seale to parkour expert David Belle,” wrote New York Times critic Manohla Dargis. “But the ingredients have been masticated so heavily the results are mush.”
Critics and audiences mostly panned “The Angry Birds Movie” (2016).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 43%
Summary: Based on the puzzle game developed by Rovio Entertainment, “The Angry Birds Movie” follows birds and pigs as they unite to battle a common enemy.
“There are far worse video game adaptations than ‘The Angry Birds Movie,’ but it commits the cardinal sin of animated films: it treats its young audience as an excuse for laziness,” wrote critic Phil W. Bayles of One Room With A View.
Critics felt that “Mortal Kombat” (1995) was thin on plot but had plenty of fan-service.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%
Summary: Based on the fantasy fighting game of the same name, the action-adventure film “Mortal Kombat” pits three reluctant fighters against deadly enemies in a martial-arts tournament for the ages.
“The guys in the recording studio who made the ‘ooofff! augghhhh!’ sounds are the ones who really had all the fun,” reviewer Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote for Entertainment Weekly.
Some critics called “Rampage” (2018) brainless, harmless fun.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 51%
Summary: Very loosely adapted from the 1986 Bally Midway arcade game, “Rampage” stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Davis Okoye, a primatologist who is suddenly caught in a race against time to stop giant, mutated animals from destroying cities across the nation.
“‘Rampage’ was never going to be a movie one would take seriously, and director [Brad] Peyton and the unstoppable charisma that is the [Dwayne] Johnson know their brand and how to work it accordingly,” wrote film critic Peter Grey for This is Film.
Most critics appreciated “Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%
Summary: Based on the Sega video-game franchise of the same name, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is a live-action comedy about super-fast blue hedgehog Sonic (Ben Schwartz) as he adjusts to life on Earth while also trying to take down a villain.
“Sonic the Hedgehog is a genuinely delightful and fun adventure for all ages,” wrote critic Nicolás Delgadillo for Cultured Vultures.
Critics seemed to enjoy “Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%
Summary: Based on the beloved “Pokémon” anime and video-game series, “Detective Pikachu” takes place in a world where humans and Pokémon work side by side.
When Tim (Justice Smith) is told that his detective father is presumed dead, his dad’s Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) turns up out of the blue to aid him in solving his disappearance.
“There’s something admirable about a film that isn’t afraid to have some fun with a property so established – and beloved – by its core audience,” wrote critic Vincent Acovino for NPR.
Critics seemed to enjoy “The Angry Birds Movie 2” (2019).
Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%
Summary: In this sequel film, a new threat puts Bird and Pig Island in danger and an unlikely group must team up to keep themselves and their friends safe.
“The movie, directed by Thurop Van Orman, reminds us that finding a formula to appeal to both kids and parents for 90-odd minutes isn’t rocket science,” wrote critic Jocelyn Noveck for Associated Press.