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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Game on or Game over? Five video games that were made into movies

Here are some of the lows and lows to date, along with just how bad critics thought they were

Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo in Super Mario Bros. Courtesy Buena Vista Pictures
Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo in Super Mario Bros. Courtesy Buena Vista Pictures

Each time a new videogame adaptation lands in cinemas, it’s become something of a tradition to wonder aloud whether this will finally be the one that’s watchable. Will Lara Croft be the one to finally win over audiences and critics? In the meantime, here are some of the lows and lows to date, along with just how bad critics thought they were, courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer:

Super Mario Bros (Rocky Morton, 1993)

(See main picture) The original and, well, the original. This first ever attempt at turning a video game into celluloid looked promising on paper: a cast including Bob Hoskins and Denis Hopper. Actually, in fairness that’s the only promising part. The rest of the set up involved dinosaurs, inter-dimensional lost princesses, sentient fungus and a plumbing protection racket, and is just as nonsensical as it sounds. RT verdict: 15%

Tekken (Dwight H Little, 2009)

Jon Foo and Roger Huerta in Tekken. Courtesy Anchor Bay Entertainment
Jon Foo and Roger Huerta in Tekken. Courtesy Anchor Bay Entertainment

An absolute nadir among a list of nadirs, Little’s Tekken adaptation achieved the unenviable feat of garnering an absolute zero per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. That means not a single RT-approved critic thought it was even a little bit tolerable. It’s the lowest score of any of the, without exception, low-scoring adaptations to date. Mercifully, after the movie bombed in cinemas in Japan, Singapore and The Philippines, Western audiences were spared and the abomination was quietly shifted straight to DVD. The plot? People fight. RT Verdict: 0%

Warcraft (Duncan Jones, 2016)

Orc chieftain Durotan leads his Frostwolf Clan alongside his second-in-command, Orgrim in Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures’ Warcraft. Courtesy Legendary Pictures
Orc chieftain Durotan leads his Frostwolf Clan alongside his second-in-command, Orgrim in Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures’ Warcraft. Courtesy Legendary Pictures

The highest-budgeted adaptation to date with a $160M price tag, Warcraft sought to cash in on the enduring popularity of Blizzard Entertainment’s orcs and elves fantasy gaming series set in the land of Azaroth. There’s no shortage of quality on-screen fantasy entertainment – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Game of Thrones to name but two. Both of those, however, were based on the wild imaginations of two supremely talented writers in JR Tolkien and George R Martin. Warcraft is based on a strategy game where online players send each other’s’ armies to defeat each other in cyberspace. Exactly. RT Verdict: 28%

Assassin’s Creed (Justin Kurzel, 2016)

Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed Courtesy 20th Century Fox
Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed Courtesy 20th Century Fox

This was supposed to be the one. The great white hope. The movie that finally put to bed the curse of the videogame movie. Respected Macbeth director Kurzel took the helm, the can-do-no-wrong Michael Fassbender the lead, the likes of Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling added extra credibility in supporting roles, surely it couldn’t go wrong? Of course it could. The convoluted, inter-historical, medieval religious conspiracy-laden plot makes Dan Brown look well-researched and conceivable, and the whole thing is delivered as if the director and cast are just as bored as we are. On the plus side, it looks quite nice. RT Verdict: 18%

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Paul WS Andesron, 2017)

Milla Jovovich stars in Screen Gems' Resident Evil
Milla Jovovich stars in Screen Gems' Resident Evil

The most recent adaptation, released just two months ago, and intriguingly the highest ranking adaptation on Rotten Tomatoes to date. Is this a good omen for Tomb Raider? Are things finally looking up this year? Admittedly, Resident Evil is unlikely to be troubling the Oscars next year with its decidedly ordinary 36% RT score, but the zombie-slaying series has generally made a habit of delivering just about watchable movies that perform surprisingly well at the box office on a modest budget. Probably the best of a bad bunch. RT Verdict: 36%