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The 5 worst movies based on video games

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Movies based on video games have a habit of being really, really terrible. So, will Pixels be any different?

With summer blockbuster season fast approaching, the superheroes of The Avengers: Age of Ultron are set to be pitted against the dinosaurs of Jurassic World for box office glory. That’s not a battle we’d advise getting in the middle of, but, ignoring our best warnings, a new challenger from Sony Pictures has entered the fray.

The trailer for Pixels was released last week and did better than anyone could possibly have expected, smashing the studio’s 24-hour viewing records with an estimated 34.4 million views. The movie stars Adam Sandler alongside giant versions of your favorite video game characters, only they’re not exactly how you remember them. You see, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger and Qbert are among a host of gaming characters being controlled by an evil alien race, and they can be seen tearing through the streets of a major metropolis, laying its buildings, vehicles and residents to waste in the process. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to us either, but that’s sort of the beauty of it.

Despite the popularity of the Pixels trailer (below), viewers are split on whether the movie looks really fun, or really, really terrible. If it helps to make up your mind, movies based on video games have a habit of being the latter. Need a reminder? Read on for some of the worst offenders in this often disastrous sub genre…

The 5 worst movies based on video games

5. Super Mario Bros.

A Bad Cinema Club favorite, we were almost reluctant to include the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie. Sure, it’s objectively terrible, but it’s hard not to have a soft spot for the mustachioed Bob Hoskins as he bumbles about in a red boilersuit in this 90s cult classic. The thing is, when it comes to thinking about terrible movies based on video games, this one is difficult to ignore. As well as being a tremendous flop made for what at the time was an enormous budget, Super Mario Bros. was the first movie to be adapted from a Nintendo game. If you were being unkind, you might then argue that it’s partly to blame for the cinematic dreck that followed.

4. Resident Evil: Apocalypse

The main problem with the Resident Evil movies is that, really, they should have been easy work. The horror gaming franchise is already cinematic and full of frights, but in the conversion to celluloid it was reduced to by-the-numbers action fodder. Where the first Resident Evil movie was just mediocre, Apocalypse was a disaster. The biggest crime here, though, is the missed opportunity.

3. DOOM

DOOM was always likely to end up with a movie adaptation – after all, it’s the game that time refuses to forget – and while we never expected a film of great subtlety, this one shattered all expectations of badness. Like Resident Evil before it, DOOM never manages to capture the essence of the game that inspired it, and it never really feels like it’s set on Mars. The lifeless script and fairly nonsensical plot don’t do it any favors, either.

2. Street Fighter

When you think about all of the detailed, narrative-led video games out there, Street Fighter seems like an odd choice for a movie adaptation. Sure, you’re guaranteed some decent fight scenes, but that doesn’t make for as good a movie as it does a video game. Aside from the often hilariously awful editing, you’re left wondering whether it was really necessary to include ALL of Street Fighter’s characters; the result is a cluttered screen and lots of completely unexplored plot lines. Sorry, not even Kylie Minogue could save this one.

1. Alone in the Dark

Director Uwe Boll is something of an expert when it comes to terrible movies based on video games, having made BloodRayne, Far Cry and House of the Dead. However, none of those come close to matching the terribleness of Alone in the Dark. The thing about Alone in the Dark is that it’s supposed to be scary, if the name wasn’t a giveaway, but Boll decides to cut through all the tension with loud, boring gun fights. It’s a genuine rarity that anybody onscreen is even left alone in the dark, and the shocking script, hopeless performances (Tara Reid, this is not your finest hour) and woeful direction ensure its place among the worst movies of all time.

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