15 Movies You Forgot Were Based on Video Games

15 Movies You Forgot Were Based on Video Games
Image credit: Legion-Media,, New Line Cinema, Artisan Entertainment, 20th Century Fox

Video game adaptations curse is very real; just ask these filmmakers.

1. Super Mario Bros. (1993)

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If you're of a certain age, you might recall the first-ever live-action video game adaptation, Super Mario Bros. Rated a measly 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, it's an amusing spectacle of bizarre story choices and unintentional hilarity. Instead of the vibrant, whimsical world of the beloved Nintendo game, the movie throws Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) into a grim, dystopian alternate reality where they must save Princess Daisy from a comically over-the-top King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). The film was panned by critics and flopped at the box office, earning only $20.9 million against a $48 million budget. Yet, its peculiarities and the star power of its leads have turned it into a cult classic.

2. Street Fighter (1994)

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At 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, Street Fighter is another early video game movie adaptation that audiences have seemingly erased from their collective memory. Despite featuring an all-star cast led by Jean-Claude Van Damme and the late, great Raul Julia, the film does little to capture the spirit of the classic arcade fighting game. Van Damme's Colonel Guile battles Julia's M. Bison in a plot that feels as disjointed as it does ridiculous. Its box office earnings of $99.4 million may have exceeded its budget, but the film's campy dialogue and over-the-top action sequences did not resonate with critics, earning it a place on the forgotten pile of video game adaptations.

3. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

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With an abysmal 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, the second Mortal Kombat film, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, falls far short of its predecessor's cult success. Trading the first movie's entertainingly cheesy action for an incomprehensible plot, it sees Earth's warriors battling the forces of Outworld in an interdimensional martial arts showdown. The cast, including Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, and Brian Thompson, does what they can with the material, but the film's poor special effects and ham-fisted dialogue make it a far cry from the addictive fun of the original game series. The movie scraped together a global box office of $51.3 million, a significant drop from the first film's haul, making it a sequel many fans choose to ignore.

4. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

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You'd be forgiven for forgetting that this Disney blockbuster was adapted from a video game. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time features Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, and Ben Kingsley in a swashbuckling adventure that merges elements of the game with a typical Hollywood fantasy plot. Despite Gyllenhaal's best parkour attempts, the film was critiqued for its whitewashed casting and narrative inconsistency. It sits at 37% on Rotten Tomatoes but managed to gross $336.4 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing video game adaptation at the time of its release.

5. Max Payne (2008)

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Mark Wahlberg's Max Payne adaptation is another one that slipped through the cracks of cultural memory. The film attempted to bring the grim, noir-like atmosphere of the video game to life, but it largely fell flat. Critics lamented the lack of character depth and compelling narrative, leaving it with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 15%. Despite this, it pulled in $85.4 million at the global box office, over double its budget. It's a gritty tale of revenge that unfortunately didn't translate well from game console to the silver screen.

6. Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)

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In the realm of lesser-known game adaptations, the Silent Hill sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation, is one many would prefer to forget. Based on Konami's spooky survival horror series, the movie struggles to retain the eerie atmosphere of its source material. With a mere 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics took aim at its over-reliance on gory shocks over psychological horror. The plot, which revolves around Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) discovering her true identity, fails to engage despite its promising premise. Even so, it managed to make $52.3 million at the box office, a small profit considering its $20 million budget.

7. Alone in the Dark (2005)

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One of the many video game adaptations from notorious director Uwe Boll, Alone in the Dark, based on the survival horror game series, is genuinely unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Starring Christian Slater and Tara Reid, the film is infamous for its nonsensical plot, shoddy special effects, and appalling dialogue. It's one of the lowest-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes with a shocking 1% and grossed a paltry $10.4 million against its $20 million budget. This cinematic trainwreck is a far cry from the game's tense, atmospheric horror.

8. Doom (2005)

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Based on one of the most influential video games of all time, the Doom movie, starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson and Karl Urban, falls significantly short of its pedigree. Despite a promising setup and an innovative first-person shooter sequence, the movie devolves into a generic monster movie, failing to capture the chaotic fun of the game. It sits at 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics slamming its thin plot and lackluster action scenes. The movie only managed to recoup $55.9 million worldwide against its $60 million budget, making it a forgettable entry in the annals of video game adaptations.

9. House of the Dead (2003)

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Another Uwe Boll masterpiece, House of the Dead, is based on the popular arcade shooter game. The film is known for its awful dialogue, amateurish acting, and laughably bad special effects. Even by the standards of B-movies, it's considered an absolute disaster, boasting a mere 3% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It made only $13.8 million at the box office, hardly a success by any metric. Yet, its sheer ineptitude has given it a certain cult status among fans of so-bad-they're-good movies.

10. BloodRayne (2005)

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The third Uwe Boll movie on this list, BloodRayne, based on the video game series of the same name, is another notable disaster. Despite featuring a surprisingly A-list cast, including Michael Madsen, Ben Kingsley, and Michelle Rodriguez, the movie was panned for its clumsy action scenes, terrible dialogue, and incoherent plot. With a dismal 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a pitiful box office return of $3.6 million against a budget of $25 million, it's one video game adaptation that many viewers have (understandably) expunged from their memories.

11. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

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Despite boasting some of the most impressive computer-generated imagery of its time, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within doesn't really stick in the mind as a game-based movie. This is perhaps because it shares little with its source material beyond the Final Fantasy moniker. The film, featuring the voice talents of Alec Baldwin and Ming-Na Wen, suffered from a convoluted plot and an over-reliance on its visual spectacle. Critics were mixed, resulting in a 44% Rotten Tomatoes score. More damningly, it was a box office bomb, making just $85.1 million against a whopping $137 million budget.

12. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)

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Yet another entry from the infamous Uwe Boll, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, based on the action role-playing game Dungeon Siege, is often overlooked in the realm of video game adaptations. Despite a cast including Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, and Burt Reynolds, the film fell flat with a paltry 4% on Rotten Tomatoes. Its blend of clumsy action scenes, overcooked dialogue, and bewildering plot resulted in a measly box office haul of $13 million, making it a dismal failure against its $60 million budget.

13. Wing Commander (1999)

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The space combat simulator game Wing Commander spawned a 1999 movie adaptation that many have likely forgotten. Despite the game's creator, Chris Roberts, being at the helm, the film received a lukewarm reception due to its hackneyed plot and subpar special effects. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard's charisma couldn't save the film from a dismal 10% Rotten Tomatoes score. Its box office earnings totaled $11.6 million, a far cry from its $30 million budget.

14. Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

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Based on the popular stealth video game series, Hitman: Agent 47 is an action thriller that many may have forgotten had its origins in the gaming world. Despite a few stylish action sequences, the movie failed to deliver the complex narrative and nuanced character of its source material. Critics slammed its thin plot and lack of character development, leaving it with a 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. It managed to score $82.3 million at the box office, but largely remains a blip on the radar of video game adaptations.

15. Postal (2007)

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Our final entry is – surprise, surprise – another Uwe Boll gem, Postal. Based on the darkly humorous, controversial game, the film sought to capture its anarchic spirit but ended up as a critically reviled mess. The film's crude humor and shock tactics earned it a 9% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it only made $146,741 at the box office, making it one of the least successful video game adaptations ever.