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The 41 Best and Worst Video Game Movies, Ranked

From Uwe Boll’s many efforts to Detective Pikachu and beyond, we run down the list of the best and worst video game movies ever.
Video Game Movies Ranked
By  · Published on June 27th, 2021

The universe is vast and filled with many mysteries, but one unanswered question sits atop them all — why is it apparently so damn difficult to make great movies adapted from video games? Numerous filmmakers, studios, and talents have tried, but the results are rarely anything worth getting excited about.

My own theory rests with the video games themselves. While there are exceptions, the vast majority of video games being adapted for the screen just don’t have a feature-worthy narrative — one dense enough to justify a full-length movie — meaning screenwriters are tasked with building their own story or ignoring it all together while still ticking off a checklist of reference points to the game itself. It’s a recipe typically doomed to fail, but a lack of great video game adaptations still leaves room for fun ones. It’s in that spirit that we’ve decided to rank them from the abysmal to the entertaining, but first a couple of quick qualifiers.

For the sake of our own sanity, we’re limiting the list to live-action films that received a theatrical release in the US. We may expand the list at a later date to include direct-to-video films, DTV sequels, animated movies, and/or international releases, but for now, we’re sticking with the 41 films below. We’re also sticking with films actually based on a game, so no movies that simply feel like video games (Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Gamer) have made the cut. Keep reading to see and wholly agree with our ranked list of video game adaptations!

The Best and Worst Video Game Movies, a ranked list:

41. Dead Trigger (2017)

Dead Trigger

Color me surprised, but it turns out the worst video game adaptation on our list isn’t directed by Uwe Boll. Instead, it’s this cheaply made and deadly dull zombie flick starring a tired Dolph Lundgren as a military man leading a doomed mission. Bad acting, CG blood/muzzle flash, and a plot that sees the military produce a video game in the hopes of finding teens who are good at first-person shooters make for a bad time all around. The premise is dumb on its face for numerous reasons, but it’s worth noting that the game studio withdrew its name from the production. Think about that — no game company ever took their name off an Uwe Boll film. [Rob Hunter]

40. Far Cry (2008)

Far Cry

And just like that, Uwe Boll cracks the list, and it’s with the only one associated with a still-active game franchise. (Far Cry 6 is due to hit consoles later this year starring Giancarlo Esposito.) Til Schweiger takes the lead on what amounts to an island-set action film with disappointing action (but lots of explosions), and while some mutated threats are introduced they never morph into anything resembling fun. Perhaps unsurprisingly, while the games are well known for their large, immersive worlds, the film feels small and repetitive in its visuals and locales. [Rob Hunter]

39. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)

In The Name Of The King A Dungeon Siege Tale

Like Bloodrayne below, this Uwe Boll feature sees the filmmaker deliver a period piece set in ye olde times, but unlike that other film, this one is rated PG-13. That means In the Name of the King is unable to indulge in the seedier side of things from bloodletting to adult shenanigans, and without them, Boll is even more neutered than usual. The cast is nice under ordinary circumstances as Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Ron Perlman, Matthew Lillard, Ray Liotta, and Burt Reynolds are all talented, charismatic actors, but in Boll’s malformed and talentless hands they simply utter some bad dialogue, collect their paycheck, and peace out. Viewers should follow their lead. [Rob Hunter]

38. Alone in the Dark (2005)

Alone In The Dark

Alone in the Dark is an early 90s video game that is both awesome and a clear precursor to the likes of Resident Evil, and it deserved a lot better than this snoozefest. The film’s issues start with an opening text crawl that’s so long that by the time it ends you’ve forgotten how it started. From there we get a miscast Christian Slater — he can do action well enough, but as a grizzled investigator he whiffs it — and a woefully out of place Tara Reid as an archeologist. Weak acting, rough writing trying to build an unnecessarily convoluted world, sketchy CG, and a whole lot of z’s make this an insult to fans of the game (and to viewers in general if we’re being honest). The only real surprise here is learning that the film somehow cost $20 million. [Rob Hunter]

37. BloodRayne (2008)


Ranking Uwe Boll movies quickly becomes an exercise in futility as you’re basically pretending one pile of excrement is more or less odious than the next. Is that cruel? Maybe, but I had to watch these turds and earned the right to call ’em as I see ’em. This vampire-themed period piece is as low-rent as you’re expecting, but what lifts it above the previous two Boll entries is the supporting cast of actors who apparently couldn’t say no to $50 and a free trip to Romania. Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez, Geraldine Chaplin, Udo Kier, Ben Kingsley, Billy Zane, Michael Paré, freaking Meat Loaf… what a cast! Lead Kristanna Loken went from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines to this and somehow lost all her action chops in the process. Anyway, come for Meat Loaf’s den of sin and bloodshed, but good luck finding any other scenes worth a damn here. [Rob Hunter]

36. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

Mortal Kombat Annihilation

On the one hand, this sequel to the 1995 feature (further down the list) hews even closer to the video game aesthetic and deserves some points for that. But, and this is important, it also needs to work as a movie, and that’s something this stew of bad visual effects, laughable dialogue, and nonsensical setups can’t quite manage. Fans of the game will undoubtedly still find enough to enjoy here as the character roster is big, the fights are plentiful (albeit underwhelming), and Raiden gets a haircut, but it’s ultimately a fairly forgettable experience. [Rob Hunter]

35. House of the Dead (2003)

House Of The Dead

Uwe Boll strikes again, for the first time! That makes no sense, but hell, neither do Boll films. House of the Dead is actually Boll’s first stab at the video game adaptation game, but while it’s expectedly terrible I’d argue that it’s at least rarely boring? From the blood squibs and exploding heads to the zombies that jump around and use weapons to the nonsensical insertion of clips from the game itself — terribly low-res graphics and all — it’s never truly dull. That third-act attack wave goes on forever, is endlessly silly, and features camerawork meant to ape the games and The Matrix. One guy gets a scar on his cheek and holds a pity party referring to himself as the Elephant Man. Anyway, file this one under entertainingly bad. [Rob Hunter]

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

Prince Of Persia Sands Of Time

There’s really no excuse for a film with this budget — $200 million — to land so close to the bottom of the list, and yet, here we are. The game is a fun, action-heavy romp that leans heavily into parkour-like antics in pursuit of treasure, bad guys, and more, but while the film technically follows suit it does so in an unimpressive and insulting fashion. The CG effects are dodgy which in turn hurts some of the action as actor’s faces are added to those actually doing the stunts and green screen backdrops pop up pretty consistently. The bigger issue, though, is the whitewashing of its cast. It’s never a good look, but while movies got away with it decades ago a big-budget film about Persians in 2010 with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead? Come the fuck on. Gemma Arterton, Toby Kebbell, and Richard Coyle as his fellow Persians only add to the shame of it all. [Rob Hunter]

33. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

Resident Evil Final Chapter

Kudos to Resident Evil‘s sixth film in calling itself The Final Chapter and sticking to that promise. (A new Resident Evil film is arriving later this year, but it’s a fresh take on the game without Milla Jovovich.) Unfortunately, that ends the plusses of this final franchise entry as writer/director Paul WS Anderson seemingly lost all sense of style and visual talent during its production. A large chunk of it, possibly the majority of the film, plays out in under-lit darkness — the better to hide unimpressive CG no doubt. Worse, though, is a return to the editing antics of Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Action scenes are sliced and diced with abandon turning set-pieces and fights into a clusterfuck of quarter-second images, and it’s as unattractive as it is unimpressive. It leaves the film with nothing of visual note, and while some closure is finally offered to Alice it’s not enough of a final reward for this long haul. [Rob Hunter]

32. Max Payne (2008)

Max Payne

Like Alone in the Dark above, Max Payne was a game that absolutely kicked ass back in the day meaning an adaptation was always going to be a risky endeavor for big fans like myself. While this John Moore-directed action flick is noticeably better than that Uwe Boll outing, though, it’s still a stinker. Part of the problem rests with the one-note lead as Mark Wahlberg had yet to discover a personality in his performances, but the bigger issue is that for a film adapting an adrenaline-fueled action game this is a pretty dull affair. The final twenty minutes explode with gunfire and action fun but getting there is a slog filled with poorly written dialogue, flat characters, and some laughable moodiness. [Rob Hunter]

31. Postal (2007)


Postal is undoubtedly one of director Uwe Boll’s most notorious films — billed as a truly mindless descent into violent perversions, trolling geopolitical satire, and gross-out humor. And to the film’s credit, its self-awareness is its greatest and probably only strength. Everything else is absolute trash that was rightly and overwhelmingly ignored by audiences at the time (and in perpetuity). [Neil Miller]

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.