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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

30. Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

Hitman Agent

The Hitman games are terrifically intricate games that cut players loose into a small, open world with only one goal — kill the target by any means necessary. The 2007 adaptation is further down the list where it lands as a solid enough action film with two enjoyable leads, but this reboot with Rupert Friend taking over for Timothy Olyphant feels even further from the source material. Our bald, bar-coded killer almost takes a backseat to the young woman he’s helping, and Friend just doesn’t have the gravitas or charisma to make an emotionless man compelling. There are some minor action beats here that might raise your pulse, but it should be far from your first choice on any given night. [Rob Hunter]

29. Wing Commander (1999)

Wing Commander

This late 90s slice of space-set action is a rarity on this list, if not actually unique, in that it’s written and directed by the actual game designer. Chris Roberts found real success with the game company Origin Systems (home to my own favorites Autoduel and Ultima) and his popular series Wing Commander. The games are mostly about flight, combat, and intergalactic interactions, and Roberts keeps the film equally straightforward even if it is CW’d with the likes of Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard. The problem comes down to money and creativity — in that there isn’t really enough of either on display here. The film is loaded with visual effects, and while they’re okay they’re never cool or memorable. And the story, characters, and action beats, while competent, are equally forgettable. The games are still great tho! [Rob Hunter]

28. Tekken (2010)

Tekken Movie

As is apparently mandated in movie bylaws, this adaptation of the popular fighting game once again takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society. The bland but physically talented Jon Foo stars as Jin, a young man skirting the law who heads into the Iron Fist ring seeking revenge. Other characters from the game are here, as expected, but none come with much in the way of real flair… well, aside from Christie Monteiro’s outfit showing off her ass cleavage which is a definite choice by the costume department. It all comes down to the quality of the fights, and this film just can’t deliver as director Dwight Little cuts the action to ribbons through the editing. It’s also a bit anticlimactic as the tournament is cut short with several of the fighters simply disappearing. It’s a shame as the movie looks good, but it suffers in the execution. [Rob Hunter]

27. Super Mario Bros. (1993)

Super Mario Bros Movie

Upon being asked, years after its release, to defend this film, producer Roland Joffé stated proudly that he believed it to be, “an interesting and rich artifact and has earned its place.” ‘Artifact’ does feel like the correct word for describing what Super Mario Bros. is in the context of the best and worst video game movies. It was the first live-action Hollywood adaptation of a video game. It was also the first adaptation of a game by people who didn’t seem to have a good feel for what the game interesting. And yet, it is so easy to be charmed by John Leguizamo, Bob Hoskins, and their multi-dimensional adventure. Super Mario Bros. is a film that exists in the dead center of the spectrum between good and bad — it simply is. And we can appreciate it as the original artifact of the genre. [Neil Miller]

26. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life (2003)

Lara Croft Tomb Raider Cradle Of Life

You’d be forgiven for having trouble remembering the differences between the two Angelina Jolie-led Lara Croft movies from the early 2000s, so here are some important notes about The Cradle of Life, the second and final entry — this is the one in which Jolie’s Croft teams up with a smarmy, pre-300 Gerard Butler on a quest to find and open Pandora’s Box. It’s also the one in which Jolie parachutes into a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon commercial mid-movie. Even the director’s chair swap from Simon West to Jan de Bont — who notoriously did not enjoy his experience on the film, citing heavy meddling from both the studio and the video game creators — couldn’t do enough to elevate bad special effects and an abundance of poorly choreographed action sequences. It was rightfully panned by critics and received a decidedly not-great B- Cinemascore from audiences, none of whom were impressed by the film’s decision to drop Ciarán Hinds into a vat of acid — which, if we’re being honest, might’ve been its most fun choice. [Neil Miller]

25. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Resident Evil Apocalypse

The second film in the franchise once again follows a formula that leaves it feeling as if very little is accomplished from beginning to end, but it still manages some minor fun. Director Alexander Witt delivers some big, gloriously silly action beats, and the villainous Nemesis is cool in a “Rawhead Rex with automatic weapons” kind of way (it should be noted that I am a big fan of Rawhead Rex), but hoo boy do the editing and speed-ramping annoy far more often than they thrill. They turn the action scenes into ugly distractions that fail to impress either as stunts or visuals. [Rob Hunter]

24. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil Afterlife

Film four in the popular series delivers the expected ninety minutes of ridiculous action/sci-fi/horror, but the fun feels a bit muted for a few reasons. Chief among them is a series low point in the quality of visual effects as far too much of it looks pretty damn shoddy. The main villain, meanwhile, looks like a bland reject from The Matrix, and his generic persona cuts the menace in numerous ways. The story itself sees Alice — a still great Milla Jovovich — saddled with a mostly uncharismatic crew of sidekicks en route to yet another attempt to corral survivors and avoid Umbrella’s clutches. The only reason this entry edges out Apocalypse is that it keeps its editing under control. [Rob Hunter]

23. Mortal Kombat (1995)

Mortal Kombat

Nostalgia will probably lead many to lift this mid 90s time capsule higher on the ranking but take a step back to look at it and you’ll see it lands right where it belongs. Director Paul WS Anderson’s first crack at a video game adaptation shows off his strengths in its production design, costumes, and presentation, and there’s no denying that it commits to the game’s memorable aesthetics. From the music to the dialogue snippets, this is a movie that knows it’s based on a 16-bit arcade game. Unfortunately, for a game focused on fights the actual fight action here is pretty weak. On the plus side? Practical effects used to bring the four-armed Goro to life are still pretty cool. [Rob Hunter]

22. Street Fighter (1994)

Street Fighter

One common practice among the pop-culture punditry ranks these days is the reclaiming of narratives around films that were decisively panned in their day. And in 1994’s Street Fighter, we find a candidate ripe for the picking. 13% on Rotten Tomatoes. A sub-$7 million dollar opening weekend (on Christmas weekend ’94!) Street Fighter is one of cinema’s all-time flops. And yet, it does feature some brilliant over-the-top moments from Raul Julia (RIP) as M. Bison and some high-kickery from Jean-Claude Van Damme in his prime. It’s almost watchable, even now. Almost. My recommendation would be to enjoy this clip featuring the two aforementioned stars doing… well, whatever it is they were doing, and then call it a day. The rest of the film is a gaudy mess and everything from the visual effects to the humor has not aged well at all. [Neil Miller]

21. Doom (2005)


Like many movies on this list, Doom is based on a simple, one-note game. In this instance, it’s a first-person shooter about space Marines fighting demon monsters from hell. That’s great for an FPS experience, but as a movie, it leaves a lot of room for writers Dave Callaham and Wesley Strick to play around in for both better and worse. Most of the film’s plotting falls into the latter camp, but I’d argue that making the lead Marine — ostensibly the big hero game-players embodied for years on consoles — into a trigger-happy, power-hungry madman makes for an interesting little commentary. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak’s first stab at a video game adaptation is the weaker of his two, but some fun practical effects and the inclusion of a five-minute first-person POV action sequence have to count for something. [Rob Hunter]

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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.