Video game films have a reputation for being awful, not unwarranted I must say with examples such as Super Mario Bros, Alone In The Dark and Assassin’s Creed. There are some dumb-but-fun ones like the Resident Evil franchise and the Angelina Jolie versions of Tomb Raider. But here are three films that I feel are actually good (but still flawed) regardless of being based on video games.
Tomb Raider (2018)
I haven’t played the 2013 reboot this is based on, but I’ve played the original games, and this film felt like a great origin story for the Lara Croft that I played. Alicia Vikander brings her to life wonderfully, making her likeable and relatable.
One of the things I remember most about the games were the tough challenges and dangers she faced, and that was well depicted in this film. Any time Lara was in danger you feel that fear and when she gets injured you feel her pain. As fun as the Jolie films are, they don’t have those same 'high stakes' feeling this film does.
The action is fantastic, and in particular the rusty aeroplane over the waterfall was intense, as well as the boat scene, and during the third act when we make it to the tomb.
Some of Lara’s decisions in the first act are quite dumb, but luckily she does develop as the film goes on. I also wasn’t keen on the plot twist halfway through and as much as I love the final scene it was definitely forced in for fan service.
Overall it’s a fun adventure with a well-developed heroine and great action scenes.
Silent Hill (2006)
While I’m familiar with the games on which Silent Hill is based, I haven’t actually played them. This is however an effective horror film, and it has a great atmosphere with an amazing score.
There are plenty of scares that rely on suspense rather than cheap jump scares. The visuals are fantastic; the monsters are brilliantly designed (Pyramid Head, Armless Man, Grey Children) with practical effects and CGI that has aged well. Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Deborah Kara Unger, Alice Krige and Jodelle Ferland all deliver strong performances in their roles.
The first 15 minutes are pretty annoying with characters doing really stupid things, and Sean Bean’s subplot is pointless, something that could have been easily cut, and there’s an overly expositional moment that feels just like a cutscene. Overall, however, it’s a visually stunning horror experience with great performances and a mystery that keeps you on edge.
Mortal Kombat (1995)
Despite being based on bloody violent games, this film adaptation removes the gore to make it appropriate for a general audience. It makes up for the lack of gore with great fight scenes with very well done choreography. Add in a great theme, exotic locations, great cinematography and a sense of humour then you have an entertaining film that is faithful to the game.
Great fight sequences are als delivered: Johnny Vs. Scorpion, Liu Vs. Reptile, the Trio Vs. Ninjas. The characters are translated well from the game and are entertaining to follow; not the best cast of actors but they all fit the roles nicely.
This film is based on the first two games, mainly the first with elements of the second sprinkled in for Acts 1 and 2, while Act 3 is mainly based on the second. Admittedly there are some incredibly forced plot elements to get there (Sonya’s kidnapping). Some of the CGI hasn’t aged well either, however the practical effects are still great and is overall beautiful.
Mortal Kombat it a highly entertaining fantasy action film with great fight sequences and fun characters.
These are some of my favourite movies based on video games. Which would make your list of top picks?
By Jack Parish