Game Movies: A Retrospective (Part 1)

It's Saturday, and you know what that means! It's time for a special post, and as promised today I will be discussing movies based on games! I was originally going to do the top 7 worst movies based on video games, but there were just so many bad movies that I decided I would break it up by decade. There are so few examples of good video game movies that I will probably do a post devoted just to those at some point in the future. So here is in order, the top 5 worst video game movies of the 1990s.


John Leguizamo!
#5) Super Mario Bros(1993): Yes, you heard it here boys and girls! It's a blast! I assume that what that person meant was that the movie blasted any hope that they had for the future out of their body, leaving them a shuddering husk. All criticism aside, I'm sorry to say this is one of the better movies I'll be talking about in today's post. Like most all movies based on video games, this movie has virtually nothing to do with the Mario Bros. games at all. In the movie makers defense, I wouldn't cite gripping story lines or engrossing characters as strong points of Mario games. We couldn't expect much better than what they produced, a somewhat goofy and not all that interesting story about two plumber brothers who go to another world (this will be a pretty common theme) where lizard people who look just like regular people, are struggling to survive in a world without resources. The evil ruler of this world, King Koopa, is trying to merge the worlds again. Luigi and Mario follow Daisy, who is the princess, to the world, and ultimately stop Koopa blah blah the end. It's not good, but its easy to follow, has moments of entertainment if only for its ridiculousness, and it's only an hour and a half long. I actually found it sort of entertaining in a campy way, but you'll find precious few moments like that in the upcoming movies I'll be talking about. 

Something clearly broke loose.

#4)Wing Commander(1999): Starring Freddy Prinze Jr., this movie was an adaptation of the popular series of space combat simulators, which frankly weren't really that popular or relevant by the time this movie was made. Freddy Prinze plays a cocky young pilot who blah blah it's not interesting. The plot is by the numbers space opera, with an undermanned and outgunned group of humans fighting to thwart the attacks of the cat-like Kilrathi. Despite the fact that this movie came out in the same year as The Matrix, the visual effects on the table look more like something from around ten years earlier. So that establishes that the movie has neither a)an interesting plot or b) exciting special effects, what does it have? It has serviceable performances from its cast, in particular Ole' Freddy Prinze proves that there is no role too demeaning or ridiculous for him to play absolutely straight. My hat's off to him, because had I been in his position I'd have delivered all of my lines with a look on my face that just said, "who did I piss off to land this job?" It is worth noting that this movie sucked so bad that its director Chris Roberts, never directed another movie again.

I'm going to KICK that somamambitch
 Bison's ASS
#3)Street Fighter(1994): It would be wrong of me to make a list of worst video game movies, and leave out this classic. Starring action star Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile and Raul Julia as M. Bison (that's right, Gomez Adams is the big bad here) this movie proves that there is no rock bottom when it comes to movies. The goal of the director was, as nearly as I could tell, to cram as many characters from the games into the movie as humanly possible (this movie was only about an hour and 40 minutes long). This was an error that the second Mortal Kombat movie would later repeat, among many many others (I'll get to that one). In addition, this movie finds improbable ways to make all these characters kung-fu fight. This is different than in, say, the original Mortal Kombat movie, where there is an actual martial arts tournament going on for the bulk of the film. Worthy stand outs in this movie include the appearance of Australian pop sensation Kylie Minogue as Cammy, and maybe the worst speech ever made in a movie. This movie also features an appearance by Ming-Na (who I mentioned in my review of the Spirits Within, a much much better game movie), who portrays Chun-Li. We will see another portrayal of that character next week, in maybe the worst of all these movies. Maybe.

This movie did annihilate me. Emotionally.
#2)Mortal Kombat: Annihilation(1997): The sequel to the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie, this movie picks up where the last left off, when Shao Khan appears to kill everyone and claim Earthrealm as his own, despite the outcome of the Mortal Kombat tournament. This movie aimed to capitalize on the success of the first. Despite mixed reviews, the original Mortal Kombat grossed incredibly well, netting a total of over 122 million against its modest 18 million dollar budget. Unfortunately for its creators and for us all, the folks behind Mortal Kombat: Annihilation clearly had no idea what made the original enjoyable. That much was apparent to me as soon as the movie started, and they immediately killed Johnny Cage.  That was probably for the best though, because the original actor who portrayed him was not present in this movie. That was the case actually for the entire cast, save the guy who played Liu Kang and the lady who played Kitana. We can safely assume this is because they had literally nothing better to do. This movie features a stupid and boring plot, an avalanche of undeveloped characters who appear only because they were in the games, and the lamest instance of CG battle to have ever graced the silver screen. No I'm serious.

Vomit. Fiercely. Don't. Watch.

#1)Double Dragon(1994):  Now here is a movie that's bad enough that you can really hate it. Featuring an all-star cast of people who should probably know better, Double Dragon is a hyper-kinetic train wreck, that remains both stupid and uninteresting from beginning to end. Two brothers, one played by Scott Wolf (of Party of Five sort of fame I guess) and Mark Dacascos, who you probably know best as the chairman from Iron Chef America. Yeah you read that right. Apparently he made a living during the '90s starring in bottom of the barrel kung-fu movies. This was the bottom most of those. The brothers try to protect a magic medallion from an evil businessman portrayed by Robert Patrick, who you'd think wouldn't have to star in movies like this after having played T-1000 in the second Terminator movie (he apparently chose to because he liked martial arts so much). Notable among the supporting cast is Alyssa Milano, renowned in the 90s for her roles in a variety of sleazy movies and also for the volume of nude pictures of her circulating. Prominent features of this movie included ridiculous costumes, lame fight scenes that looked like cheap imitations of Jackie Chan gags, and some of the worst special effects you are ever likely to see, including those I mentioned above in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. I re-watched this movie for this post, and it was by far the most unpleasant part of my week. Everyone involved should feel ashamed. Also Mark Dacascos is not really the nephew of the original Iron Chef Chairman. What a letdown.

There you have it! If you think the order is a little off, I will say that it was a close competition. Basically all of these movies are bad enough to deserve the #1, but this is my estimation, based on how much they made me wish I was dead while I watched them. Next weekend we will move into the 2000s, and I will demonstrate that things have not gotten better. Quite to the contrary, they are actually going to get worse.
Way Worse.
Tuesday I will resume my regular programming, having sufficiently demonstrated that not all movies involve huge explosions. I just usually like to talk about the ones that do.

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