Movies Based On Video Games: Why They Usually Fail

Movies based on video games usually never do well. Even the sequels to the few that actually succeed usually end up heaping piles of disappointment.

Only one has ever come close to breaking the trend, and that was Resident Evil. Sadly, the Resident Evil franchise seemed to have lost track of its roots after the second film and turned what should have been a horror franchise into a science fiction popcorn movie. After the third one, Resident Evil just seemed to keep going in spite of how bad it had become. It could be said that the transition to 3D was the death of any coherent storyline in the franchise.

The fact of the matter is, movies based on video games usually have little to no story to actually follow. Look at Super Mario Bros. and try to figure out where they went wrong. The game itself made little to no sense at all, and the idea of trying to make a movie faithful to that is just doomed to failure.

Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat were both examples of decent first attempts, but their sequels were obvious attempts to cash in on the success of what was really a lucky break. Tomb Raider really didn’t need a sequel, but they made one anyway, and the story was so scatterbrained that it forgot it should have been over in about fifteen minutes. Mortal Kombat needed a sequel to finish it, but the acting and effects were so bad that the sequel ended up being named one of the worst films of all time. The first Mortal Kombat mostly succeeded because it took its plot directly from the Bruce Lee film Enter The Dragon.

Movies based on video games practically have nothing to work with plot-wise on the most part. Think about it. The only video games we know of that people actually play for the stories are the role-playing variety, and those usually take months to finish if they’re well made. However, once again, let’s break down what role-playing game storylines consist of. There is a main background story that moves along slowly, and several side-quests that in many cases are simply “bring me some of what my neighbor has and I’ll give you a hint about what to do next.” If a movie was filled with side characters that do nothing but stand in place and ask for favors, it would be extremely boring and stupid.

The upcoming Need For Speed movie might have something going for it, as race movies usually don’t have much of a plot to begin with. That’s why the Fast And The Furious movies are so popular. They are made by people who know you don’t need to compete with Gone With The Wind or Citizen Kane, because the point is to entertain the audience with fast driving. However, we have seen both ends of this spectrum as well: Gone In 60 Seconds and Red Line are a prime example. One is an enjoyable romp with a touching story about a family. The other is just a big mish-mash of clichés and terrible acting.

Movies based on video games are doomed to fail most of the time because the story really isn’t there in a video game to supply an intelligent movie. That, or the story moves so slowly that it would bore anyone trying to sit through it in a theater.

Are there any movies based on video games that you believe could break the mold?