Super Mario Brothers movie Horror

The Worst Video Game Movies of All Time, Ranked

Hate to break it to you, gang, but (imho) there are no good video game movies. Really, none. It’s like how there are basically no good live-action anime films. There are exceptions, mind you. But do think a live-action One Piece is gonna be good? Neither do I. But while anime live-action hangs on to respectability by the skin of its teeth, video game live-action remains down in the depths of the abyss. And I think it should stay there. So, for the purposes of the list, we’re gonna categorize things as “kinda bad” to “very bad.” But everything on this list is bad, really. So, so bad.

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9. (Kinda bad) The Early ’00s Pokémon Movies

Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu.
(The Pokémon Company)

Okay, so, caveat here: I thought the early Pokémon movies were the shit when I was a kid. When I saw Pokémon: The First Movie in theaters and Ash got turned to stone, and then was healed by the tears of his Pokémon friends, my first grader heart was deeply moved. When Ash had to get the three elemental stones from Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres in Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (to do God knows what for Lugia), I was thrilled. When I saw the Unknown flying out of an interdimensional portal into Entei’s castle in Pokémon 3, my pre-pubescent brain thought it was the best science-fiction I had ever seen.

But sadly, these movies don’t exactly hold up upon rewatch. If anything, the titles should have given it away. The first movie is unimaginatively titled Pokemon: The First Movie and the third movie’s full title is Pokemon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unknown: Entei. It’s basically just You like Pokémon? Here’s a Movie. The Third one. There’s some Unknown (buy all the cards). Then buy an Entei toy.

These movies were made for one reason: to make money. Boatloads of it. And my God, they did. My father’s goal was to hold down a good job to put me through college (mistake), but instead, he got screwed into spending money on silly Pokémon movies because the world’s greatest marketing team convinced me that I HAD to watch them. I’m sorry, Dad. This is the reason why I’m not having kids of my own.

8. (Pretty bad) Warcraft

(Blizzard Entertainment)

The Warcraft movie isn’t good. It’s weirdly paced, awkward, and it looks like a CGI program threw up all over itself. It does the thing that the early Thor movies did wrong. It gives us an absolutely ridiculous computer-generated world and then asks us to take it seriously. And no, I didn’t take it seriously. No one did.

What’s the plot? I don’t remember. I saw it years ago and it was so forgettable that I literally do not remember. Two hours of my life, gone. What else could I have done during that time? I could have assembled some Ikea furniture. I could have written a lovely poem. I could have cooked myself some delicious banana bread. But no, I watched Warcraft, and I want my time back. Every night before I go to sleep, I ask God to tack an extra two hours onto my life to make up for the time and brain cells I lost watching this movie.

And yes, I’m aware I said this film was “less bad.” It is watchable. We’re working with a very low bar here. The only silver lining this film has to offer is that I get to see what a baby orc looks like, and it was really cute. Also, the main orc dude I remember being kind of cool. The human characters were about as interesting as a stubbed toe but I actually remember a scene from the orcs. But they literally kill the main orc guy, the only interesting character in the film, in a disappointing final showdown with Goldan, the big bad. They caught the bird that was my hope for an enjoyable cinematic experience, killed it, fried it up, and fed it to me. I didn’t like it. Two hours, God. That’s all I ask.

7. (Bad) The Angry Birds Movie

(Columbia Pictures)

What do you get when you try to squeeze a plot out of a mobile game without one? Nothing. You get nothing. Angry Birds is just that. It’s nothing. It’s fluff and feathers. It’s a gigantic waste of time. The plot? Okay, here goes: angry bird gets angrier because pig steals egg. That’s about it. It isn’t funny. It isn’t cute. It isn’t charming. They just made it to make some money, and they did make money. The film made over 352 million dollars at the box office.

But … here’s the reason this movie is floating in the middle of the list, the void if you will: I don’t know anyone who watched it. Seriously. I don’t know a single person who watched that movie. Not friends, not family, not even people on the internet. I didn’t even see a review. It’s like it lobbed a brick through America’s window in the middle of the night, climbed in, threw us out of bed while we were sleeping, reached under the mattress, grabbed our money, and walked out and we didn’t even wake up. If I didn’t have to watch it for this article, I wouldn’t have believed this movie even really existed. And, honestly, I can’t be sure that they didn’t slap it together when they saw me click “play.”

If you saw this movie, call me, please. I won’t make fun of you. I won’t judge. I just wanna know why. That’s all. Enlighten me. Teach me. Broaden my horizons. That’s all I ask.

6. (So bad) Resident Evil

A serious looking Alice in Resident Evil: Apocalypse
(Constantin Film)

The Resident Evil movies are trash-ola. Garbagio For Strings. They suck eggs, a whole dozen. The worst part is, there are six of them. SIX. And people watched them. That’s like pouring a bowl of nails for breakfast and taking a bite, feeling them pierce your gums, and then doing it five more times. Why are these movies so bad? They just are. Asinine dialogue. Inane plots. Bad acting. They’re just trash. They aren’t even scary! It’s honestly a slap in the face to one of the greatest series of video games ever made.

And let’s face it, the story of the Resident Evil games usually isn’t that good. The characters are pretty one-dimensional, and the dialogue is seriously meh. Don’t get me wrong, the series does have some good moments, but the real appeal of these games is the gameplay. My God, it’s terrifying. Resident Evil 4 was the first game (and really one of the first pieces of media) to ever make me scream out loud. I was running away from a regenerator (a monster that kills you in one hit), and I turned a corner and ran into another regenerator and my soul left my body. I gave up the ghost. That was it.

The problem with this series is that it takes away the only thing that really makes Resident Evil good. I don’t want to watch someone shoot zombies; I want to do it myself.

5. (VERY Bad) Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. in the 1993 movie (image: Buena Vista)
(Hollywood Pictures)

This movie is a horror show. A HORROR SHOW. It’s hideous. It’s wrong. It’s shockingly vile. It isn’t just bad, its EXISTENCE is OFFENSIVE. If aliens ever saw this film they would deem us to be an irredeemable species and blow up the planet. And I would be obliged to agree with their decision.

Made in the Dark Days of the Early ’90s, this film centers on the titular duo operating a plumbing business in New York City. Look, Mario and Luigi were never really plumbers. They never went to school for it. No one was like, you know the one downside of playing Mario? I never get to find out more about their plumbing business. But this film took the idea, sprinted away with it, tripped, fell, broke a leg, then had to be put out of its misery like a horse in a cowboy movie. So, in this film’s universe, the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs didn’t actually wipe out the dinosaurs but instead created a hole in spacetime to a parallel dimension where humanity evolved alongside dinosaurs. The result? Mario and Luigi end up falling through the portal into “Dinohattan” a place ruled by President Koopa, who is inexplicably played by Dennis Hopper.

What about Yoshi, you ask? He’s in the film as well, and he looks like a fucking velociraptor. It isn’t cute, cuddly, or any of the things that make Yoshi bearable. It’s nightmare fuel. It is the coal in the engine of a train to the 9th circle Hell. The storyline is fractured, the dialogue is inane, there are chain-chomp-sized plot holes, and, all in all, the experience of watching this film feels like diving into one of those green tunnels in the Mario over world. But instead of finding gold coins inside, there is only confusion, darkness, and the smell of raw sewage. This script needed a plumber to plunge out the copious amount of bullshit it subjects us to, but alas, it was too big a job for even Mario and Luigi to handle. They’re simply not good enough plumbers.

4. (Criminal) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

The Prince of Persia holds out a sword while a woman looks on in "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" the film

I don’t know who thought that it would be a good idea to cast Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time but let’s hope that it was the last “good idea” they had while working as a casting director. Aside from casting a non-iranian actor to play the lead character, the film’s casting SHOULD work on paper. We’ve got Alfred Molina and Ben Kingsley – two powerhouse actors – but even they couldn’t save the movie from its own shoddy plot and bad dialogue. Also, we only get to see ONE CGI heavy use of the the Sands of Time dagger…. and then… it never happens again? WTF?

3. (Deplorable) Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

A dude with goat horns grins goofily in "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation"
(New Line Cinema)

This movie wasn’t just a critical failure, it was a commercial FATALITY. Mortal Combat: Annihilation was bad for everyone involved. The actors. The director. The studio. The legacy of the games. Where did they go wrong? Aside from trying to wring a plot out of a game whose story is simply a vehicle for characters to rip each other’s intestines out, the writers made the mistake of attempting to feature EVERY CHARACTER from the games, including hidden ones! Again, sounds good on paper, but when you’ve only got an hour and change to tell a compelling story you have to PICK A FOCAL POINT and not try to dogpile every character’s story on top of one another.

2. (Unholy) Bloodrayne

A vampire woman stares at another in "Bloodrayne"
(Boll KG Productions​)

This box office vampire bomb sucked studio profits dry. Despite being a stellar early-console game, the Bloodrayne film failed to deliver on the game’s greatness. Or rather… it gave exactly what the game promised, a grimdark story about a hot vampire babe who rips her way through goons in service of a plot that no one bought the game for anyway. Stripped of its fun gameplay, we’re left with the bare bones of a story that lacks much originality. It’s the same problem that you get with Resident Evil adaptations, the gameplay is SO GOOD that players let the often corny plots of early Resident Evil titles slide. Featuring subpar action, goofy sex scenes, and a slew of bad wigs, you’ve got a film that deserves to be staked, stuffed with garlic, and set on fire.

1. (The Bottom of the Barrel) Alone in the Dark

A man and woman holding guns talk to a soldier in "Alone in the Dark"
(Lions Gate Films)

Alone In The Dark might actually be the worst video game move ever made. This movie has a 1% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is rotten to its very core. It’s as if the writer, director, camera operators, and cast decided to show up one day and “wing it.” I’ve seen better high school student films than this garbage. The plot Is almost nonexistent, the effects are cheap, and the dramatic acting is so cringy that it somehow loops back around into “funny.” But not “funny haha.” It’s more “funny I haven’t thrown myself from the window of my sixth floor walkup to escape this film.” Whatever you do, do not attempt to watch this movie alone in the dark. Watch it at a party with friends, where you can throw popcorn at the TV. Or beer. Or gasoline. And then a lit match. Just set the whole thing on fire.

(featured image: Hollywood Pictures)

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Image of Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.