Movies made from video games waste potential

Movies based on video game plots often lack accuracy and disappoint fans of the game.

Movies based on video game plots often lack accuracy and disappoint fans of the game.

Nathan Mendelowitz

It’s easy to think video games and movies would mix well. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case with movies based on video games.

Every movie with a plot and theme based on a video game has been awful and disappointing. This doesn’t mean they all aren’t enjoyable.

This sounds odd, but let me explain.

There are two categories to video game movies: movies that are flat out bad and movies that are bad but somehow enjoyable.

The movies that are bad like “Resident Evil,” “House of the Dead” and “Max Payne.”

I was in middle school and had to sneak into the theater to watch “Resident Evil,” and was sorely disappointed. Aside from a few characters having the same name in the game, the movie was awful.

The story was bland and the acting was even worse. Every character except Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, was boring and added nothing to the film. It would have been better if the movie just consisted of Alice killing zombies and escaping the underground mansion.

Now the movies that are bad but enjoyable have another name: guilty pleasures.

One of the movies is “Street Fighter” which I still think is the best of these bad but enjoyable movies.

The characters all have the same names from the game but that’s where the similarities end.

The first problem is with Guile, the main character in the movie. In the game, he is the quintessential military, All-American type of guy.

The only problem is the man who plays Guile is Jean-Claude Van Damme, who happens to be Belgian with a strong accent.

The most recognizable characters, Ryu and Ken, are also cast completely wrong. Instead of Ryu being the wandering warrior and Ken being a rich kid trained in martial arts, they are both con artists and not good at it either.

The best part of the movie, however, is Raul Julia; who plays the antagonist M. Bison. Bison is portrayed in the game as an egotistical madman bent on ruling the world with an iron fist.

In the movie, though, he is quite the opposite. He’s still determined to take over the world, but he goes at it like Dr. Evil from “Austin Powers.”

Julia’s portrayal of Bison is flamboyant and exuberant at his own greatness. It’s hilarious to watch as Bison laughs at his own terrible jokes and taunts the other characters that he is too important to be bothered with them.

This is the appeal of the movie. All the characters are complete opposites of what they are in the game. Once viewers get past the movie not being like a game, it’s actually a funny movie.

Unfortunately, it’s not meant to be a comedy.

Other movies like “Super Mario Bros.” are similar in it is nothing like the video games, but it’s funny to watch once you get past that.

As much as I’d like to say that’s good enough, it just isn’t. If this is the best gamers get to enjoy movies based on video games, then it’s just a big slap to the face.

I’m all for creative liberty when making these movies. Making a movie to follow the game exactly is boring, but it shouldn’t be so different that it’s unrecognizable.  

“Movie developers (should) get in touch with the fanbase of the game,” said senior gerontology major Sonya Mogilner.

So the solution for me is simple: Don’t make video games into movies.

Instead of movies, make them into miniseries.

Video games have stories which last six-to-eight hours. That’s too much story to be condensed into an hour and a half movie. Too many elements of the game is cut out and what’s left is a story with plot holes and dead ends.

So to flesh out the story and make it worthwhile, let it flow by following a miniseries format. A six-episode series leaves room for a story to develop and mature into something entertaining.

It’s time for video games to be well represented in a medium other than its own. Hopefully, Hollywood will notice video game projects deserve more attention.


Nathan Mendelowitz can be reached at [email protected]