It’s been a bumpy ride for the “Mortal Kombat” franchise!
Since the early 90s, beloved video games have been getting the big-screen treatment and have been transformed into feature-length films. But just because millions of gamers are taking on the challenge on their consoles, it doesn’t mean they’ll actually catch the flick in theaters. In fact, video game adaptations have often been panned by critics, with very few earning passing grades.
But as of late, that’s all changed. In the past few years, video game adaptations like “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “The Angry Birds Movie” have owned the box office, bringing in millions. Even the recent release of Tom Holland’s “Uncharted” fared better than most with a score of 38%, potentially earning it a spot in the list of top 10 adaptations. It could mean we’re about to see a lot more gamers at the movie theater.
Rotten Tomatoes took a look back at some of the best and worst video game film adaptations to see how things have changed through the years. They compiled flicks that had a theatrical release and were given at least 20 reviews from respected critics.
Here’s how some of the best and worst video game adaptations ranked…
In 2005, survival horror video game Alone In The Dark got a big-screen adaptation — and it was totally panned by critics. The film, starring Christian Slater and Tara Reid, followed the investigations of supernatural detective Edward Carnby who uncovers a long-lost tribe called the Abskani. He soon discovers the tribe actually worships demons and the evil creatures are attempting to resurface in the world. Edward must team up with archeologist Aline Cedrac to must stop the sinister forces attempting to take over his mind.
“House of the Dead,” based on the horror-themed arcade shooting game, was brought to movie theaters in 2003, although many critics wish it wasn’t. The film follows a group of friends set to attend a rave on a remote island and when they arrive, they discover everyone has been killed by zombies. They must evade the undead and safely find their way home. While the film is supposed to be scary, it fell flat and left many viewers laughing.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Street Fighter character Chun-Li got her own big-screen flick in 2009 but the film flopped at the box office. “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” was released as a non-canon spin-off and theatrical tie-in to Street Fighter IV, and told Chun-Li’s backstory. The film followed Chun-Li as she teamed up with other justice seekers to fight against crime boss Bison and his attempt to gain power over Bangkok’s slum.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
When “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” was released in 1995, it paled in comparison to the original film based on the martial arts video game. In the sequel, a portal opens up between the Outerworld and Earth and the Emperor of the Outerworld quickly takes advantage of the opportunity. With just seven days to complete his task, he slips through with his mighty warriors, intent on total domination and uniting the two worlds. Critics panned the film for its minimal plot development, shallow characters and low-budget special effects.
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
In 2007, Jason Statham starred in “In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale,” based on the medieval action role-playing game. The film follows a man named Farmer who begins a heroic quest to find his kidnapped wife and avenge their son, who was murdered by warriors called Krugs. Meanwhile, war looms in the idyllic kingdom as an evil army is sent to overthrow the rightful king. Unfortunately, the dialogue got laughs from critics, who dismissed the mediocre acting.
The recent revival of the Mortal Kombat franchise fared much better than the video game adaptation in the 90s. In the 2021 flick, MMA fighter Cole Young finds himself being hunted down by the Outworld’s Emperor Shang Tsung’s best warrior, Sub-Zero. When he is told by a Special Forces Major that he should search for Sonya Blade, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, an Elder God and the protector of Earthrealm. There, he trains with experienced warriors in preparation to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the Outerworld enemies in a high-stakes battle for the universe.
Sonic The Hedgehog was brought to life with the help of Jim Carrey in the game’s 2020 big-screen adaptation. Critics praised the film’s fun moments as Sonic embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid, sparking the attention of evil genius Dr. Robotnik. Sonic must take on the supervillain in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using Sonic’s unique power to achieve world domination.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu
“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” is just one of many Pokémon film adaptations, but it’s by far the critics’ favorite. Ryan Reynolds starred in the live-action flick, which picks up after detective Harry Goodman mysteriously goes missing. His son Tim sets out to find out what happened alongside Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu. They soon discover that the two are actually able to communicate and as the only human who can talk with Pikachu, they join forces to unravel the tangled mystery.
Angry Birds started as just an iPhone game and has spawned two movies so far, with its second being a critic favorite. The “delightfully entertaining” flick earned a 73% score as it followed the next adventure of Red, Chuck, Bomb and the rest of their feathered friends. In “Angry Birds 2,” the group is surprised when a green pig suggests that they put aside their differences and unite to fight aggressive birds who are planning to use an elaborate weapon to destroy the fowl and swine way of life. After picking their best and brightest, the newly united birds and pigs come up with a scheme to destroy the device and preserve their home.
In one of the first VR games to get a big-screen adaptation, “Werewolves Within” stepped away from the game’s medieval setting and brought it to the present day. In the flick, deemed a “masterful comedy” by critics, residents of the small town of Beaverfield are trapped together inside the local inn during a snowstorm. As tensions rise, they must unite to uncover the truth behind a mysterious creature that has begun terrorizing the community.