Features

5 Best video game movies

Writer: Casey Chong


Brandishing guns in style is what Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) does best
in a scene from "Hitman: Agent 47".

When the popular video game series "Hitman" made its first big-screen debut in 2007, the general response was terribly mixed. Although the movie was financially successful, it failed to land a proposed sequel. A fresh reboot was made instead, with Rupert Friend (of TV's "Homeland") stepping into Timothy Olyphant's shoes as the titular assassin Agent 47.

With the brand-new "Hitman: Agent 47" playing at cinemas, let's take a look at our five best video game movies throughout the decades since the '90s.

"Mortal Kombat" (1995)

Sub-Zero (Francois Petit) in "Mortal Kombat".

Back in the early '90s, video game movies including "Super Mario Bros" (1993) as well as "Double Dragon" and "Street Fighter" (both released in 1994), failed to wow both die-hard fans and mainstream audiences. Then along came "Mortal Kombat" in 1995. Directed by then-unknown UK-born director Paul Anderson (now known as Paul W.S. Anderson) whose past directorial effort was the little-seen Brit crime flick called "Shopping", the big screen adaptation of the highly-popular game was a rousing success. Although the movie eschewed the graphically-violent nature of the game in favour for a more mainstream-friendly approach, it still fulfiled its promise as a guilty-pleasure entertainment. Besides, who could forget the techno theme song that played in the movie? On top of that, the special effects and the fight scenes were top notch. Even some of the iconic "Mortal Kombat" characters such as Sub-Zero (Francois Petit) and Scorpion (Chris Casamassa) looked the part in the live-action mode.

"Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" (2001)

Dr. Aki Ross (voiced by Ming-Na) in a scene from "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within".

Thanks to the groundbreaking success of Sony Playstation's "Final Fantasy VII" video game in 1997, this beloved RPG (role-playing game) best-seller has indeed solidified the brand into a worldwide phenomenon. Then in 2001, "Final Fantasy" game series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi unleashed the big screen adaptation for the first time ever for the cinema. Although many die-hard fans weren't pleased with the movie's standalone approach that obviously was tailor-made for the American audiences, "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" still deserved its place as a cinematic milestone. Not only it was the most expensive video game movie up to that time, but also the first feature movie that utilises photorealistic computer-animation technique that made the human characters as lifelike as possible. The story may have been lacklustre, but the movie was a technical triumph for its stunning visual presentation.

"Silent Hill" (2006)

Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) in "Silent Hill".

Slack pacing and unnecessarily overlong narrative may have crippled this big-screen adaptation of Konami's lucrative game title, but Christophe Gans' ("Crying Freeman", "Brotherhood Of The Wolf") version of "Silent Hill" did a commendable job capturing the game's creepy and atmospheric setting. Another lifesaver here was Radha Mitchell, whose emotionally intense performance as a woman trapped in the eerie ghost town of Silent Hill searching for her missing daughter, was equally praiseworthy.

"Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time" (2010)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Atherton in "Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time".

This mega-budgeted action fantasy from the Ubisoft's hugely-popular video game of the same name wasn't a big hit as many had hoped for. But other than that, "Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time" did deliver its fair share of adventurous fun. The acrobatic action set-pieces were energetic, especially the way Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) performing parkour moves and engaged in a series of nifty hand-to-hand combat skills. Harry Gregson-Williams' Middle East-tinged score definitely hit the right spot, while then-British "It" girl Gemma Atherton delivered a satisfying mix of come-hither sex appeal and playful energy to her role as Princess Tamina.

"Wreck-It Ralph" (2012)

Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) in "Wreck-It Ralph".

Okay, so "Wreck-It Ralph" wasn't really based on the existing video games. But there's no denying this loving tribute to the beloved video games of yesteryears (with appearances from Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog and among others) was too good not to include this into our list at all. With a genuine mix of knowing humour and emotional depth, "Wreck-It Ralph" was more than just a candy-coloured adventure. The characters, especially John C. Reilly's heartfelt performance as the anti-hero Ralph and Sarah Silverman's endearing role as the cute racer Vanellope, were right on target. The animation, in the meantime, was visually striking that on par with Pixar-like technical quality.


Watch clips of the movies based on video games above!

Cinema Online, 24 August 2015


Related Movies:
Hitman: Agent 47 (20 Aug 2015)

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