Top 10 Most Popular Video Game Movies

by Christopher Nichols on January 19, 2016

in Top 10s

You can’t really blame people for disliking the bulk of video game movies released. Remember Street Fighter The Movie? The movie was so terrible it left a bitter taste in the mouth of fans of the successful franchise.

Not every video game movie has been terrible, though. Some are actually quite decent considering how far technology has taken movie cinematography and effects. That said, here’s a list of the 10 most popular video game movies of all time. Some are good, some are bad, but all of them had one goal in mind: to popularize the gaming franchise no matter what.

Street Fighter The Movie

The film was an abomination. It starred Jean Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue. The film is quite possibly the epitome of why it’s not always such a good idea to turn video games into movies. First of all, there’s no justification to let Ryu fight in his Karate Gi during the entire movie. In addition, making Ken Masters a “con artist” in the movie is just downright ridiculous. The fight scenes were terrible, too. In all honesty, Capcom should’ve never allowed Universal and Columbia Pictures to distribute the movie to theaters.

Street Fighter Assassin’s Fist

Fast forward to 2014, thank goodness someone tried to give Street Fighter a proper live action tribute. Instead of focusing on the Guile and M.Bison rivalry, which the original Street Fighter movie did, Assassin’s Fist focuses on the development of Ryu and Ken as fighters, which is the more realistic approach to a Street Fighter movie. After all, both are extremely popular characters of the franchise, and their story is much more interesting to follow given the fact that Ryu in the video game actually travels the world to find someone worthy of defeating.

Ace Attorney

For the people who played the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney franchise, they knew just how enjoyable it was to play an undercover detective in the game. Pair this with the game’s lovable characters and what you have is an instant hit. Sadly, the movie wasn’t as enjoyable as the original games. While on 2D the game was fun to look at, in live action, the characters looked completely absurd, from the haircuts to the graffiti that popped up every time a case was solved. It didn’t do the characters justice, that’s for sure, and Capcom should’ve just used the budget to make another Ace Attorney game.

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia is one of the few games that was transformed into a decent movie. While it didn’t capture the true personality of the mysterious Prince, Jerry Bruckheimer, the film’s producer, was able to give the character a Lawrence of Arabia-like persona. The fighting scenes could’ve been better if the movie based it on Krabi Krabong (widely believed to be The Prince’s fighting style) but nevertheless; the wonderful cinematography, costumes, and production design puts it in the same league as the Harry Potter and the many Percy Jackson movies.

Mortal Kombat The Movie

Ah, the Mortal Kombat movie. If only the original Street Fighter movie had taken a few pointers from this enjoyable take on the video game.

Mortal Kombat The Movie may not have been the perfect adaptation but it was definitely heaps better than Street Fighter. That’s because Mortal Kombat didn’t deviate from the video game’s canon. What it did was stick to it: a tournament setup where some of the world’s best warriors fought to the death. The result was a movie with a simple plot and wonderful fighting scenes and s soundtrack to die for – which is what Mortal Kombat is all about.

Wreck it Ralph

Ok, this one’s the other way around but it deserves a spot in this list because everything about Wreck it Ralph is perfect. It was a movie first before it became a video game but it did so well on both accounts. Wreck it Ralph‘s game was released as a casual game on mobile, and it was the correct thing to do. Mobile is the most popular entertainment platform today, and it’s thanks to advancement in Internet capabilities across the world that has made this possible, according to Gaming Realms, a software company that makes original casual titles for online consumption. Wreck it Ralph is wonderful on film, and even better as a casual gaming title. The game version of Wreck it Ralph is so addictive that it immortalizes the original film that captured the hearts of both kids and kids-at-heart.

Resident Evil Movies

These are probably some of the worst movie adaptation ever, and fans of the franchise struggle to understand how Capcom’s favorite survival horror game ended up creating three, yes three, different movies based loosely on the Resident Evil games.

First of all, the Resident Evil movies aren’t based solely on the Resident Evil games. They only used the names of protagonists and villains in order to capitalize on this highly successful franchise. Who is Alice anyway and why is the focus on her and not on Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine? Even Leon Kennedy wasn’t featured in the films. Paul W.S. Anderson completely butchered the Resident Evil franchise and this movie is the clearest reason why directors who don’t even know a thing about video game titles should never turn their hands to movies.

Max Payne

The thing with video games is that most of them shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Max Payne the movie would’ve been better if it went down the same route as a film like Die Hard. After all, the game incorporated moves that were taken directly out of the pages of Hong Kong action flicks directed by John Woo. The Max Payne movie is so serious it makes classic gangster noir films look like comedies.

Tomb Raider

There are many things that Tomb Raider managed to execute well, making it a shining example of how video game movies should be made. First of all, Angelina Jolie is the perfect actress to play Lara Croft as not only does she nail the physique of Lara but she’s also has the femme fatale’s brains and charm. Tomb Raider’s plot is also within the video game’s scope, making the movie a great film to watch even if the viewer hadn’t played the game beforehand.


Hitman is a successful movie port, which is largely thanks to Timothy Olyphant’s acting. Just like with Tomb Raider, Olyphant nails Agent 47’s stoic pragmatism. He’s cold, professional, and is willing to kill anyone on contract. The storyline is good, too, making Hitman a good movie to watch and replay over and over again.

Christopher Nichols

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