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5 video game movies that are actually quite fun to watch

(Image via screenanigans)
(Image via screenanigans)
Rahul Bhushan
ANALYST
Modified 16 Feb 2021
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Despite Hollywood's ill-fated history with video game properties, more of them are regularly getting picked up for big-budget movie productions.

Several huge projects are currently in production such as the Uncharted movie with Tom Holland. The Last of Us has also been signed up by HBO. Things might just be looking up for video game-licensed movies.

There aren't many, if any, movies based on videogames that have been able to garner positive acclaim, either from critics or audiences.

A lot of what makes a video game story fun gets lost in translation when adapted into a movie, which isn't great for movie fans or videogame fans.

Video game movies have a special place in the hearts of the video game community, though. There is something uniquely powerful and nostalgic about them.

The movies on this list were mostly panned by both audiences and critics, which is why movies like Sonic The Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu will be absent.

This list will contain hidden gems that've had a cult following of sorts. These movies have a life of their own within a small group of fans.


5 video game movies that are actually quite fun to watch

#5 - Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children

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Final Fantasy is a franchise steeped in the history of video games.

Among them, Final Fantasy 7 is often regarded as the finest in the franchise. It was always going to be a terribly difficult adaptaion. However, this animated film might have come the closest to capturing the essence of Cloud Strife and his party's story.

The movie is full of epic throwdowns that will have definitely left a big impression on younger audiences. The action is hyper-stylized, as it should be, and the animation looks absolutely pristine, even by today's standards.

The movie might slow down to a snail's pace at times, but the payoff is usually a huge action sequence that makes up for the slow parts of the movie. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is quite a fun movie and did not deserve to be panned as it was when it came out.


#4 - Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was never going to be an easy task to adapt as the appeal of the game came from the Prince's unique time-manipulating game mechanics. That kind of interactivity with time is something that can't exactly be translated to film, and therefore, nothing felt fresh about Prince of Persia the film.

However, the movie's best aspect comes from the way of its star protagonist, Prince Dastan, played by the always charismatic Jake Gyllenhaal. In fact, the cast of the movie had some really big hitters like Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Toby Kebbel and the excellent Alfred Molina.

While the performances were adequate, the story lacked any sort of freshness and quickly became routine. Yet, what makes the movie fun is the dynamic between Dastan(Gyllenhaal) and Tamina, played expertly by Gemma Arterton. The action sequences are helmed quite proficently, and the story moves along at a brisk pace for most of the time.

The movie is quite a fun watch for younger audiences as it is quite impressive visually and has a ton of fun characters.

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#3 - Warcraft

This 2016 movie had a lot of hype leading up to its release, on the back of its impressive trailers that showcased a great level of sophistication when it comes to CGI. Seeing as more than 50 percent of the cast was going to be playing Orcs, the CGI had to be quite top-notch, and it was.

The cast included Vikings' star Travis Fimmel as well as Toby Kebbel, Ben Foster, and Paula Patton. Needless to say, the cast was one of the big reasons why Warcraft was shaping up to be an exciting project.

The movie had a lukewarm reception from both critics and audiences but it has steadily developed a cult fanbase in the corners of the internet. The movie pays a lot of homage to the brilliant lore of the video games, and has a surprising amount of heart when it comes to the Orc characters.

With engaging visual imagery and a decent enough storyline, albeit a tad bit too predictable, Warcraft is quite fun to watch.


#2 - Max Payne

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This entry on the list might be a little confusing as it was universally agreed upon as one of the most underwhelming videogame adaptations. However, most of the complaints from the movie stemmed from the liberties it took regarding the game's lore, characters and the overall treatment of subject matter.

While the game was a neo-noir, almost hard-boiled detective story which would be more in line with a John Woo movie, this 2008 release had other ideas. Instead, 2008's Max Payne was almost a neo-noir horror movie with minor supernatural elements.

While it is straying a bit too far from the source material, it ultimately makes for a far more interesting watch. A re-tread of the same story and treatment from the games wouldn't exactly be very original.

Mark Wahlberg's Max Payne is even more stoic than the character seen in the games, and Mila Kunis' Mona Sax is even more cold and distant than she was. The characters can feel a bit icey, which can make investing in them especially tough.

However, the movie has a lot to offer in terms of interesting visual imagery, interesting concepts, and a new look at established lore.


#1 - Assassin's Creed

One of the most high-profile video game adaptations of all-time, the movie was always going to be under a lot of pressure. Given the genius at the helm was Justin Kurzel, who was fresh off the success of the excellent 2016 Macbeth, fan expectations were sky-high.

What helped hype it up even more was that Kurzel would be reuniting with the powerful duo of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, who were the lead actors in Macbeth.

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The movie, despite its ridiculously cliched plot that involves the age-old conspiracy babble and corporate overlords, was actually quite fun. The movie's action sequences can sometimes a bit too jumpy and hectic, but can be a fun watch purely for its elaborate choregoraphy.

The movie is a fun visual experience and offers a lot in the way of fleshing out the Assassin's faction itself. The movie appears to have deeper ideas regarding the flaws of its creed and makes for a rather interesting watch purely for that fact.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Ratchet and Clank
  • Street Fighter
  • Resident Evil: Retribution
  • Silent Hill
Published 16 Feb 2021, 20:25 IST
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