Best-selling video games and Box Office success. Phrases we don’t often here in the same sentence. With Hitman: Agent 47 currently in cinemas worldwide, it marks the 2nd time that the best-selling video game franchise Hitman has been given a big screen adaptation. Only time will tell as to whether it will succeed where the original failed, but why has Hollywood had such hit and miss success with video game adaptations? We’ve taken a look at some of the most famous big screen versions of our beloved masterpieces.
You can’t go wrong with Jean-Claude Van Damme. With “The Muscles from Brussels” at the peak of his career it seemed impossible that 1994’s screen adaptation of Street Fighter could go wrong…. Boy, did this go wrong. The film was a catastrophe from start to finish, and they somehow managed to convince Raul Julia to make this his final role. According to reports, life on set was more like an apocalyptical lust orgy rather than a professional movie. Perhaps it would have been better to release the behind the scenes footage than the actual film, it might have done better at the Box Office…
Liu Kang, Sub Zero, Scorpion, Shang Tsung and Goro: only a few of the original characters from Mortal Kombat. A simple beat’em up with a sublime cast. The resulting movie didn’t quite hit the heights of the game. Admittedly, it does have a killer soundtrack, half-decent fight scenes and, if we’re honest, looks like a world-beater in comparison to Street Fighter. Mortal Kombat is a film worth watching for both its amusingly bad acting (yes, we mean you Christopher Lambert) as well its cheesy story and entertainment factor.
Super Mario Bros.
Can we just shake our head and move on? No? Ok, well, as far as films go, this has to be one of the worst considering the budget, stars (Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper) and potential the directors had to work with (this would be the last movie Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton directed for decades by the way). Somehow they managed to take colourful, Nintendo-friendly Mario and transport him into a seedy underworld full of lizards, dinosaurs, fungus, highly advanced technology, and an apocalyptic mood that makes the future of Terminator seem like a funfair. When the star of the movie admits that the whole project is just one long humiliation captured on film, then you know that you have hit the rock bottom of film history. Ouch.
Despite the fact that the movies don’t touch the psychological horror that is portrayed in the games, Silent Hill is an atmospheric adaption, that will still leave you feeling mildly satisfied. The main point of criticism is that it often goes for brutality and shock moments instead of focussing on what made the games outstanding - the sheer insanity and the fear that lurks behind every corner. Definitely a film for horror fans, but fans of the game will still have a fair few bones to pick.
Need for Speed
How can you turn a game about illegal road races and escaping from the police into a big-screen hit? Well, you would probably just make another Fast & Furious. Somehow Need for Speed seems to forget what the games are actually about, as a plot lacking in excitement and a weak storyline hampers this film. Why not just make a whole movie, where the driver attempts to get away from the police? A car chase in feature-length. Mad Max: Fury Road strikingly proves that it can work.
A mansion full of zombies and hidden labs, bursting sculls, splatter, blood and cerebral matter. How hard can it be to make something out of that? The story basically sells itself. Resident Evil has a major advantage over its competitors: Milla Jovovich. The movie itself isn’t really ground-breaking in the zombie genre, but who wouldn’t want to watch Milla freeing herself from a mob of zombies by bashing, shooting and slaughtering them cold-heartedly? The movies have adapted one fact perfectly: the trashy, cheap experience of B-movie zombie-butchery. The movies don’t aim for more than that - and, let’s be honest, neither do the games.
The first attempt at bringing the snazzy suit wearing assassin to the big screen wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. Timothy Olyphant’s portrayal of the ice-cold killer resulted in 90 minutes of harmless entertainment to kill time, but generally Hitman was a bland and dull addition to an already bloated genre, and the fans let that be known. Can Hitman: Agent 47 be better?