The five worst game-to-film adaptations

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Director J J Abrams is set to adapt first-person shooter Half Life to the big screen, but will it be a flop like these other adaptations?

Blockbuster film director J. J. Abrams is on a hot streak right now, from his muscular Star Trek reboot to being anointed as director of the Star Wars revival.  But, in less well-publicised news, he has also agreed to adapt a video game – the ground-breaking 1998 first-person shooter Half Life.

One look at the wreckage of previous video-game adaptations that litter the movie landscape and it might appear to be a foolish quest. Which brings us on to our own endeavour: to find the five worst computer-game adaptations (like hitting a barn door with a plasma rifle).

Click here to view the gallery of worst game-to-film adaptations.

Click here to view the gallery of best game-to-film adaptations.

Five worst film adaptations:

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi and Motonori Sakakibara

The first film to attempt photorealistic computer animation hasn’t aged well, but its failure is on a more basic level: plot. It may have portrayed a beautifully rendered, post-apocalyptic landscape, but when you’re spending more time fixating on the way the characters’ strands of digital hair billow in the wind then following the incoherent plot about vengeful extraterrestrial spirits, then the film has failed. 

Super Mario Bros. (1993), directed by Annabel Jankeland Rocky Morton

Two Italian plumbers jumping, climbing and bouncing their way around a colourful fantasy world may be the perfect recipe for a computer-game franchise but it’s an awful premise for a movie. A ridiculous gurning Bob Hoskins and his charisma-free side kick are transported to a dino-themed world beneath the streets of Brooklyn. Narrative and character development gets left in Brokklyn, along with Luigi's tool belt, as the bungling plumbers search for Dennis Hopper’s evil lizard King Koopa. “It’s the worst thing I ever did” admits a chastened Bob Hoskins.

Street Fighter (1994) , directed by Steven E. de Souza

When the Hollywood scribe behind action blockbuster Die Hard decided to try his hand at directing an action spectacle of his own, the film world waited with baited breath. But this appalling action flick was the result. Jean Claude Van Damme plays Street Fighter 2 character Guile, head of a task force sent to penetrate the hideout of renegade warlord, General Bison. Sadly Van Damme has an ear for dialogue like co-star Kylie Minogue has a fist for martial arts.  De Souza has since quit directing films.

Wing Commander (1999), directed by Chris Roberts

Should video game creators direct movies? If you’re Wing Commander video game creator Chris Roberts, the answer is a resounding no. Freddie Prinze Jr plays a cocky young space fighter pilot in this Lucas-lite sci-fi adaption that pits a marauding alien race against a ragtag fleet of pilots. What's remarkable about the film is how the cast’s performance is easily eclipsed by the original video-game actors, with Mark Hamill playing the titular role with significantly more charisma in the game’s cut-scenes.

Alone in the Dark (2005), directed by Uwe Boll

This cataclysmically bad fantasy-horror thriller stars Christian Slater as a paranormal investigator with a secret past. It’s helmed by German director Uwe Boll who has hit a run of form as the world’s most atrocious video-game adaptor, spewing out about one critically panned cinema-nasty a year. This appalling adaptation doesn’t have anything resembling a narrative. Rather, we get an unholy mess of rampaging CGI monsters, random scene switching, a lot of flickering darkness and an aching desire to be left alone.

Do you agree with the selection? Comment below or tweet Adam Jacques.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager / Account Manager

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...

    Recruitment Genius: Systems Application Analyst - Data, SQL

    £22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online Marketing Executive i...

    Recruitment Genius: B2B Internal Sales Executive - OTE £32,000

    £16000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a hands-on role which i...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence