5 movies that prove fighting games are horrible source material
About 80% of the time, video game movies suck. They aren’t good. Casting is off. The script is trunicated and inaccurate. The scriptwriters, directors and most likely everyone involved knows nothing about the source material. In short, they’re train wrecks. While some movies have some chance to be halfway decent, like Tomb Raider, Silent Hill or Uncharted, recent history has proven one category of games will never, ever result in a decent live-action adaptation.
I’m talking about fighting games movies.
Think about it. Have you ever seen a good, live action movie based on your favorite fighting game? The original Mortal Kombat doesn’t count, as it falls perfectly into a so-bad-it’s-good situation. They just aren’t good inspiration.
Of course, I wouldn’t just come out and say this without proof. So here it is, the list of the five absolutely terrible movies inspired by fighters that prove this kind of movie doesn’t work.
Street Fighter (1994)
Let’s start this off right at the beginning with Street Fighter, as it has the honor of not only offering an absolutely terrible movie-going experience, but also spawning the worst video game installment of Street Fighter ever. Granted, it was probably smart to have an actual action star like Jean-Claude Van Damme in it, though he wasn’t the best choice for Guile. In fact, the only good casting was probably Raul Julia as M. Bison and Ming-Na as Chun-Li. The script was terrible, the fights looks horrible and no one should ever have to watch it, ever.
Even childhood nostalgia can’t sugar-coat this flop.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)
From one Street Fighter flop to another! Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is so bad, most people, myself included, who have seen both Street Fighter live action movies agree that it is the worse of the two. The characters don’t look right. The casting is terrible – they didn’t even find a Chinese actress to play Chun-Li! The script and plot don’t agree with the Street Fighter canon. The costumes are all wrong. Did I mention the script was terrible? Well, it’s so bad I had to mention it twice. Not to mention there’s this ridiculous dance scene. I turned it off after a half hour because I couldn’t take anymore. It’s so bad, you can’t even have fun mocking it.
Though I have to say, casting Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas was genius. I always thought Vega looked incredibly creepy and Taboo is naturally creepy as well – it’s a perfect fit!
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
Let’s move along to Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. This sequel seemed understandable. The original Mortal Kombat movie wasn’t too bad. It was tolerable, at least. This was mostly because it seemed to know it was a terrible movie and embraced that. Then Mortal Kombat came along, replaced every actor except for Robin Shou (Liu Kang) and Talisa Soto (Kitana), threw a Super Serious Complicated script into the mix and made the fight scenes look really ridiculous.
Basically, it looks like Shou and Soto grabbed a bunch of friends and spent about $500 filming Mortal Kombat: Annihilation somewhere in Arizona.
DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
Joy from My Name is Earl plays Tina Armstrong in DOA: Dead or Alive. That right there should tell you what you’re in for in this movie adaptation of the Dead or Alive series.
Though, I suppose we should be thankful that the whole movie isn’t women in bikinis two sizes too small engaging in a martial arts contest in a trampoline arena surrounded by sprinklers. Though they do make time for a bikini-volleyball scene, so I guess that counts.
The casting is pretty bad, there’s horrible editing, the characterization is terrible, the script is ridiculous, the plot is the thinnest out of all the movies listed here, almost every female character is scantily clad and it’s really pretty trashy. Some of the fights look good, but that’s about all DOA: Dead or Alive has going for it. It has a very specific audience in mind – teenage boys – and I’m sure most of them have too much intelligence and good taste to watch. Or at least, to watch it more than once. (They may watch it once just out of curiousity.)
I’ll end my “proof fighting games can never be good” diatribe with Tekken, a movie I did not know existed until I started doing research for this article. That alone says something, since I keep up with video game movie releases and this one is only two years old.
On the plus side, Asian actors were actually cast to play Jin Kazama and Heihachi Mishima. That’s a plus. Of course, Namco Bandai and Tekken creator Katsuhiro Harada had absolutely nothing to do with the movie, which is a horrible sign. The script started out good, but about halfway through it all falls apart. The fight scenes aren’t bad, but the soundtrack and acting are. It’s not as bad as say, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li or Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, since you can tell actual effort went into it, but it isn’t something you want to go out of your way to watch either.
Let’s close this up with an appeal to Hollywood. No more fighting game movies We don’t like them and they don’t work. If anything, make movies about the games we don’t care about, like Angry Birds and Farmville.