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The Best Moments From the Worst Video Game Movies

Let’s face it: There are some lousy movies out there based on video games. Maybe it’s the repetition of action, maybe the dearth of plot or maybe the absence of character motivation. Whatever the cause, we often hate the movies based on the games we love. But that’s okay. Because even the worst adaptations have moments of glorious absurdity. Here’s four to prove the point.

1. Street Fighter
StreetFighter_125x125.jpgOne of the first and most ridiculous video game movies ends with the cheesiest-ever reference to its source material. After blowing up the lair of the evil M. Bison (Raul Julia), all ten protagonists regroup to celebrate by striking their victory pose from the game: Chun Li (Ming Na) jumps into the air, giggling like a schoolgirl; Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) flexes his muscles and thrusts his hips forward; and Cammy (Kylie Minogue) turns her back to the camera, then throws us an alluringly over-the-shoulder look. It’s the most gleefully nutty moment in a movie that’s all-too-full of them.

2. Max Payne
MaxPayne_125x125_MPKS-001.jpgDirector John Moore’s shoddy adaptation alienates movie and game fans alike yet it also features some of the most striking production design and cinematography in video game movie history. Even the toughest film critics can’t dis the army of winged, cackling Valkyries, even as gamers wonder where the hell they came from since they’re not in the game or its sequel. True, these creatures appear solely in Max’s drug-addled hallucinations but their presence lends the flick some much-needed awesomeness, something that Moore otherwise lost sight of when he adapted a game that had it in spades.

3. House of the Dead — Insano Zombiefight Extravaganza
HouseofDead_125x125.jpgShould anyone question whether Uwe Boll is the worst director of all time, they need only watch House of the Dead. Of particular note is a ten-minute graveyard shootout, perhaps the most unintentionally insane thing ever committed to celluloid. After finding a huge stash of guns, the heroes (including both Das Boot ‘s Jurgen Prochnow and an Asian hottie wearing a skintight American flag outfit) go bullet-crazy on some zombies. At first, it’s just your typical male fantasy of exploding heads and slow-mo bullets. But then, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, Boll starts splicing in footage from the actual game. Yeah. Aside from the fact that the game’s graphics are terrible, Boll’s insertion is so lazy that you can still see the original gamer’s health and ammunition levels in the corner of the screen.

4. Doom
Doom_125x125_MCDDOOM_EC014_H.jpgJust because a game has a POV doesn’t mean a movie should but strangely enough, it works for Doom (one of the first-person PC shooters games ever). And for the movie, this single perspective gunfight is gripping not just because it’s so visually different from other Aliens ripoffs (which Doom most certainly is), but because despite all reason and logic, it works. Watching guns blast away Martian demons while chainsaws eviscerate their flesh first-hand is gory good fun, any way you slice it. It’s a reflexive, self-aware nod to video game fans and a unique take on a tired action trope.

What are your favorite moments from your least favorite video game movies?

Anthony Burch is the features editor for and the co-writer and director of the video series, “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?” He’s also working on his first artgame, which should be done sooner or later. Probably later.

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