Every genre has a few actors that help define it. Action flicks have Bruce Willis; dramas have Meryl Streep. But who, I ask, do video game movies hold as their most beloved thespians? Failing that, which actors have simply appeared in a boatload of the damned things? I’ve compiled a list of the most prolific video game movie actors, the results of which will almost certainly surprise you: Two are supermodels, one starred in A Christmas Story, and one is an honest-to-God knight. Who are these mystery men and women? Read on.
Video Game Repertoire: The Resident Evil series
With three Resident Evil movies in the can and another on the way, Milla “multipass” Jovovich has effectively become the queen of video game movies. The RE flicks — for reasons that continue to stump both critics and fans of the games — are the highest-grossing video game movies in history. Some argue that the original games are so beloved fans will rush out to see the movies knowing full well that they’re not going to be very good. Others would say that nobody in their right mind would pass up an opportunity to see a half-naked Milla Jovovich decapitate zombies to awful rock music. Probably, both are correct.
Video Game Repertoire: BloodRayne, Prince of Persia
Were he anyone else, Ben Kingsley’s meager two video game flicks would disqualify him from placement on the list. But we’re talking about the guy who played Gandhi; a living, breathing, knight. And yet, somehow, Sir Ben plays the villain in the worst movie about lesbian vampires ever, and worse yet he’s slated to play a similarly evil role in the Prince of Persia movie. Look — I enjoy a fair number of video game movies, some even unironically. But never would I think that Kingsley didn’t have better things to do than hang out with Uwe Boll and play generic video game baddies.
Video Game Repertoire: Hitman, Max Payne
Alright, I’ll be honest: Olga Kurylenko has only been in two video game movies too. Still, it needs to be said that where most of these other actors received their second game-movie credit from a sequel to their first, international supermodel Kurylenko has starred in the adaptations of two drastically different franchises… while playing pretty much the same character. In Max Payne she’s a quasi-prostitute who gets killed halfway through the flick. In Hitman, she’s a quasi-prostitute who lives all the way to the end. Plus, she’s really hot.
Video Game Repertoire: House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Will Sanderson is director Uwe Boll’s lynchpin actor. In the same way Quentin Tarantino hasn’t made a movie without Samuel L. Jackson since Pulp Fiction, Sanderson has been in every Boll-directed video game movie except for Postal. Sanderson’s acting skills are effectively impossible to judge since every actor seems awful in Boll’s movies. This guy could be the next Laurence Olivier and nobody would know — he’s be too busy running away from lazily-rendered CG lizard creatures and spouting cliched dialogue about strength and vengeance. Still, you’ve gotta admire his willingness to stay with the sinking ship.
Video Game Repertoire: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Dead or Alive, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
You might be tempted to mock Robin Shou for playing small variations on the same character throughout his gaming flick filmography. But should you do that, you would probably then find yourself holding your teeth in your mouth with a bloodied hand. You see, Robin Shou isn’t just an actor — he did the fight choreography for both Mortal Kombat flicks before training Milla Jovovich for her role in Resident Evil. So, yes, it’s pretty easy to call him out on forever playing a wise-but-deadly master of kung fu, but hell — that’s kind of what he is.
Video Game Repertoire: Postal, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Alone in the Dark II, BloodRayne 2: Deliverance
Fun fact: Ward’s movie debut was in A Christmas Story, where he played Scut Farkus (the bully whom Ralphie beats the crap out of a little ways into the movie). Slightly less fun fact: Zack Ward plays the main character in Uwe Boll’s Postal and has also starred in the direct-to-video sequels to two separate Boll flicks. The guy’s actually a great actor, bringing a mixture of cynicism and bravado to his work. Ward’s appearance in a video game movie generally means two things: First, that the movie won’t exactly be Citizen Kane; and second, that you’ll still have a damn good time watching it.
Who are your favorite video game actors? Let me know in the commentsRead More