It made no sense! Guile, the all American American, was played by Van Damme, who is very much not American because of his being Belgian. That’s strike one! Chun-Li was a reporter, and her sidekicks were E. Honda and Balrog. Strike two! M. Bison was played by Raúl Juliá; fucking Gomez Adams. Strike three! You’re shite! The only thing that could have been worse than this is if they'd made him Irish. Luckily, they had the decency to wait another decade and a half before making that atrocious, yet hilarious mistake. The movie had somewhere between sweet-fuck-all and nothing to do with the video game it shared it’s name with. It was to leave a bad taste in the mouths of Street Fighter fans the world over. Luckily, there were people who wanted to prove that even though Hollywood were less knowledgeable about video games than Jean Claude Van Damme was about doing American accents, video games could still be presented properly as movies. There was still hope, because these particular people made Manga movies!
Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie has been hailed as one of the best game-to-movie adaptations of all times, and still holds up as strong today as it did back in the 90s. It follows Ryu as he travels shoelessly across the planet picking fights, wearing headbands, and trying his hardest to be profound. While he’s going about his daily globe-trotting business, the evil M. Bison and his Shadaloo homies are sending out cyborgs to gather information on the world’s greatest fighters, so it can be used by the evil doers to do evil. Sure, there’s some overly tacky voice acting throughout the movie, but it’s easily overlooked when you’re shown your favourite Street Fighters going toe to toe, and performing all of their infamous moves in a series of bloody, violent, yet bright and colourful, battles. T. Hawk attempts to crush Ken Masters head under his massive boot, Vega and Chun-Li fight it out within her apartment, Sagat and Ryu throw down in the legendary fight which resulted in Sagat earning his signature scar, Guile wears his hair all funny, and M. Bison wages war on pretty much anyone who’s not on his payroll! This movie is all the things we wanted to see in the live action flick, and more. It blew me outta my seat when I first watched it, and still manages to have the same effect on me today.
Unfortunately, everything that made the original Mortal Kombat movie great, was destroys in it’s sequel; Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. It turned from cheesy fun, to a bad Power Rangers endeavour. The acting was vomit-inducingly bad (see the clip with Kitana and Sindel for more details), and the special effects were even worse. It looked and felt like it was made on a shoestring budget.
Some of the most memorable faces from the original (Bridget Wilson as Sonya Blade and Lambert as Raiden) never returned to their roles. They were instead played by… eh… some eejits! What little story is present within the movie goes almost unseen as the makers simply try to fit in as many of the games’ characters as possible. Baraka, Milleena, the good Sub-Zero, Rain and Ermac- you couldn’t fit more unneeded, masked faces into this movie with a fucking plunger. I highly recommend that this movie goes unwatched by everyone, ever.
I hated Lara Croft: Tomb Raider when I first saw it in the pictures. I found it boring, and thought that Jolie played a terrible part. I thought that there was no connection between the action on the silver screen and the type of wild outdoor adventures that we played through on our Playstations. Something just bugged me about the whole film. The bad guys were not very likable or memorable, and I really didn’t understand the scene where Lara was trying to relax by floating around Croft Manor in a harness attached to an elaborate system of elastics. She may be posher than Victoria Beckham, but she’s still a regular woman from England. Therefore I refuse to believe that her method of relaxation does not include watching X Factor and tweeting to her friends about it. It wasn’t until years later when I decided to give it another shot, and picked it up on DVD, that I started to enjoy the movie. Sure, it’s a pretty ridiculous piece of cinema, but it’s also entertaining and completely harmless. It’s a nice way to turn off your brain for an hour or two, and watch Lady Croft blow multiple faces off a living statue using her signature dual pistols.
It makes me wonder though, why exactly gamers still want to see thess game tie-in movies being made. If noting else, the last two decades or so have proved that gaming is often a superior medium for storytelling. You simply can’t sum up the same amount of emotion in under two hours as you can with games like Final Fantasy, where you could spend 70+ hours getting to know the characters, and exploring the game’s world. You become more emotionally attached to your own personal Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect trilogy than you could ever become to just another actor playing the part of him in a cinema release. Why? Because your Shepard is exactly the way you want him/her to be. You've built this person from the ground up. How he/she looks, acts, responds; it’s all up to you. You choose their sex, who they fall in love with, who their friends are, and what their back story is. Their very personality is your creation. You are involved in every decision this person makes throughout their three-game-long lifespan. This is your favorite person on the whole fuckin’ Citadel! How could a movie possibly add up to that? Especially not the way most game-movies go. They usually toss away all plotlines and character development to shoehorn in a boatload of action. Games have action right? Therefore movies based on their likeness should have nothing but action! That seems to be the mentality behind it, and that’s straight up wrong and ignorant. A lot of these movies share nothing with their polygon based counterparts except for their name.
Interaction is one of the keys that makes video games what they are. The thing that separates them from every other entertainment medium on the planet and makes them unique. It’s this interaction that really causes the player to fall in love with the on screen sprites. Pushed by the backing story, you want your heroes to succeed, and you’ll help them as best you can by taking down their enemies and fighting for what they believe, and intend what you believe. This takes gaming into a world of it’s own that cannot be duplicated on the big screen. However, there will still be plenty of throwaway game-to-movie tie-ins released. There are currently as many Resident Evil movies as there are numbered sequels to the original game, and this shows no sign of stopping any time soon. What can we do, except hope someone somewhere gets it right again, and we finally get another movie as good as Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie or Silent Hill. Something that’s actually good enough to bear the name of our beloved video games.