Ten fun things you can take away from otherwise forgettable video game films

Let’s be honest.  When it comes to video game adaptations to film, most of them suck.  The original Mortal Kombat is definitely an exception to the rule, but most of the others – Max Payne, Street Fighter, the Resident Evil saga, Alone In the Dark – are better left forgotten.

That said, there was a bit of brightness to some of these movies, fun little factoids that tie in with them that make things just a slight bit more digestible.  No, nothing will take away from the fact that they’re still stinkers, but it’s interesting to see these little tidbits regardless.  Here’s some stuff that you can take away from these cinematic duds…

Eric Roberts Is the Best Worst Final Boss Ever

Eric

Eric Roberts’ film history is quite the good one, whether he’s cameoing in The Cable Guy or trying to put The Expendables in their place (and, of course, losing).  But one of his more interesting roles stems from the below average DOA: Dead Or Alive film, in which he plays Dr. Victor Donovan, the head of DOATEC and the “supposed” final boss of the film.  See, what makes him so unbeatable is how he’s able to telegraph fights ahead of time and see what his opponent hurls at him, as the film so humbly demonstrates.  However, that doesn’t really explain how he can read the WHOLE fight.  Regardless, he gets beat in hilarious fashion by a bunch of hot women, thanks to halfway-decent Corey Yuen-directed fight sequences.  You could do a lot worse than this, especially with Roberts’ camp injected into the picture.  “I AM ERIC ROBERTS!”

The Legend of Chun-Li Is No Street Fighter

Street

When the original Street Fighter movie came out in 1994, a lot of people thought it was so far off base that it wasn’t even acceptable on a cult status.  However, compare that to the truly terrible Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and it’s like a party that no one should miss.  The film, directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, took its tone way too seriously, as Chun Li (Kristen Kreuk, badly miscast for the role) vowed revenge on “businessman” M. Bison (Neal McDonough, even more miscast).  Meanwhile, compare that to the pure camp of the original Street Fighter, where Colonel Guile (Jean Claude Van Damme, campy and hilarious) took on a much more notable version of Bison (Raul Julia, even more campy and hilarious in his final film role).  The original Street Fighter is just easier to take, and you can even make a shot game out of it depending on what Van Damme says.  “Who wants to go home…and who wants to go with ME?!”

Christopher Lambert Can Beat James Remar Any Day

Chirs

We have nothing but respect for actor James Remar.  He’s appeared in a number of films over the years that are quite good, including The Warriors, 48 Hrs. and, most recently, RED.  However, as a thunder god, he just can’t cut the mustard like Christopher Lambert can.  He took over the role in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, attempting to fulfill the same motivational role for Liu Kang that Lambert did in the original.  However, he just wasn’t good enough for the role, though he did fare much better than Brian Thompson did as Shao Khan.  (Seriously, just try to take that guy seriously for two minutes.  You can’t.)  In retrospect, Lambert owned the role in every respect, from his electrifying taunts (“I don’t think so!  Hehehe!”) to his growling voice.  I doubt he could’ve made Mortal Kombat Annihilation more legitimate, but it wouldn’t have hurt.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Set the Tone For CG Modeling

Final

Was Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within everything it could’ve been when it came to storytelling?  Not hardly.  Beautiful visuals aside, the story fell flat on its face, with characters that you could give a crap less about (a lot of folks simply asked, “Hey, where’s Cloud?!”) and events that left you scratching your head, even if you faithfully followed the series.  That said, the movie did set the standard, at the time, for visuals.  When CG animation studios were just getting their start at that time, Hironobu Sakaguchi and his team created a boldly striking film in every aspect, from its realistic character models to its hauntingly beautiful spirit beings.  A lot of CG films these days meet, and sometimes exceed, that standard, but Square Pictures, as defunct as they are now, certainly set the precedent at the time.  Now if only someone else handled the writing.  “What’s with her and that stupid plant?!”

Forget Max Payne, Go Look At Mila Kunis

Mila

Nothing could’ve saved the Max Payne film, honestly.  It was stuck with a PG-13 rating and minimal violence, as well as a performance by Mark Wahlberg that left you wondering “Nah, this can’t be Max.”  Well, the series managed to survive that blow, as Max Payne 3 has sold significantly well since release, but we shouldn’t forget one thing about the movie – Mila Kunis.  Honestly, this actress could appear in a comedy about overdressing nuns and she’d still be smoldering hot in it.  Luckily, she’s gone on to better roles as of late, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Ted, and she hasn’t lost a bit of her good looks.  We don’t need a lamely Hollywoodized video game character to tell us that.

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Robert Workman
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