For movie buffs, few phrases are more blood-curdling than "based on a video game." Hollywood has made dozens of attempts to bring iconic video game franchises to life on the big screen, and the best we have to show for it is "Mortal Kombat." We're hoping this year's "Tomb Raider" reboot will finally break that trend, but these even movies are reason enough to be pessimistic.
'Super Mario Bros.' (1993)
Other than the fact that this movie features a pair of plumbers in color-coded outfits, there's very little to link "Super Mario Bros." to the uber-popular Nintendo games.
Since when is Bowser a bald human dude? Why are the Goombas tiny-headed lizard monsters in trenchcoats? Why does Mario need hydraulic boots in order to jump? Why did Nintendo sign off on any of this?
'Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" (1997)
The first "Mortal Kombat" is probably the high point for video game movies, which is about as scathing an indictment of the genre as we can imagine. Worse, New Line followed up its success with this abysmal sequel, which tripled the cast of characters while clearly slashing the budget.
The costumes may be hideous, the acting laughable and the fight scenes clunky, but at least the '90s techno soundtrack still holds up.
'Wing Commander' (1999)
The Wing Commander games are notable, among other things, for being the other sci-fi franchise starring Mark Hamill. And given how much those games rely on live-action video sequences to tell their story, you'd think it wouldn't be too difficult to translate the series to film.
But sadly, "Wing Commander" had neither the budget nor the cast to bring this universe to life.
'House of the Dead' (2003)
"House of the Dead" is the first of many terrible, low-budget video game movies directed by Uwe Boll in the '00s, and it remains one of his worst efforts.
This one is especially frustrating because it shouldn't have been hard to craft a decent zombie movie out of the source material, which is basically just an extended homage to campy B-movies in the first place.
'Alone in the Dark' (2005)
The "Alone in the Dark" games were among the first to showcase how well video games can handle horror. There's probably a great film adaptation to be made, but not when you hand the reins to Uwe Boll.
As with Boll's other video game adaptations, the low budget, laughable script here -- along with the less-than-stellar cast -- all resulted in a critical and commercial dud. "Alone in the Dark" fed into the theory that Boll was purposely making lousy, unsuccessful films in order to exploit tax loopholes.
'Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li' (2009)
1994's "Street Fighter" is far from a great film, but at least there's fun to be had with some friends and adult beverages in tow. The same can't be said for this dreadfully serious reboot, which is just as poorly made but far less entertaining. After all these years, studios still haven't figured out that maybe fighting games don't make the best source material for movies.
'Assassin's Creed' (2016)
We really thought this film would be the one to redeem the video game movie genre. The "Assassin's Creed" franchise is ripe for the film treatment thanks to its complex mythology. And the fact that this spinoff featured both the director and stars of 2016's "Macbeth" only boosted its potential. All of this only made the eventual failure of "Assassin's Creed" that much harder to bear. The film looks great, but like so many other adaptations, it failed to channel the fun of the games.