The 10 Best Video Game Movies Ever Released

Video game movies don't exactly have the most stellar record.

Detective Pikachu might have come out of left field, but it's arguably the best video game movie ever released.
Detective Pikachu might have come out of left field, but it's arguably the best video game movie ever released.

There's a long list of movies that have been released ever since the video game industry started way back in the 1980s that serves as proof that, just because a video game is good it doesn't mean that a movie based on it will perform well.

Then again, that hasn't stopped studios from trying.

In fact, most recently, we've seen live-action adaptions of popular franchises like Mortal Kombat, and Final Fantasy announced.

With that said, just because there's plenty of bad video game movies doesn't mean that there aren't any good ones.

While these movies definitely didn't win too many awards, they did do their fans well.

So, without further delay, let's get started.

Mortal Kombat (1995)

Most video game movies fail because they try to make the ridiculous plots less absurd and make them more realistic.

1995's Mortal Kombat avoids that by going all in.

The movie is literally just about a bunch of fighters lumped in a fantasy world as they fight their hardest to try and save the world from being consumed.

The plot of the movie is just as straightforward and impossible to screw up as that of the video game.

Whether it's because the bar for a video game adaption of Mortal Kombat was low or that Mortal Kombat was just the perfect game to make a movie of or both, the Mortal Kombat video game movie was a dream come true for many fans who, back then, spent countless hours in arcades button-mashing their way to a flawless victory.

Silent Hill (2006)

The 2006 video game adaption of the psychological horror franchise wasn't perfect by any means, but it was more than good enough for a couple of scares and could probably leave you having nightmares for a couple of days.

The Silent Hill movie was released in the mid-2000s where good video game movies were a rare sight and it benefitted from a decent movie cast. It even had a rare Sean Bean survival sighting and a Pyramid Head that was far more terrifying than its video game counterpart.

The movie might have been far from perfect, but as far as video game movies go, it's right up there among the best.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Who knew that a movie adaption of a franchise that's seen better days would perform well in the box office?

Granted, 2020's Sonic the Hedgehog didn't start things off on the right note. The movie was even canceled for a moment after fans lobbied hard against the initial look of Sonic. But, after spending a bit more time in the CGI operating room, Sonic the Hedgehog was released, and well, it seems that the pundits were right.

The extra time spent making Sonic look like, well, Sonic, was a good idea. Not to mention, it had just the right amount of Jim Carry, James Marsden, silliness, heart, and humor, which resulted in a fun family affair that revels in the absurdity of the entire world being at the mercy of a hedgehog that can run faster than the speed of sound.

Warcraft (2016)

Making a good video game movie should be as easy as throwing money at a well-known franchise right?

And, by that, we mean getting a popular video game series, giving it to an award-winning director, and just giving him free reigns.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be enough, or, at least, that's what critics of 2016's Warcraft video game adaption will tell you.

The BAFTA Award winner and beloved indie director, Duncan Jones, was handed the unenviable task of making a Warcraft movie just when the franchise was not exactly at its peak. However, as much negative criticism that the movie deserves, it's not without its merits.

For one, the movie was a commercial success. It grossed $439 million worldwide against a $180 million budget. Granted, that's not a lot of profit to be made, but it is enough to make the movie the best-performing video game adaption of all time.

In addition to this, Warcraft was able to pack a lot of lore in and make even non-fans understand what's going on.

Unfortunately, the game does suffer a bit from trying to squeeze in too much in one go.

With a 123-minute runtime that explored too little of too much, Warcraft felt like a movie that would've been served better if it was a series or multiple episodes. However, it's near-perfect as it is, and serves as proof that a video game adaption can succeed if only more studios were willing to take a chance at throwing as much cash.

Doom (2005)

2005's Doom movie is the perfect example of how five minutes can turn an entire movie around.

For nearly two hours, the entire movie bored fans with what was obviously an attempt to make a different movie out of nearly the same plot and premise as that of the Alien franchise. However, once the perspective switched to first-person with Karl Urban at the helm, things started taking a turn for the better.

That sequence alone is enough to make you want to slog through the entire thing and had the movie featured more moments like that, then we could've probably seen a sequel or two of this movie made.

Even though that's certainly not the case, we can at least be thankful that we saw that five-minute sequence and proof that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson can definitely cut it in Hollywood was only willing to cast him more often into a villain role.

Detective Pikachu (2019)

What do you get when you put Goosebumps director Rob Letter in charge of an eccentric cast of characters that includes the likes of Rita Ora, Tim Goodman, and a talking Pikachu (yes, it's that yellow fuzzy Pokemon) voiced by Ryan Reynolds?

2019's mystery film was less mysterious and more comedic, and we mean that in a very good way.

Detective Pikachu did the Pokemon franchise justice simply by putting in enough time and effort to carefully detail the film's setting with just the right kind of Pokemon and depicted them exactly how fans would have expected them to be seen.

Add in tons of hilarity with just the right amount of drama and you get quite possibly the best video game movie of all time.

Tomb Raider (2018)

2013's Tomb Raider reboot was just asking for a movie adaptation and in 2018, it finally got it.

More than a decade since Angelina Jolie raided tombs, 2018's Tomb Raider film recast the role and gave it to Alicia Vikander, who perfectly pulled off a more vulnerable Lara Croft when she still wasn't the Tomb Raider that earlier games depicted her as.

Alicia's take on Lara is fitting. Although the plot wasn't pulled directly from the rebooted series, there are similarities. In particular, where the new Lara seems to be more at home in the city than raiding tombs.

With that said, for all its flaws, the movie remains a beautiful piece of action cinema with thrilling sequences that should only get better down the line with a sequel currently in development and expected to release soon.

Resident Evil (2002)

How many Resident Evil movies have Milla Jovovich starred in? Has it been five? Six? Seven? Seriously, we've lost count.

Not that we really cared for it anyway after the first movie was released.

The thing is, the Resident Evil video games were never known for their plot. The story is B-movie level, at best. However, what makes the franchise so good is that it's not afraid to go all-in on its lore without really forgetting that, at its very core, it's still a franchise that built its popularity on making some of the best survival-horror games in video game history.

The subsequent sequels to the Resident Evil movie seem to have forgotten that, much like how Resident Evil 5 and 6 made you forget about the survival part.

With the original Resident Evil movie though, that's not the case.

The slow-burn through the mansion holds up just as well today because it didn't rely too heavily on the action sequences and required suspension of disbelief for the entire movie. Mind you, there still was plenty of entertainment to be had and Milla Jovovich was perfect in her role as Alice.

It's also worth noting that this 2002 movie pulled off setting up sequels perfectly way before Iron Man did in 2008.

Street Fighter (1994)

As we've already mentioned earlier, video game movies fail when they try to do too much.

This is where the 1994 video game movie, Street Fighter, excels. It's because it didn't try to be more than a movie based on a game where the premise is basically just ridiculously powerful martial artists fighting against each other.

The movie is literally just all about fighting and ended with a fitting battle between Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia.

With era-appropriate actors and actresses like Damian Chapa and Kylie Minogue appearing, Street Fighter was a JCVC movie done right.

Rampage (2018)

If "dumb fun" and "requiring suspension of disbelief" are words that you're looking for to describe a movie, then Rampage is for you.

Once again, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson makes an appearance on our list. The only difference is that this time around, he's cast in a protagonist's role, as he has been for the better part of the past decade or two.

Rampage is a movie based on the monster arcade game series from Midway that most of us aren't really old enough to remember.

Still, the fact that it's a video game movie means that it warrants inclusion on our list.

So, what is the movie all about? Well, apparently, a huge gorilla, a wolf-life creature, and another sea creature are all hell-bent on destroying everything in their path. It's then up to Johnson to stop them before they end up destroying the entire city and who knows what next.

Again, like we just said, dumb fun.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter and LinkedIn.