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The Least-Awful Gaming Movies To Watch, If You Really Have To

The Least-Awful Gaming Movies To Watch, If You Really Have To

Playing video games is a guaranteed good way to beat the isolation blues - whether you're adventuring alone, with fellow stay-at-home sorts in same-sofa co-op, or online alongside (or against) either friends or complete strangers. There are options, is what I'm saying. But what happens when you need to put the pad down, or give those mechanical keys a rest as all the clacking is disturbing your neighbour's live-streamed yoga session? Well, you could always watch a movie.

And if you know anything about movies, you'll know that some movies - some not-all-that-great movies - are based on video games and/or video game franchises. And maybe, just maybe, you're thinking: hey, I like games, and I like movies, so how's about I watch a gaming movie? To which all I can say is: watch with caution, friend, because when I said that some aren't all that great, oh boy, a whole heap of them absolutely suck.

But I don't want to get into those ones. The real disasters. Not even the Super Mario Bros. or Street Fighter movies. This is neither the time, nor the place, to spare brain real estate reconsidering those nightmares. Rather, I'm going to focus on a handful of films that, under the right circumstances, can be watchable, at least. Right? Some of them? At least?

Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat
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MORTAL KOMBAT (1995)

What happens in it: (Tilts back head, takes deep breath, bellows) MORTAL KOMBAT. Really, there's little more to say, here. Characters from the game fight each other, in a tournament. It's the game, made into a movie.

Why you should watch it: (Tilts back head, takes deep breath, bellows) MORTAL KOMBAT. Again, what more do you need? I suppose Goro's pretty funny. And Christopher Lambert positively chews the scenery all the way through, as Raiden/Rayden. You can see the fun he's having with the, ahem, material, in every shot.

Recommended level of drunkenness: Extraordinarily, ideally.

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The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 5/10 sober, 10/10 drunk

Resident Evil
Resident Evil

RESIDENT EVIL (2002)

What happens in it: While certain locations, monsters and names are intact in this film that kicked off a whole cinematic franchise - six flicks and counting, as a reboot's in the works - a lot of people coming to this off the back of the 1996 game will be a little miffed by the whole Red Queen thing. At least, I was. What Resident Evil definitely does deliver is hordes of zombies, a wholly knackered Raccoon City, a spooky mansion, and more than a tease of something Nemesis-shaped.

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Why you should watch it: Have you ever seen a human pass through a potato chipper? It suddenly got a lot easier to, ahem, throw Shade. Sorry. Also, Milla Jovovich runs up a wall and fly-kicks a zombie dog through a window, which is, frankly, a magnificent thing to see.

Recommended level of drunkenness: Yeah, I'm going to say four cans into a six-pack is probably the best kind of buzz to be feeling, by the time you reach a licker getting friendly with James Purefoy. Those special effects really haven't held up.

The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 5/10

DOOM
DOOM
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DOOM (2005)

What happens in it: A bunch of marines go to Mars to investigate some bad goings on, only to discover that, as per the nature of those bad goings ons, Mars is a pretty bad place to be. Demons are in very short supply, though - this movie, unlike the games it's mostly based on, is more about genetically mutated humans than it is any denizens of Hell itself. Ergo, it's Resident Evil: Dwayne Johnson edition.

Why you should watch it: It's the week of DOOM Eternal's release, so why not? There's a nudge-wink, see-we-know-about-games first-person shooting sequence in it. It stars both The Rock and a fella who used to be in Press Gang and present GamesMaster. And yes, there's a BFG in it.

Recommended level of drunkenness: Quite, quite pished, TBH. That way you can laugh along at the appalling acting from all involved, while still enjoying all the splattery gore.

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The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 4/10, but much like MK, with the right level of buzz in your blood, you could double that

Silent Hill
Silent Hill

SILENT HILL (2006)

What happens in it: Rose, played by Radha Mitchell, is so disturbed by her adopted daughter's dreams of a place called Silent Hill that she travels there, looking for answers. First mistake, that. Inevitably, a whole lot of fog rolls in, and with it, all kinds of nightmarish nastiness - including that lad with the pointy head. And later, razor wire. Like, miles and miles of the stuff. Just, everywhere. Someone's gonna have to clean that up.

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Why you should watch it: Spoiler, but Sean Bean doesn't die in this one. Other than that, Silent Hill does actually, kind of, get under your skin. Not in the same way as the games, but there's something about this movie, something really dark and wicked, that sticks with you after you've watched it. Some of that feeling may stem from the fact it uses the same music as the games, which is creepy AF. It also, frequently, looks incredible, assuming you can stand to watch the more depraved stuff that's happening.

Recommended level of drunkenness: IDK if a belly full of booze is the right move, TBH. It could quickly be coming back up again.

The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 5/10

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (2010)

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What happens in it: Celebrity Quaker Sir Ben Kingsley happens a lot in it, that's for sure. Story wise, Jake Gyllenhaal's character of Dastan, aka the Prince, gets himself a magical dagger, which is capable of all manner of time-rewinding tomfoolery. If you played the game of the same name from 2003, you kind of know how this goes; only the film version has more Gemma Arterton and Alfred Molina, if that's a factor for you.

Why you should watch it: It's a dumb, fun blockbuster movie that also happens to be based on a game. It never takes itself too seriously, the effects look good, Sir Ben Kingsley is intensely Sir Ben Kingsley the whole way through, and while Gyllenhaal has since said he regrets taking the gig, Prince of Persia is better than some of his subsequent movies, like the sci-fi snoozefest of Life and the artsy mess of Velvet Buzzsaw.

Recommended level of drunkenness: You don't need anything strong as everything skips along pretty breathlessly. A light session ale, regularly topped up, will see you through.

The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 6/10

Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider

TOMB RAIDER (2018)

What happens in it: Lara Croft becomes the tomb raider in a story that pretty much follows the same events as 2013's series-rebooting game, but really lacks the supporting-cast charm of its interactive predecessor.

Why you should watch it: Arguably, no actor has filled the boots of a video game icon quite so masterfully as Alicia Vikander does here, as Lara Croft. She fits the role perfectly, making Angelina Jolie's earlier depiction of the character feel entirely two-dimensional. (Ironic, given her, um, dimensions? Sorry, sorry.)

Recommended level of drunkenness: A couple of gin and tonics will keep you sufficiently watered.

The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 6/10

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

POKÉMON: DETECTIVE PIKACHU (2019)

What happens in it: Pikachu talks! And then he sniffs out a mystery. And London looks sorta weird. And Bill Nighy is loving it. As is Ken Watanabe. And Rita Ora is here, too, because, okay?

Why you should watch it: Detective Pikachu is a big-hearted family film that'll leave you feeling all warm inside. Which is more than can be said for any of the other movies in this limited list. Also: the pokémon themselves are gloriously brought to life, all floofy fur and gloopy spit and weird bodily noises. Or maybe that last one was me, IDK.

Recommended level of drunkenness: A few pints of coffee is probably the way to go, here. Not to keep you awake, but to heighten your senses so that all of the sparkle here really hits its mark.

The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 7/10 (and you can read a review of it, here)

Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2020)

What happens in it: The alien Sonic - not actually a hedgehog, as such - hides out on Earth because his home planet really isn't it, any more. He lurks around a small-town policeman, and the two ultimately form an unlikely friendship that isn't unlike that of Roger Rabbit and Eddie Valiant. Jim Carrey shows up and steals the show. Credits roll.

Why you should watch it: What I said about Alice Vikander? Jim Carrey runs her close, as a perma-wired Doctor Robotnik who's ever-so-slightly more homicidal than his video game counterpart. When he's on screen, a good time's being had. When it's just SEGA's blue blur and his cop pal? Kinda less so.

Recommended level of drunkenness: If you stood up for SEGA in the playground back in the 1990s, you might need those shots lined up and ready to hit. And if not? You'll still get a bigger kick out of the (deliberately?) awful jokes with some alcohol inside you.

The score we'd give it, if it was a game: 5/10 (and we did review it, just over here)

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Let us know your favourite gaming movies - it's okay, we won't judge. Get in touch via our social platforms, and give us a follow or a like, if you like - we're on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Topics: tomb raider, Movies, pokemon, Resident Evil, Prince of Persia, Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill, DOOM, Sonic The Hedgehog, gamingbible, Films

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Mike Diver

Head of Content at GAMINGbible. Former gigs include VICE Gaming, BBC Music, BBC Gaming Show. Author of 'Indie Games: The Complete Introduction to Indie Gaming' (2016), 'How to Be a Professional Gamer' (2016), 'Retro Gaming: A Byte-Sized History of Video Games' (2019). Contact: [email protected]