It was in 1993 that Hollywood realized the dream of putting a video game movie up on the big screen with Super Mario Bros., and setting the stage for a long legacy of questionable choices, troubled productions, and gamers’ pixel tears left in their wake. But like the kid who just has to pump in one more quarter to reach for that high score, the studios keep on trying (while the fans just keep on hoping), and we’re celebrating that sort of sheer tenacity with this guide to the best video game movies (and plenty of the worst) ranked by Tomatometer!
Here, you will find the near-decent (Rampage, Resident Evil), the should’ve-been-goods (Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft), the ridiculous-but-we-love-thems (Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill), and the ones made by Uwe Boll, who deserves his own category (Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead). We’re using a 20-review minimum cutoff for inclusion from theatrical releases only, because it’s not just enough to make a questionable movie, critics need to witness the aftermath, too.
And in May 2019, Detective Pikachu officially broke the video game curse! Fitting that Nintendo, whose Super Mario Bros. movie started all this trouble, would be the one to end it. And in another surprise 2019 development, the second Angry Birds movie has slingshot the naysayers by racking up plenty of critical praise, toppling
Then in 2020, when it didn’t seem it had a chili dog’s chance in hell, Sonic the Hedgehog to general critics enthusiasm, marking three Fresh video game movies in two years. See all the high scores (and lots and lots of the lows) with our guide to 43 video game movies, ranked worst to best!
Adjusted Score: 4.74%
Critics Consensus: Inept on almost every level, Alone in the Dark may not work as a thriller, but it’s good for some head-slapping, incredulous laughter.
Adjusted Score: 4.083%
Critics Consensus: With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat – Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.
Adjusted Score: 4.044%
Critics Consensus: A grungy, disjointed, mostly brainless mess of a film, House of the Dead is nonetheless loaded with unintentional laughs.
Adjusted Score: 5.028%
Critics Consensus: Featuring mostly wooden performances, laughable dialogue, and shoddy production values, In the Name of the King fulfills all expectations of an Uwe Boll film.
Adjusted Score: 5.106%
Critics Consensus: BloodRayne is an absurd sword-and-sorcery vid-game adaptation from schlock-maestro Uwe Boll, featuring a distinguished (and slumming) cast.
Adjusted Score: 6.28%
Critics Consensus: The combination of a shallow plot and miscast performers renders Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li a perfectly forgettable video game adaptation.
Adjusted Score: 9.758%
Critics Consensus: An attempt at political satire that lacks any wit or relevance, Postal is nonetheless one of Uwe Boll’s more successful films — for what it’s worth.
Adjusted Score: 12.491%
Critics Consensus: Hitman: Agent 47 fails to clear the low bar set by its predecessor, forsaking thrilling action in favor of a sleekly hollow mélange of dull violence and product placement.
Adjusted Score: 12.048%
Critics Consensus: Though it offers mild entertainment through campy one-liners and the overacting of the late Raul Julia, Street Fighter’s nonstop action sequences are not enough to make up for a predictable, uneven storyline.
Adjusted Score: 11.609%
Critics Consensus: The low budget may explain Wing Commander’s cheesy special effects, but can’t excuse the lame dialogue or the movie’s obsessive reliance on sci-fi cliches.
Adjusted Score: 11.507%
Critics Consensus: Mediocre effort even by the standards of video game adaptations, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D features weak characters and an incomprehensible plot with a shortage of scares.
Adjusted Score: 18.552%
Critics Consensus: Audiences other than children will find very little to entertain them.
Adjusted Score: 19.051%
Critics Consensus: Hitman features the unfortunate combination of excessive violence, incoherent plot, and inane dialogue.
Adjusted Score: 16.263%
Critics Consensus: Only for diehard Pokemon fans.
Adjusted Score: 20.752%
Critics Consensus: While it boasts some stylish action, Max Payne suffers severely from an illogical plot and overdirection.
Adjusted Score: 17.374%
Critics Consensus: This series isn’t getting any better.
Adjusted Score: 26.573%
Critics Consensus: Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.
Adjusted Score: 20.875%
Critics Consensus: Despite being somewhat more exciting than the previous film, this kiddy flick still lacks any real adventure or excitement. What is does contain is choppy animation and poor voice acting. Doesn’t match up to virtually anything out there.
Adjusted Score: 23.318%
Critics Consensus: The FPS sections are sure to please fans of the video game, but lacking in plot and originality to please other moviegoers.
Adjusted Score: 23.389%
Critics Consensus: Resident Evil: Apocalypse has lots of action, but not much in terms of plot or creativity.
Adjusted Score: 22.197%
Critics Consensus: Critics say that the third Pokemon movie has a better plot than its two predecessors. This is not enough, however, to recommend it to those not already fans of the franchise.
Adjusted Score: 23.462%
Critics Consensus: Ratchet & Clank may satisfy very young viewers, but compared to the many superior options available to families and animation enthusiasts, it offers little to truly recommend.
Adjusted Score: 25.205%
Critics Consensus: Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Lara Croft, but even she can’t save the movie from a senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact.
Adjusted Score: 24.66%
Critics Consensus: As dim-witted and lifeless as its undead antagonists, Resident Evil: Afterlife is a wholly unnecessary addition to the franchise.
Adjusted Score: 29.203%
Critics Consensus: With stock characters and a preposterous plot, this noisily diverting video game adaptation fulfills a Need for Speed and little else.
Adjusted Score: 26.73%
Critics Consensus: Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty.
Adjusted Score: 26.822%
Critics Consensus: Resident Evil: Extinction is more of the same; its few impressive action sequences unable to compensate for the pedestrian plot.
Adjusted Score: 28.831%
Critics Consensus: Though the sequel is an improvement over the first movie, it’s still lacking in thrills.
Adjusted Score: 36.915%
Critics Consensus: Warcraft has visual thrills to spare, but they — and director Duncan Jones’ distinctive gifts — are wasted on a sluggish and derivative adaptation of a bestselling game with little evident cinematic value.
Adjusted Score: 30.092%
Critics Consensus: Resident Evil: Retribution offers everything one might reasonably expect from the fifth installment in a heavily action-dependent franchise — which means very little beyond stylishly hollow CGI-enhanced set pieces.
Adjusted Score: 33.939%
Critics Consensus: Silent Hill is visually impressive, but as with many video game adaptations, it’s plagued by inane dialogue, a muddled plot, and an overlong runtime.
Adjusted Score: 33.758%
Critics Consensus: With a ridiculous plot and comical acting, checking one’s brain at the door is required before watching DOA: Dead or Alive.
Adjusted Score: 38.321%
Critics Consensus: Like other video game adapations, Resident Evil is loud, violent, formulaic, and cheesy.
Adjusted Score: 40.626%
Critics Consensus: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter may prove mind-numbingly chaotic for the unconverted, but for fans of the venerable franchise, it offers a fittingly kinetic conclusion to its violent post-apocalyptic saga.
Adjusted Score: 43.872%
Critics Consensus: It doesn’t offer much in the way of substance, but Prince of Persia is a suitably entertaining swashbuckler — and a substantial improvement over most video game adaptations.
Adjusted Score: 48.88%
Critics Consensus: The Angry Birds Movie is substantially more entertaining than any film adapted from an app has any right to be — which may or may not be much of an endorsement.
Adjusted Score: 49.511%
Critics Consensus: The movie raises the bar for computer animated movies, but the story is dull and emotionally removed.
Adjusted Score: 50.055%
Critics Consensus: Despite an effective otherwordly atmosphere and appropriately cheesy visuals, Mortal Kombat suffers from its poorly constructed plot, laughable dialogue, and subpar acting.
Adjusted Score: 63.91%
Critics Consensus: Rampage isn’t as fun as its source material, but the movie’s sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster.
Adjusted Score: 64.668%
Critics Consensus: Tomb Raider reboots the franchise with a more grounded approach and a star who’s clearly more than up to the task — neither of which are well served by an uninspired origin story.
Adjusted Score: 73.6%
Critics Consensus: Fittingly fleet and frequently fun, Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game-inspired adventure the whole family can enjoy — and a fine excuse for Jim Carrey to tap into the manic energy that launched his career.
Adjusted Score: 81.325%
Critics Consensus: Pokémon Detective Pikachu may not take its wonderfully bizarre premise as far as it could have, but this offbeat adaptation should catch most — if not all — of the franchise’s fans.
Adjusted Score: 77.116%
Critics Consensus: Like its non-aerodynamic title characters, The Angry Birds Movie 2 takes improbable yet delightfully entertaining flight, landing humorous hits along the way.