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I found this task of picking the five worst movies based on video games rather daunting because there are so many bad ones to choose from. I could do a whole list just based on Uwe Boll movies, but even some of his work isn’t as awful as others that came before him. Here are what I consider five of the worst movies based on or inspired by video gaming.
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The Wizard (1989)
This movie is probably the longest infomercial ever, because the whole thing was just an ongoing advertisement for Nintendo based around Super Mario Brothers 3. It has gained notoriety for its blatant promotion of the Nintendo Power Glove, which is recognize by most 80’s gamers as the worst interface device ever created in the history of humankind. I love the scene where it shows the poofy-haired kid playing Rad Racer and then says, “I love the Power Glove. It’s soooo bad.” No kidding! Fred Savage pretty much wrecked his movie career with this one. Honestly, it’s not a completely terrible movie, but the whole Power Glove thing is what put it on this list.
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Given the popularity of the Doom PC games, it was inevitable that a movie would be made of it. Despite having stars like The Rock and Karl Urban, this one was a total disaster. It bombed at the box office and hopefully there won’t ever be a sequel. Perhaps the most interesting scene in this movie was where it mimics a first person shooter by having the camera front and center while a guy goes through some hallways. It was an interesting tribute to the game, but that doesn’t help when the best part of the whole movie is a first person camera shot that only lasts a minute or two.
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Super Mario Brothers (1993)
The Internet Movie Database credits this as being the first movie based on a video game, but that’s something I always attributed to the 1984 movie called Cloak & Dagger. This movie is universally regarded as bad because of all its campy slapstick and attempts to be like the game. It should have been obvious to the people behind this one that you can’t make a movie about plumbers who fight turtles and eat mushrooms and expect it to translate well to the screen. Even the two stars, Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo, later admitted how much they disliked working on the movie, with Hoskins going so far as to say it was the worst movie he ever did.
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Double Dragon (1994)
It’s B-grade movies like this that kept co-star Mark Dacascos off the A-list. He’s a champion fighter and has the look and physique to have been more mainstream, but his acting resume drips cheese. This movie was a big box office bomb that came out the year after Super Mario Brothers, at a time when people had already moved on from the old Nintendo. There wasn’t much plot to the game, other than a couple of guys going around beating people up. This movie, which co-stars Alyssa Milano, seemed geared more toward kids and plays a lot like a Power Rangers episode, but not even that good.
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House of the Dead (2003)
The name of writer/producer/director Uwe Boll has become synonymous with ‘bad game-based movie’ because of all his many critical and commercial misfires. He uses various foreign investors and government funding to churn out one bad movie after another, and I think he’s like a modern day Ed Wood. Out of all his movies, I am putting this one on the list because it was his first movie based on a video game. It’s so awful that there is a commentary track on the DVD where some of the producers make fun of it, and they were the ones who put the money up for this thing. The funniest part of this movie was when it spliced in clips from the actual video game.