Which video game movies are worth your time (and which ones you should avoid)

Detective Pikachu video game movies

Movies based on video games haven’t always had the best reputation. Some, like the recently released Detective Piakchu, offer a fresh twist on characters we’ve grown up with. Others, like last year’s Tomb Raider, understand what made us fall in love with those characters in the first place. However, let’s be generous and say that some can be… a little rough.

So, we’re to help you sieve for the chunks of cinematic gold that are hidden among the dregs.

Detective Pikachu – Watch

Detective pikachu video game movie

Detective Pikachu may have only just hit cinemas, but it’s already one of the better video game movies out there. Ryan Reynolds brings his effortless charm to the world of Pokémon, giving the film a comic energy that will entertain fans of the series and curious cinema-goers alike.

On top of that, there’s a thrill from seeing a new take on the pocket monsters. The neon-drenched Ryme City is a great backdrop for a mystery involving a missing father and a talking Pikachu that we’re not used to seeing from the Poké-universe.

Super Mario Bros. – Avoid

Super Mario Bros’s reputation for being a big swing and a miss is fairly deserved. The main problem is that it completely misunderstands what makes Mario so popular. His bright, vibrant world is replaced with a grotty aesthetic that is admirably weird, but never feels like the right fit for gaming’s most iconic dungaree-wearer.

Resident Evil – Watch

While this isn’t a zombie classic like the video game series, there’s pulpy fun to be had with the first Resident Evil movie. It takes Capcom’s classic survival horror story and gives it more of an action flavour. And you can’t say it didn’t inspire the series, as one scene involving laser cutters ended up making it into Resident Evil 4 as well.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li – Avoid

This peculiar take on Street Fighter has some (unintentionally) hilarious moments, but its gritty take on the legendary fighting series feels at odds with the video game’s larger-than-life visual design. It does score some points for focusing on Chun-Li instead of taking the easy route and making it about Ryu though.

Tomb Raider – Watch

tomb raider film

Following in the footsteps of Lara’s 2013 video game reboot, this action film sees Alicia Vikander play Lara, as she heads to the island of Yamatai to investigate her father’s disappearance. Vikander is great as one of gaming’s most prominent icons, capturing Lara’s restless sense of adventure, while the action matches the pace and scale of Lara’s recent exploits.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – Avoid

If the recent film followed Lara’s more recent exploits, then this 2001 blockbuster follows the globe-trotting exploits of Lara’s earlier adventures. Despite a surprisingly strong cast (Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, and Jon Voight all turn up in it), the rather silly plot never gives them much to work with.

Rampage – Watch

Why are we recommending a movie version of an arcade game where you play as a giant monster demolishing a city? Four words: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. This goofy film is perfect Sunday afternoon fodder, as Johnson charmingly saunters his way through increasingly explosive set-pieces, managing to build a pretty strong rapport with a giant CGI ape, which is worth the price of admission alone.

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