Releasing on September 14th of this year is the 5th installment of Paul W. S. Anderson’s Resident Evil film series. While received by mixed critical reviews and a mixed audience, the series has pulled in enough of a fan base to earn the latest entry in the saga $26.6 million on its opening weekend. Though I don’t find myself particularly intrigued by the Resident Evil film series, I can understand why it’s been able to pull in a crowd as well as it does. Rather than simply transferring the game script into film, the movies adapt their own story and characters to a mythos that already exists, allowing for some creative liberties that tweak things about the game that would not translate well onto the big screen.
In thinking about the Resident Evil series, I couldn’t help but formulate in my head a list of other film adaptations that simply missed the mark and did little more than play insult to the source material. While there are many to be mentioned, here are my top 3:
Any Uwe Boll Adaptation (BloodRayne I and II; House of the Dead I and II; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Alone in the Dark I and II; Far Cry)
It was hard to come up with just one movie for the number one slot, especially with such a infamous adaptor of video games at large. Uwe Boll has taken some rather creative and entertaining titles and turned them into disgusting messes on the big screen. From the decision to cast Christian Slater and Tara Reid in the atmosphere-driven Alone in the Dark to the complete rape of the camp that made House of the Dead what it was, Uwe Boll has proven time and time again that those who own the rights to games need to stop jumping at every movie deal so blindly. One exception to Boll’s list of atrocious adaptations was Postal, which only succeeds in following the games over-the-top zaniness in only a way Uwe Boll could produce.
I remember watching Mortal Kombat when I was in middle school and thinking I was a bad-ass because it was based off of the controversial Midway fighting games and, therefor, was deemed taboo. Recently, though, I subjected myself to the film once more and found that, disappointingly, there was nothing about the movie that did any justice to the controversy surrounding the games. Having received a PG-13 rating, it’s evident that none of the staple gore and violence made it into the film, leaving only the weak and somewhat ridiculous storyline as the films main attraction. While some would say Mortal Kombat 2: Armageddon was the worse of the two films (and really, it was), it was the original film that set the low standard for what could have at least been an amusing gore-fest – which is exactly what the original Mortal Kombat games were.
I thought anything featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was going to be an instant blockbuster, but 2005’s Doom brought me back to a cold, harsh reality. Implementing a First Person Shooter style of filming for a portion of the film, Doom attempted to raise tension throughout the movie, but what it succeed in was only dizzying people – much like the Blaire Witch Project. Unlike Blair Witch, though, the Doom adaptation was unable to represent the atmosphere that was a staple of the series, especially the more recent 3rd installment. With its action heavy-focus and an explanation for the inhuman monsters that couldn’t be further from the games, Doom’s only connection left to the series was its name and setting.
There may be other titles out there that deserver to be on this list most – say, for example, Wing Commander – but of the ones I’ve had the misfortune of seeing, these were definitely amongst the worst. While it’s safe for the movie to detach itself from the source material, one must know where these separations can. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with a bloody mess and a movie completely undeserving of the title it carries.