The 41 worst video game movies of all time, ranked

From Sonic the Hedgehog to Mortal Kombat and Warcraft, these are the films that give the phrase "video game movie" a bad rap.

Fox Van Allen
Fox Van Allen is a Los Angeles-based writer for CBS Interactive covering technology, tech lifestyle and gaming topics for GameSpot, CNET, ZDNet and TechRepublic. He has previously worked as a news and feature writer for a number of other sites, including Techlicious, Tecca, WoW Insider (Joystiq) and Blizzard Watch. In his spare time, Fox is an amateur skydiver, retro gaming and arcade enthusiast, 8-bit pixel artist, podcaster and Twitch live streamer.
Fox Van Allen
1 of 42 Paramount Pictures

The 41 worst video game movies, ranked

Will our redesigned beast in blue be a box office hero or a total bust? Though early ticket-sales estimates are promising, many critics have not been kind to the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie starring Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as the voice of Sonic.

Given its middling reviews, Sonic fits in a long trend of poorly received video game movies. From the early days of Super Mario Bros. and Double Dragon to recent busts such as Warcraft and Assassin's Creed, we've ranked the worst video game movies ever released based on their scores from CNET sister site Metacritic. (When a Metascore isn't available or two movies are tied, we rank via their Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb scores.) 

2 of 42 New Line Cinema

41. Mortal Kombat (1995)

When it comes to video game movies, Paul W. S. Anderson's Mortal Kombat is the best of the worst.

Says Kim Newman of Empire in the review: "The filmmakers try to solve the problem of turning an experience which merely consists of a series of fights into a story by... ignoring it, presenting a film which merely consists of a series of fights."

Metacritic Metascore: 59 out of 100

3 of 42 Warner Bros.

40. Detective Pikachu (2019)

Here at CNET, we absolutely adore Detective Pikachu. Our own Sean Keane hailed the Easter egg-filled comedy as the "best video game movie ever."

Mainstream movie reviewers (read: non-fans) were far less kind. "This is 1 hour and 44 minutes of Pikachu short circuiting your brain," complains Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times.

Metacritic Metascore: 53 out of 100

4 of 42 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

39. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

This Jake Gyllenhaal adventure underwhelmed at the US box office despite its $200 million budget.

"The two leads are not inspired," said Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times. "Jake Gyllenhaal could make the cover of a muscle mag, but he plays Dastan as if harboring Spider-Man's doubts and insecurities. I recall Gemma Arterton (who plays Tamina) as a gorgeous still photo in a cosmetics ad."

Metacritic Metascore: 50 out of 100

5 of 42 Screen Gems

38. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the final installment in the six-part Resident Evil saga, was the best one received by critics -- perhaps in part because the series was finally over?

Says Michael Nordine of The Wrap: "For the first time, the story supports and adds to the action rather than distract from it; it's almost as though Anderson was holding back in the earlier films because he wanted to save the best for last."

Metacritic Metascore: 49 out of 100

6 of 42 Paramount Pictures

37. Tomb Raider (2018)

This Alicia Vikander-led reboot failed to wow the critics. CNET's Richard Trenholm says Vikander "deserves better" and likened the first half of Tomb Raider to an in-game cutscene you'd prefer to skip.

Says Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal: "Ms. Vikander has leapt into the void of a franchise reboot, based on a video-game reboot, that generates no joy, makes negligible sense, and seals its own tomb with a climax of perfect absurdity."

Metacritic Metascore: 48 out of 100

7 of 42 Paramount Pictures

36. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

Originally due in theaters in 2019, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was delayed to 2020 due to significant backlash over the popular Sega character's creepy, toothy design. But while the movie looks great visually, critics panned the hokey script.

"It's a shame Sonic the Hedgehog's forgettable jokes don't live up to its visuals, but it's a decent cinematic start for the blue blur," writes CNET's Sean Keane in his Sonic the Hedgehog review.

Metacritic Metascore: 47 out of 100

8 of 42 Warner Bros.

35. Rampage (2018)

According to CNET's Richard Trenholm, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Rampage hardly lives up to its name... or its source material.

"The fun of the opening act gives way to a turgid, noisy and repetitive battle through city streets," he says. "For a movie based on a video game about giant animals chomping on fighter planes, it's surprisingly un-epic."

Metacritic Metascore: 45 out of 100

9 of 42 Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group

34. The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

What happens when you try to stretch a wildly popular mobile game into a family-friendly big screen experience? Nothing good, according to GameSpot's Justin Haywald.

"The Angry Birds movie is not funny," says Haywald. "Angry Birds is instead, an unintentional copy of the mobile game it's based on: a short, forgettable time-waster."

Metacritic Metascore: 43 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%

10 of 42 Paramount Pictures

33. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

This sequel to the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider sees our heroine, played by Angelina Jolie, uncover the mystery of a real-life Pandora's box. 

Like the mythical box, this film is best left untouched.

"It wouldn't be fair to gripe about the hundreds of plot holes," states Michael Atkinson of the Village Voice. "The whole thing is hole."

Metacritic Metascore: 43 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 24%

11 of 42 Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group

32. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

This third installment in the Resident Evil film series, starring Milla Jovovich as Alice and Ali Larter as Claire Redfield, is an improvement over the "silly second installment," according to Empire's Helen O'Hara. Still, that's not enough to make it a good movie.

"Unfortunately, the new pic never really reaches maximum velocity as a full-throttle action-adventure opus, despite game efforts by returning star Milla Jovovich," adds Variety's Joe Leydon.

Metacritic Metascore: 41 out of 100

12 of 42 Screen Gems

31. Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth movie in the zombie saga, sees Milla Jovovich's Alice escaping from an underwater Umbrella facility in Northern Russia.

"Funny about retribution, though," says Tom Russo of the Boston Globe, "it's a tricky thing to make time for when you've still got mutant zombie hordes after you. The real premise turns out to be a busy rehash of the first movie's story line."

Metacritic Metascore: 39 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%

13 of 42 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

30. Need for Speed (2014)

Need for Speed proved that you can definitely make a movie out of a racing game. Sadly, it does little to prove that you should.

"The cars are hot, the action is decent," starts Total Film's James Mottram, "but the characters and plot need a serious tune-up."

Metacritic Metascore: 39 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 23%

14 of 42 Dimension Films

29. DOA: Dead or Alive (2007)

There's no shortage of skin in this movie, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's played the fighting game series. That didn't help with critics or at the box office, though.

"Free of blood, bruises and visible trauma, DOA revels in its fakery," writes Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times. "And though the film presents more exuberant female flesh than hiring day at Hooters, it's strictly for titillation."

Metacritic Metascore: 38 out of 100

15 of 42 Screen Gems

28. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth film in the Resident Evil sextet (and the first to be filmed in 3D), sees Alice travel the Pacific from Alaska to Los Angeles to Tokyo, albeit in more clothes than its reviewers were expecting.

"This witless installment features the usual ultra-slow-motion mayhem and helpful freeze-frames to allow us to admire the extra dimension," says Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times. "Fans will not be happy, however, to learn that Ms. Jovovich is more decently clothed this time around."

Metacritic Metascore: 37 out of 100

16 of 42 20th Century Studios

27. Assassin's Creed (2016)

While the Assassin's Creed games are set mainly in the past, this movie is set largely in the present. And it turns out that the switch doesn't make for a great watch.

"It's hard to recommend this film unless you're willing to put up with a lot of sloppy plot development for a few genuinely good action scenes," writes GameSpot's Tony Wilson in his Assassin's Creed movie review.

Metacritic Metascore: 36 out of 100

17 of 42 Warner Bros./Toho

26. Pokemon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back! (1999)

Is it any surprise that the first Pokemon movie released in theaters is the best of the bunch? It's a "long-form episode of a show better digested in 22-minute segments," says the SF Examiner's Wesley Morris.

A CG remake of Pokemon: The First Movie will arrive on Netflix on Feb. 27, 2020.

Metacritic Metascore: 35 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 15%

18 of 42 20th Century Studios

25. Hitman (2007)

This flick about an elite assassin doesn't skimp on the gore, but it otherwise fails to capture any of the excitement of the well-reviewed game it's based on.

Says Jack Mathews of the Daily News: "[Timothy] Olyphant, affecting Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry voice, is about as menacing as Mr. Clean, and the action scenes -- whether the weapons are fists, feet, swords or guns -- fly past without any tension or suspense. Hitman is a miss."

Metacritic Metascore: 35 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 14%

19 of 42 Sony Pictures Releasing

24. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

This second film in the Resident Evil series, set in post-outbreak Raccoon City, was absolutely demolished by critics.

"An utterly meaningless waste of time," laments Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times about Resident Evil: Apocalypse. "It is a dead zone, a film without interest, wit, imagination or even entertaining violence and special effects."

Metacritic Metascore: 35 out of 100

20 of 42 Universal Pictures

23. Doom (2005)

Doom is a cautionary tale of what "not to do" when making a video game movie (or so says its star, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson).

"We don't need a discussion of plot in a review of a movie made from a video game, do we?" asked Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer. "Nor do we care whether the characters are complicated (no), the acting is sophisticated (no), the direction is competent (no) or the camerawork is clever (no)."

Metacritic Metascore: 34 out of 100

21 of 42 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

22. Resident Evil (2002)

Well, it's now official: There are six Resident Evil movies, and every single one of them made this list. And according to critics, the first of them all is also the worst of them all.

Still, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times found something to like. "The movie is 'Dawn of the Dead' crossed with John Carpenter's 'Ghosts of Mars,' with zombies not as ghoulish as the first and trains not as big as the second. The movie does however have Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez."

Metacritic Metascore: 33 out of 100

22 of 42 Paramount Pictures

21. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Making nearly $275 million at the box office, it's hard to argue that Lara Croft: Tomb Raider isn't a hit. Reviewers weren't as happy with it, though.

"The opportunity to give (Angelina) Jolie the room to swagger like the 'Charlie's Angels' or 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' ladies is utterly squandered, and a video game franchise that might've resulted in a hoot of a film -- has been blown to dust," writes Shawn Levy of The Oregonian.

Metacritic Metascore: 33  out of 100

23 of 42 Universal Pictures

20. Warcraft (2016)

Warcraft, based on the epic Blizzard Entertainment franchise that's still going strong, was a hit with audiences in China. It's actually one of the highest-grossing video game adaptations of all time. It wasn't well received in the United States, however.

"No, Warcraft isn't a ridiculous mess; it holds together on its own musclebound terms," says Kyle Smith of the New York Post. "It's a real movie, just not a good one."

Metacritic Metascore: 32 out of 100

24 of 42 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/TriStar Pictures

18. Silent Hill (2006)

Based on the psychological horror game of the same name, Silent Hill is a tale about an abandoned town with a connection to a hellish dimension. The 1999 PlayStation game is great, but the movie is not.

"Silent Hill has plenty of bad acting, bad dialogue and a confusing plot," complains Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle, "all of which become exponentially more painful when the movie goes on forever."

Metacritic Metascore: 31 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 31%

25 of 42 20th Century Studios

19. Max Payne (2008)

Not even the star power of Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis could save this anti-hero cop flick from being savaged by critics.

"What kills Max Payne is that the characters think and feel in slow motion," explains Michael Sragow of the Baltimore Sun. "Half the time, mentally, they're just running in place."

Metacritic Metascore: 31 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%

26 of 42 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

17. Ratchet and Clank (2016)

This film's star-studded voice-acting cast (including Sylvester Stallone, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson and Paul Giamatti) drew plenty of hate from critics, who panned the movie's lazy writing and obsession with guns.

GameSpot's Mike Mahardy says that despite all the travel in Ratchet and Clank, the movie "never seems to take us anywhere."

Metacritic Metascore: 29 out of 100

27 of 42 Warner Bros./Toho

16. Pokemon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

The second Pokemon film released in the US was adored by Pokemon-obsessed kids, but adult movie critics just didn't get it.

Says Desson Thomson of The Washington Post: "Avoid this movie unless a) your child has refused to eat until you take him or her, or b) your house is being fumigated to kill an infestation of mosquitoes with the West Nile virus."

Metacritic Metascore: 28 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%

28 of 42 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

15. Super Mario Bros. (1993)

The connections between this movie and the Super Mario Bros. series feel all wrong -- its world is more gray than colorful, it's a bit too "adult" and President Koopa is a human (Dennis Hopper).

Perhaps the next Mario movie, due in 2022, will be better?

Metacritic Metascore: n/a
Rotten Tomatoes: 15%
IMDB: 4.0/10

29 of 42 Universal Pictures/Columbia Pictures

14. Street Fighter (1994)

Though the movie was a box-office success, there's not a ton to like about the movie adaptation of Street Fighter. It's a bit too campy and not that faithful to the game.

Critics did, however, enjoy Raúl Juliá's acting as M. Bison: Juliá was nominated for best supporting actor at the 21st Saturn Awards.

Metacritic Metascore: n/a
Rotten Tomatoes: 15%
IMDB: 3.9/10

30 of 42 20th Century Studios

13. Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

This Hitman movie reboot swaps out Timothy Olyphant for Rupert Friend, whose Agent 47 is "lacking in personality," per TimeOut's Cath Clarke.

"It's all as pointless as the asthma inhaler with which one character treats his advanced lung cancer," adds Kyle Smith of the New York Post.

Metacritic Metascore: 28
Rotten Tomatoes: 8%

31 of 42 Warner Bros./Toho

12. Pokemon 4Ever (2002)

In a word: Was the fourth animated Pokemon movie to be released in the United States a good movie? No.

"Supposedly, Pokemon can't be killed," writes Variety's Robert Koehler, "but Pokemon 4Ever practically assures that the pocket monster movie franchise is nearly ready to keel over."

Metacritic Metascore: 25 out of 100

32 of 42 Warner Bros./Toho

11. Pokemon 3: The Movie (2001)

The third Pokemon movie delves into the unknown -- or should we say the Unown? -- but does little to win over adult movie critics.

"Two Tylenol and a pair of earplugs might be enough to get you through Pokemon 3: The Movie," jokes Robin Rauzi of the Los Angeles Times.

Metacritic Metascore: 22 out 100

33 of 42 Vivendi Entertainment

10. Postal (2008)

This Uwe Boll-directed film (uh oh) starts with a "funny" take on the September 11 attacks (no, please), meanders through an amusement park where women are wearing bikinis and Hitler mustaches (what in the actual hell), and ends with George W. Bush launching nukes against China and Pakistan (really).

"Poorly framed, tone-deaf, and nonsensical (yet still Boll's best!)," says Aaron Hillis of the Village Voice.

Boll's attempt to make a sequel to Postal via a Kickstarter campaign fell flat in 2013, raising less than $30,000.

Metacritic Metascore: 22 out of 100

34 of 42 20th Century Studios

9. Wing Commander (1999)

This box office failure, loosely based on the Wing Commander computer game series, is a veritable late-'90s time capsule: It stars Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard.

"Pretty much everything in this high-space war yarn has been swiped from other, better movies," complained Andrew O'Hehir of Salon.

Metacritic Metascore: 21 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 10%

35 of 42 Gramercy Pictures

8. Double Dragon (1994)

Another relic from the "early days" of video game movies, Double Dragon stars Scott Wolfe, Mark Dacascos and Alyssa Milano in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles (circa 2007).

Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called the "clumsily paced" movie a "Ninja turtle soup of computer gimmicks, karate chops and kiddie Confucianism."

Metacritic Metascore: n/a
Rotten Tomatoes: 8%

36 of 42 Boll KG Productions

7. Bloodrayne (2006)

Another poorly received Uwe Boll adaptation, vampire flick Bloodrayne was a massive drag at the box office, grossing only $3.7 million.

"While there's no fun in mediocrity, ludicrousness is another matter. Boll is the best at what he does, and what he does is make truly terrible films," states Elizabeth Weitzman of the Daily News.

Metacritic Metascore: 18 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 4%

37 of 42 20th Century Studios

6. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)

This non-canon Street Fighter film starring Kristin Kreuk as Chun-Li, Neal McDonough as M. Bison and Black Eyed Peas member Taboo as Vega is a poorly received tie-in for Street Fighter IV.

Says Sam Adams of the Los Angeles Times: "Even with the low expectations The Legend of Chun-Li engenders, it still somehow manages to be a letdown."

Metacritic Metascore: 18 out of 100

38 of 42 Open Road Films

5. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012)

Though this sequel to Silent Hill starred Adelaide Clemens and Kit Harington and made money at the box office, reviewers were disappointed in the acting, plot, scares and the implementation of 3D effects.

"Silent Hill: Revelation fundamentally misunderstands the appeal of its source material," says Claum Marsh of Slant.

Metacritic Metascore: 16 out of 100

39 of 42 20th Century Fox

4. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)

Another Uwe Boll-directed bomb (his work on it earned him the Razzie for worst director), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale features disappointing performances from Jason Statham, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta and Burt Reynolds as they try to make sense of a terrible script.

The Globe and Mail's Rick Groen slammed the film: "Is this movie so god-awful bad that it's hilariously good? Can't be bothered deciding. Figure that's an answer in itself."

Metacritic Metascore: 15 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
IMDB: 3.8/10

40 of 42 Lionsgate Home Entertainment

3. House of the Dead (2003)

If you're a fan of "poorly choreographed gunplay, many lovingly rendered head explosions, and some half-assed exposition about centuries-old, immortality-seeking pirates," says Keith Phipps of AV Club, then this Uwe Boll film is totally for you.

Says David Grove of Film Threat: "Here's a would-be horror film that contains not one ounce of professional pride in its making, not one shred of technical competence. This is one of the worst films of recent times."

Metacritic Metascore: 15 of out 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
IMDB: 2.0/10

41 of 42 New Line Cinema

2. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

When asked for his least-favorite Mortal Kombat moment, series co-creator Ed Boon cited this Mortal Kombat 3-based movie sequel: "I don't know if this is my least favorite memory, but I wasn't a big fan of the second movie [Mortal Kombat: Annihilation]."

Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times agrees: "Here's the lowdown on the latest chapter in Mortal Kombat: deadly dull."

Metacritic Metascore: 11 out of 100

42 of 42 Lionsgate Films

1. Alone in the Dark (2005)

It should probably come as no surprise that this truly terrible Christian Slater-led film adaptation -- the worst video game movie of all time -- is directed by the king of bad movie adaptations, Uwe Boll.

Blair Erickson, the writer of the original Alone in the Dark script, said this to Somethingawful.com: "Thankfully Dr. Boll was able to hire his loyal team of hacks to crank out something much better than our crappy story and add in all sorts of terrifying horror movie essentials like opening gateways to alternate dimensions, bimbo blonde archaeologists, sex scenes, mad scientists, slimy dog monsters, special army forces designed to battle slimy CG dog monsters, Tara Reid, "Matrix" slow-motion gun battles, and car chases. Oh yeah, and a ten-minute opening back story scroll read aloud to the illiterate audience, the only people able to successfully miss all the negative reviews."

Metacritic Metascore: 9 out of 100
Rotten Tomatoes: 1%

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos