6) Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
I previously labeled the original Mortal Kombat as one of the top adaptations movies. So it’s obvious, following the rules of (almost) all sequels that this would be on here. From the get-go this movie was a bad idea. Besides the fact that only two of the original cast members returned,the movie had one of the male leads from the first one, Johnny Cage, getting his neck broken in the first ten minutes (if that). None of the original characters had any character growth and the new ones that they did introduce had almost no characterization besides “Hey! Remember me! I’m the character from the game!”
But more than that, the script for this movie was terrible. There were so many subplots going on it was almost impossible to keep up with anyone. No movie or game is successful when they try to cram too much into it. There are twenty characters in total (and I counted all those with actual names) and for any sort of media, that is far too many characters unless the director and writer know what they’re doing. Sadly, because of this horrible film, it has been fifteen years and we still don’t have an official sequel or reboot of this film. Sure there have been rumors of a reboot but as of yet, nothing has come of it besides rabid fans clamoring for one but like most things, it’s probably only a matter of time.
Yet again, another sequel is on this list. But this one stands out over the likes of Apocalypse and Afterlife because it was just a horrible movie. Any relation to the game had been thrown away at this point. There was no more Raccoon City, Jill Valentine had mysteriously disappeared (and not even explained), Carlos was a walking cliché at this point, and Claire Redfield, a favorite of the video game franchise, shared none of the character elements of her video game counterpart except for the fact her name was Claire and she had a brother.
And now enter Albert Wesker.
In the game, Albert Wesker is a force to be reckoned with. At first, his motives were unknown as he was simply collecting samples of various viruses for someone named Spencer. Even with powers given to him by the virus, he was still a captivating character because of his complete sociopathic behavior towards everyone around him. More so, his rivalry with Chris Redfield was interesting to watch simply because of the hatred the two felt for each other. But sadly, in both the movie and game, Wesker became nothing more than a mustache twirling villain. All credibility was lost as he simply became a Neo copy. But at least in the game he has a purpose. Wesker’s role in the film is…confusing as he doesn’t really seem to have a master plan besides being powerful. Which is kind of weird considering there’s not much of a world left.
But the most irritating thing in the movie is Alice. In the original, she was a simple human woman trapped in a nightmare. She had only the training of an operative and the innate survival instinct in all of us. But in Apocalypse she became more than human. But even that was acceptable as it was only enhanced speed, strength, and senses. This film took it to a whole other level. She could suddenly cause the sky to explode into firestorm; she had telekinesis, and psychic abilities. Put all that into once character and any sort of suspense is taken out and now you only have pretty special effect and fight scenes. Sure they fixed that problem in the next one, but it doesn’t help Extinction. Though I doubt anything could.
I know that when I think of hardened martial artists from the decimated streets of a post-earthquake California, no other names come to mind then Marc Dacascos and Scott Freakin’ Wolf. Let that sink in. The Iron Chef and one of the kids from Party of Five. Yes, Marc may be martial-artists in real life but let’s remember that he is playing a character that is supposed to be the brother of Scott Wolf. But that is far from the worse thing about this movie (though it very well could be).
The story is similar to the original game but now they’ve added the ridiculous McGuffin of a magical pendant split into parts that bad guy, of course, wants to acquire. The plot is far from original and even farther removed from entertaining. Worse, the movie isn’t even a good bad movie. The dialogue is ridiculous and filled with numerous, ridiculous puns. At one point in the film the villain actually says to Marion (played by Alysa Millano):
“Now who’s the boss?”
Really? I know being aware of the actress’ career can be slightly funny if done right but this is just…not. And of course there are other puns regarding actor Wagner’s role on General Hospital, and a, oblique reference to Huey Lewis and the News. And did I mention it starred Scott Wolf? Just thought I’d reiterate that.
By the time this movie had come out, there were four successful Prince of Persia games. The original game involved the introduction of the Persian Prince (simply known as Prince) who gets involved in a quest to prevent the evil Vizier from acquiring the Dagger of Time and using the Sands of Time to become a god.
Much like Double Dragon the first flaw came about with their choosing a male lead for the character of the Prince. Jake Gyllenhaal is the antithesis of what people would expect, or even want, for the character of the Persian prince. And why is that? He’s a handsome white male with no hint of even being closely related to Persian heritage. Don’t get me wrong; I’m far from a hater of Jake as I think he’s done some pretty good movies (Brokeback Mountain being one of them) but as for playing the Prince, it is one of the worst decisions made.
But more than that, the plot itself is uninteresting. True, the original plot from the game was basically Aladdin with time but it was still interesting to see the Prince’s evolution from an immature, privileged brat to a man willing to make sacrifices for the greater good. And the key moment of this is when he reversed time to before the city holding the dagger and sand was even ransacked. He defeated the Vizier before anything could actually happen and this erases his ever meeting the Princess Farah and everything they had built with each other. He then turns and leaves with only a hint that he is something more than she thought; unlike the movie where it all ends happily with the two lovers getting married (through a very contrived plotline at the end). And it’s obvious I’m not alone in this sentiment as the movie did horrible at the box office. Maybe one day they’ll give it another shot but if we’re lucky, they’ll just leave well enough alone.
The curse of casting rears its ugly head once again. Kristin Kreuk played one of the most hated characters on Smallville. So for her to be cast in a movie playing a character that is supposed to be an expert martial artists is not just ridiculous but eye rolling. I’m not saying Kristin Kreuk is bad…per se, but she isn’t exactly great.
Where the first Street Fighter movie was pure, camp fun, this one tries so hard to be “mature”, “real” and “serious” that it makes it all the sadder when you realize how horrible the film is. Though Ryu is considered the main character of the game franchise, they threw that all away to try and cash in on the appeal of an attractive female hero. That’s not a bad thing as I love female heroes (Batgirl, Buffy, River Tam), but what makes those characters appealing is totally void from the character of Chun-Li. She’s not interesting and all of her “problems” just seem contrived and a convenient reason for her to seek out her revenge. And for some reason she’s a pianist. Besides wanting vengeance for her father, nothing remains of the character people fell in love with.
And that’s not just for her. The obvious absence of Ryu and Ken aside, Bison is nothing like his character in the game. In the film he is an Irish business man with no military experience at all. The only thing they have in common is that they’re both male and able to fight.
But all of this could be forgiven with awesome fight sequences…..which are all but absent in this film. The fight scenes are generic, short and lack any sort of “oooooh” moments. Resident Evil, with all of its cheesy greatness, at least has some interesting fight scenes. Sure there are fights in legend of Chun-Li but they’re nothing to get excited over.
Perhaps the most unforgivable thing on this list is this man. Uwe Boll is universally known as possibly the worst director of all time. He has an uncanny ability to take beloved games and tear away everything we loved about them. And what’s worse is that he can’t even see how bad he really is and actually has the audacity to blame his production company for his crappy movies.
In all, he has done three adaptations: Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead, and BloodRayne and absolutely none of these movies has done well. The first adaptation, House of the Dead, I had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing in the theater when it was released. The plot was ridiculous, the acting was ludicrous, and the last fight was plain laughable. Where the game was extremely fun, the movie was truly horrendous (no pun intended). Even the fun of a generic zombie movie is lost in this mess of a film. But for some reason, despite only making half of its budget back, they let him make another one.
Alone in the Dark was completely panned by critics and fans alike. Any similarities to the game were non-existent and they cast Tara Reid as a scientist (as if that could ever be believable). With various plot holes, horrible acting, and sad special effects, people were hoping that this would be the final nail in the coffin of letting Boll direct another movie.
But then BloodRayne came out and our horror began again. The movie was so bad I don’t even think I have enough words to fully do my disgust appropriately. The plot was completely absurd, the “fight” scenes were just terrible and uninspiring, and they had Meat Loaf as a vampire lord. But there are two things that stick out in my mind as the worst parts of the film.
The first is the sex scene between the two main characters. It comes out of nowhere and it more gratuitous than meaningful. It’s uncomfortable and you just kind of squeeze your eyes shut until it’s over...which is kind of what you do for the entire movie anyway. The second thing is the ending. It simple ends with her sitting on the throne after the bloodbath and we see a fast montage of the entire film. If you feel like you really have to see this, just skip to the end and watch that. That way, it’ll save you from having to sit down and listen to his actors trying desperately to make this script credible.
Oh, and did I mention they made two direct-to-DVD sequels directed by this same man?
Honorable Mention: Doom
A virus and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. That is all.