Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Video/Arcade/Board Game Movies


You know how it goes. Life got in the way. I had to miss last week's Thursday Movie Picks. I'm back...and...sigh...

Wanderer, I love you, but...

sigh...

video/arcade/board game movies...

really?

Talk about a barren wasteland.

Well, screw it. I'm just going with three movies you should definitely avoid if you decide to venture into this...um...genre. And why not? Even the good movies based on games aren't all that good.

Sigh...

again.

Let's just do this before I change my mind and claim "life" got in the way again.

Street Fighter
(1994)
I didn't play "Street Fighter" a whole lot, but enough that I was like "Oh cool, they're making a movie about it." I heard it was bad, but still, I was like "It's Street Fighter. It's can't be all that bad. Besides, Jean-Claude Van Damme is in it. He'll throw a few kicks, do a few splits. It'll be cool." Boy, was I wrong. Real wrong. The worse part is that I actually paid actual money to see this in a theater. It's been more than twenty years and I'm still trying to get a refund.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
(1997)
The main reason I didn't play "Street Fighter" that much is I was busy playing "Mortal Kombat," instead. If you somehow don't know the game, it's the one that got parents all in a tizzy because it featured lots of blood and characters with the ability to pull off outrageous finishing moves known as "fatalities." I was beyond excited to see the first Mortal Kombat movie. I was ultimately disappointed with it because it removed all the gore to become a watered down PG-13 camp-fest. Still, it wasn't terrible at being just that. I was down for the sequel. Annihilation promised to be bigger and badder. It was, just in all the wrong ways.

BloodRayne & Alone in the Dark
(2005)
Yeah, I'm putting both of these in the same entry because they're directed by the same hack, Uwe Boll, and were released in the same year. Alone in the Dark gives us well-past-their-primes Christian Slater and Tara Reid in an incoherent mess about demons and ancient civilizations, or something. BloodRayne presents us with the first lady terminator, Kristanna Loken, as a vampire trying to get revenge against her mother's rapist...or something. Ben Kingsley also shows up in "as long as the check doesn't bounce" mode. Both movies are terrible. They are so terrible, I didn't even bother with the other three (or more) other video game adaptations Mr. Boll took his chainsaw to.

Battleship
(2012)
I know. I'm only supposed to pick three movies. This makes number five. I had to do it just so you know board games are not exempt from being adapted terribly for the big screen. The actual game is about rival naval fleets doing battle. Of course, that means the movie is about a hostile invasion by intergalactic aliens. Makes total sense (yes, my eyes are rolling right now). Okay, I get it. We had to update the premise for a modern audience. I really don't get it, but whatever. It's an awful film that plays like an imitation Michael Bay flick. Let that sink in for a bit. (Click here for my full review)


Bonus Life!


Tetris: The Movie
(20??)
Let's call this pick a pre-emptive strike since it's only just been announced a few months ago. That's right, a game about falling blocks of various shapes, with no characters nor discernible plot, is being made into a movie. Wanna hear something even funnier? It's reportedly been given an $80 million budget. Seriously. This thing has bad idea written all over it. Wanna hear something even funnier than that? The plan is for this movie to be the first part of a trilogy. Hahahahahaha! A trilogy? Why? According to the guy putting this all together, producer Larry Kasanoff, "The story we conceived is so big. This isn’t us splitting the last one of our eight movies in two to wring blood out of the stone. It’s just a big story.” Sorry, I'm having a hard time believing that. I can't, for the life of me, figure out what they're going to do for one freaking movie, let alone three. If he gets to make three of these it's very likely I'll delete this entire blog since it will have been clearly demonstrated I am clueless about movies.



30 comments:

  1. I saw those movies... boy, they were awful. The Uwe Boll films are just horrendous and you couldn't even get the chance to laugh at them. Battleship, this is the film that will remind me to never take Peter Berg seriously no matter what he's trying to do. I still can't forgive him for using "Fortunate Son" by CCR in the final credits given for the fact that it's an anti-military/anti-war song for a film that is about all of that patriotic/serve-your-country bullshit. At least's it's a watchable version of those Michael Bay bullshit movies.

    I liked the first Mortal Kombat for its cheesiness but the second one was just boring. Street Fighter was bad and I'm sad that it was the last film Raul Julia made. Fortunately, there is this legendary article about the making of that film and everything that went wrong. It's actually more entertaining than the film.

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    1. I'm definitely going to read that article. It sounds really interesting. I mean, the movie had to actually try to be that bad, right?

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  2. You forgot the Silent Hill movie. At least that one TROED to be representative of its source material (mostly). I am excited for the Assassin's Creed movie this X-mas tho! :)

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    1. I didn't forget Silent Hill. I actually like that one. It wasn't great, but I enjoyed it. I'll see Assassin's Creed, at some point, but I'm not particularly excited about it.

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  3. After Pixels, I suppose Tetris isn't too big a leap. I remember the second Mortal Kombat being very very poor. So disappointed as I loved that game.

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    1. I didn't hate Pixels. I know everybody else did, but I had fun with it. At least, that movie used games that had actual characters.

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  4. Glad to see you back Dell but what a week to do it!! Jeez!! I have seen but one of these, Battleship and it's a match with one of mine, and have to tell ya that I have zero desire to see the others. The fact that one starred Jean-Claude Van Damme would be more apt to keep me away from something than pull me in.


    The pickin's are lean there is no question to the point I had to cheat on my last, but my second pick is a film I can stop and watch whenever I run across it. As with you my inclusion of Battleship should not be construed in any way as a recommendation.

    Battleship (2012)-What lunkhead came up with the script for this exercise in inanity? Obviously written by someone who has never played the board game which is all about strategy and should have led to a film along the lines of “They Were Expendable” or “The Cruel Sea”. What the hell are aliens and extraterrestrial flying objects doing in a movie called Battleship? Really quite stupid.

    Clue (1985)-It’s a dark and stormy night when Mr. Boddy welcomes six guests-Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Mr. Green (Michael McKean), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn) and Col. Mustard (Martin Mull)-who he has been blackmailing. They’re a colorful lot in more ways than their names and when Mr. Boddy is murdered they set about trying to figure out which one of them did it while the bodies pile up. The best board game adaptation out there, not a high bar admittedly but this is a fun film with Madeline Kahn an absolute scream as Mrs. White.

    Mazes & Monsters (1982)-Five college friends all are devout Mazes & Monster players. To have more freedom in their play they move the board game to a local cavern where one of them, Robbie Wheeling (Tom Hanks), begins to slip away from reality and into the fantasy of the game. This TV event movie was Hanks first lead, based on a Rona Jaffe bestseller which itself was based on actual events.

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    1. To be clear, Van Damme wasn't really a draw for me, I was never a big fan of his (other than Bloodsport). However, I did figure it would at least be 'okay.'

      Yeah...Battleship,...ugh.

      Strangely, I've never seen Clue. I loved the game as a kid and really wanted to go see it when it came out, but I didn't, and then just never got around to it. Guess I need to change that.

      I've never even heard of Mazes & Monsters. That's weird since it stars Tom Hanks. To me, the start of his career will always be Bosom Buddies, followed by Bachelor Party, with nothing else between, lol.

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    2. Yeah Mazes & Monsters fell into between those two (it has a good supporting cast too-Vera Miles, Anne Francis and Chris Makepeace hot off of My Bodyguard plus a bunch of other familiar faces). Hanks didn't do much TV aside from Bosom Buddies (which I LOVE!) but he did have a couple of spotlight episodes on Family Ties as Meredith Baxter's once successful now chronically alcoholic brother Ned.

      Ummmm Bachelor Party-so dumb but kinda funny. Now he followed that with many bad movies, as he himself admits, between it and Big although there is one good one mixed in there too, Nothing in Common wherein he and Jackie Gleason play a father and son at loggerheads.

      SEE CLUE!!! You won't be sorry.

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    3. Oh, what was I saying???!!!! Those episodes of Family Ties Hanks appeared on are the best, and certainly most memorable, of the entire series. To this day, I can't look at a bottle of vanilla extract without thinking of Ned drinking it for the minute alcohol content.

      I have seen Nothing in Common a couple times. Good flick with a fantastic performance from Gleason.

      I will see Clue.

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  5. Alone in the Dark is SO bad. Especially watching Slater in it when you know he's capable of giving a good performance and you get....that instead.

    Also Tara Reid will never be a believable scientist.

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    1. SO SO bad. And Tara Reid as a scientist is just...just...sigh...who thought this was a good idea? Oh yeah, Uwe Boll. UGH!

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  6. If you've ever sat down at a basement table loaded with Mountain Dew and Doritos and rolled a 20-sided die, you owe it to yourself to track down The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. It's silly and made with no budget, but few things have every truly captured what it's like to play a tabletop RPG like this movie.

    The fact that Alone in the Dark is so bad is depressing, because the original PC game was groundbreaking.

    I'll second Joel's mention of Clue--this is what an adaptation of a board game can aspire to, and everyone else who wants to make a board game into a movie should just stop. It's been done really, really well, and I doubt it's going to happen again.

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    1. The Gamers sounds interesting. I'm game.

      Get it?

      Okay, that was bad, almost as bad as Alone in the Dark.

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  7. Oh dear lord, Street Fighter. Poor Kylie Minogue, her movies are even worse than Madonna's. I'm still pissed that this was Raul Julia's last movie.

    Thankfully, that's the only one of these I've seen - I CAN NOT with Uwe Boll, and Battleship just looked completely ridiculous from the jump. The only way to make a movie about Tetris would have to be to set it in the Cold War and have it actually about creating the game or something, and even then... a whole fucking trilogy?!? SIGH.

    At least it can't be worse than Pixels.

    Right?

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    1. Yeah, not a good way to go out for RJ.

      As for the Tetris movie, I only have one question. "WWWWHHHHYYYYY????"

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  8. Really hoping that Assassin's Creed will be able to finally break the video game movie curse.

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  9. That's okay. My energy should be up in the next few hours and I got some better films.

    Mortal Combat and Street Fighter are kind of before my time, so I don't have as much first-hand experience playing them. But from what I have seen, it's not hard to understand why they don't translate well to film. I mean both games don't have much of a story and pretty much revolve entirely on different combinations of people beating each other up. That's not much to work with.

    There is the new Assassin's Creed movie that's coming out soon. I'm waiting for it to come out before I say anything, but I've had mixed impressions from the trailers. It does look like they're staying fairly true to the basic lots of the games, but we'll have to wait and see how well a movie works with the material. That said, it did seem odd that the only major female character is in the present day segments, given the number of female assassins who appeared in the games. There was even one game, Liberation, which featured a black woman as the protagonist. But even the male-dominated games often had strong women at least in supporting roles.

    If it's any use, I may know one gaming franchise that could work as a film if done right. Mass Effect has a pretty extensive world and lore, which could work. It would hace to be an original story, set in the same universe but focusing mainly on new characters. It would probably be best to leave out Shepherd entirety, and minimize appearances by characters from the game. Personally, I could see a prequel to the games based on the First Contact or Rachni wars (both unseen conflicts referred to in the games history) working. Alternatively, perhaps a prequel about how the Illusive Man became the most powerful person in the galaxy. That would leave room to incorporate the aesthetics and iconography of the games while still producing new characters and new material.

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    1. MK, the game, did actually have a back story. Much of it was included in the original movie.

      I've never once played AC, but glad to hear those things about it. We'll see how it turns out.

      Never played Mass Effect, either.

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  10. I love Ben Kingsley but he does make some schlock at times. These sound wretched and will avoid at all costs

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    1. Yes, avoid it. A better thing to do would be reading up a little on director Uwe Boll and his battles with the critics who continuously (and rightfully) bash his movies. Boxing is included.

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  11. ahaha well done man you did it! You made it through this week's theme. It's gonna be ok. Not seen these but I avoided Battleship like the plague

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  12. They made Pixels, I don't see why they can't make Tetris: The Movie. I mean, it's impossible to make a worse film.

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    1. Have to disagree. I didn't hate Pixels. More importantly, at least that movie focused on games with actual characters. Blocks?

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  13. Great post. As a die-hard gamer I was all into the arcade scene during its day. I was such a fun culture to be a part of. When the Street Fighter I remember going on opening night. It was one of those where I tried so hard to come up with some rational reason that it could be good even though I knew I was watching something absolutely terrible. NOT....GOOD.

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    1. My entire theater experience with SF consisted of me shaking my head, sighing, and doing facepalms.

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  14. I remember Street Fighter the game was fun, but you're right the movie sucked. Not entirely sure if Tron is a video game, although it certainly could be! When you say board game I'm reminded there's a sequel to Jumanji on the way, but again, I'm uncertain if there's a game in stores, or only exists in the film!

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    1. THere was a Tron video game, but it came after the movie, IIRC.

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