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VOICE OVER: Rudolph Strong WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Alexander
These animated video game movies should have been KO'd before they started. For this list, we'll be looking at the worst film adaptations of beloved gaming stories. Our countdown includes “Tekken: Blood Vengeance”, “Ratchet & Clank”, “The Angry Birds Movie", and more!

#10: “Injustice” (2021)

“Injustice: Gods Among Us” (2013)”
NetherRealm Studios’ 2013 brawler has one of the most ambitious narratives of any fighting game to date. After the Joker tricks Superman into slaying his wife, the man of steel kills the clown and becomes a tyrant. Although the game had time to flesh out the nuances of this dark world, the movie didn’t. The adaptation leaves out a lot of major details from the game while adding in confusing subplots instead. Although the voice cast does a great job portraying the heroes, the protagonists make so many annoying decisions that they’re hard to like. While 2021’s “Injustice” isn’t unwatchable, playing its namesake video game’s story mode is a much better experience.

#9: “Tekken: Blood Vengeance” (2011)

“Tekken” Franchise (1994-)
We’ll be the first to admit that “Tekken: Blood Vengeance” features some truly outstanding action sequences. However, that was one of the film’s few strengths. Despite having nearly two decades of lore to pull from, the movie tries to make an original story. The plot is kicked into gear when two rival corporations go after a completely original character. What followed was a confusing mess of undercover work, baffling twists and a story thread about immortality. The convoluted narrative made the complex video game history of the Mishima family seem simple. In the end, the filmmakers would’ve been better off focusing on fight scenes in a tournament story than going for a plot we’re still trying to wrap our heads around.

#8: “Heavenly Sword” (2014)

“Heavenly Sword” (2007)
When this film tried too hard to be a faithful adaptation, the results were anything but heavenly. The studio brought in most of the game’s voice cast, repeated certain story beats, and even reused some of the same assets and textures as the game itself. This made the entire experience feel like a long winded video game cutscene. Unfortunately, the story of protagonist Nariko’s journey with a mystical sword isn’t that compelling. The narrative is full of cliches and predictable turns. And as the years have gone on, the animation style has continued to age poorly. In the end, being able to play “Heavenly Sword” is 1000 times more fun than watching the movie.

#7: “Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms” (2021)

“Mortal Kombat” Franchise (1992-)
Some fighting game adaptations suffer because they don’t include enough beloved characters. But this Mortal Kombat movie has the exact opposite problem. After starting with mainstays like Liu Kang and Raiden, the film crams in around twenty other named characters. Trying to fit their personality, twists, and deaths into under ninety minutes was an instant fatality to the movie’s potential. It doesn’t help that the movie moves at a breakneck pace to get everyone on screen. Despite containing a few violent and edgy fight scenes, “Battle of the Realms” plays it frustratingly safe with the tried and true tournament narrative. Fortunately, there are enough genuinely good “Mortal Kombat” movies for fans that they don’t have to finish “Battle of the Realms”.

#6: “Dragon Quest: Your Story” (2019)

“Dragon Quest V” (1992)
While translating this RPG to the big screen, the writers seemed to keep all the key elements. Everything from the plot to the characters was kept pretty intact. Unfortunately, the writers couldn’t capture it all in one go. There was just no way to fully adapt the sprawling story of “Dragon Quest V” into a two hour film. As a result, “Your Story” blitzes through plot points at a comical pace. It then quickly resolves everything it sets up with a hamfisted and unsatisfying ending. Suffice it to say, this isn’t “Dragon Quest V” in any way that counts. One of the greatest RPGs of all time deserves so much better.

#5: “Ratchet & Clank” (2016)

“Ratchet & Clank” Franchise (2002-)
It’s almost impressive to make a movie that seemingly no one likes. Both critics and audiences agreed that this film based on the Sony franchise wasn’t built well. Instead, the series’ liftoff to the big screen immediately flew into an asteroid field of cliches. It’s full of generic threats of planetary destruction and selfish heroes. While the video game franchise is often praised for its sense of humor, the movie barely inspired a single chuckle. And it also failed to capture what really works about Ratchet and Clank’s dynamic. To make matters worse, the movie was supposed to mark a comeback for the Gramercy Pictures company. But after the film’s failure, the company closed its doors.

#4: “Tekken: The Motion Picture” (1998)

“Tekken” Franchise (1994-)
This 1990s “Tekken” film didn’t have much of a fighting chance. Although the games it's based on have a distinct visual identity, the movie looks painfully generic. It gets even worse when the characters speak and you get awful dialogue and lackluster voice dubbing. On top of those major drawbacks, the main protagonists don’t really capture the spirits of their game counterparts. Kazuya and Jun especially feel like cheap copies of their much better and complex originals. While we could’ve forgiven these missteps if the fight scenes were interesting, the action sequences are yet another source of disappointment. The fights are slow paced and make most of the cast look silly. We wouldn’t blame anyone for skipping this King of Iron Fist Tournament.

#3: “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” (2001)

“Final Fantasy” Franchise (1987-)
If any video game adaptation should have worked, it was this one. After all, the film spent four long years in production and was helmed by the creator of the entire “Final Fantasy” series. The years of work definitely showed in its groundbreaking photorealistic animation. Unfortunately, all that spectacle came at the cost of the story. Not only was the plot confusing and poorly paced, but the intense lean into the sci-fi angle completely missed the “fantasy” part of “Final Fantasy.” As a result, it’s hard to recommend to either newcomers or longtime fans. If anything, this film’s complete critical and commercial failure hurts all the worse because it could have been so much more.

#2: “Samurai Shodown: The Motion Picture” (1994)

“Samurai Shodown” (1993)
The first “Samurai Shodown” game was definitely more well known for its incredible gameplay and not its story. That’s why it was so baffling that it got a film adaptation a year after its debut. During the movie, writers attempt to tell the story of a complex conflict that involves reincarnated soldiers seeking to take down an evil deity. But there’s so much lore to dig through that it's hard to get into. Unfortunately, the action scenes aren’t that great on their own either. The fights are full of questionable choreography and extremely odd edits. Most of the clashes are so silly that they lack real tension. If your viewing experience isn’t miserable enough, try watching the so-bad-it’s-bad English dub of this bizarre adaptation.

#1: “The Angry Birds Movie” (2016)

“Angry Birds” Franchise (2009-)
You would think one of the most mainstream games of the 21st century would fly a bit higher than this. Granted, that’s not entirely the birds’ fault. After all, even the enemy pigs could have realized that basing an entire movie on a mobile game was a bad idea. The movie unsurprisingly fails to weave a complex narrative out of an extremely simple bird launching game. Although the script tries to launch tons of jokes, none of them really hit the target. But the movie’s biggest failure centers around its cast. It completely wastes A-list talent like Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader and more. None of them could help “Angry Birds” soar when it fell out of its nest and onto audiences.

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