(Photo by Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection)
It was in 1993 that Hollywood realized the dream of putting a video game movie up on the big screen with Super Mario Bros., and setting the stage for a long legacy of questionable choices, troubled productions, and gamers’ pixel tears left in their wake. But like the kid who just has to pump in one more quarter to reach for that high score, the studios keep on trying (while the fans just keep on hoping), and we’re celebrating that sort of sheer tenacity with this guide to the best video game movies (and plenty of the worst) ranked by Tomatometer!
Here, you will find the near-decent (Rampage, Resident Evil), the should’ve-been-goods (Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft), the ridiculous-but-we-love-thems (Mortal Kombat, Silent Hill), and the ones made by Uwe Boll, who deserves his own category (Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead). We’re using a 20-review minimum cutoff for inclusion from theatrical releases only, because it’s not just enough to make a questionable movie, critics need to witness the aftermath, too.
And in May 2019, Detective Pikachu officially broke the video game curse! Fitting that Nintendo, whose Super Mario Bros. movie started all this trouble, would be the one to end it. And in another surprise 2019 development, the second Angry Birds movie has slingshot the naysayers by racking up plenty of critical praise, toppling Pikachu mere months after its release.
Then in 2020, when it didn’t seem it had a chili dog’s chance in hell, Sonic the Hedgehog to general critics enthusiasm, marking three Fresh video game movies in two years. And then, in 2021, Werewolves Within went Certified Fresh, establishing it as by-far the best-reviewed video game movie! The latest, Uncharted, dives back to familiar territory for this genre. See all the high scores (and lots and lots of the lows) with our guide to 48 video game movies, ranked worst to best!
As a lot of folks in Hollywood will tell you, nobody signs on to a movie thinking it’s going to be bad. Sometimes, though, due to any number of reasons, things just don’t line up the way everyone thought they would, and you end up with a stinker. That said, actors who are consummate professionals will always put forth maximum effort into any role they accept, and every once in a while, it results in a memorable performance in an otherwise forgettable film. We’re here to celebrate those performances and make sure these talented actors’ efforts don’t go unrecognized, even if the movies surrounding them were mostly dismissed.
(Photo by Paramount Pictures)
In 1987, five years after the success of Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, studios were looking to capitalize on Black content, and fresh off the success of Beverly Hills Cop, Paramount gave Eddie Murphy a few million dollars to make his passion project. Casting his comedy idols in a minority-led Cotton Club-style crime-comedy, Murphy made a film that was hilarious and stylish. Still, critics savaged the effort as a vanity project with no plot and little substance. The film did boast dazzling costumes, the best of which were worn by Jasmine Guy as she played the femme fatale Dominique La Rue. Primarily known for her comedic role as the southern daddy’s girl Whitley Gilbert on the Cosby Show spinoff A Different World, Guy showed she could bring the goods as the seductive and deadly mistress of the local mob boss. In between the laughs that Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, and Della Reece provided, La Rue was a welcome, well-acted change of pace; it’s a shame that Murphy’s script rarely rose to the level of her performance.
(Photo by Universal Pictures)
Look, we can barely believe Robert Zemeckis’ dark and hilarious 103-minute catfight is Rotten on the Tomatometer, either. But at the time of release, critics were underwhelmed by what they saw as pretty ineffective satire, even as they praised the movie’s innovative special effects – “There’s a hole in my stomach!” – and the two women to whom they were generously applied. As long-time rivals and youth-obsessed divas Madeline Ashton and Helen Sharp, Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn are fabulous monstrosities, all daytime-soap stares and Disney-witch snarls. Their work is big – huge, really – but always grounded in a deep sadness that flavors this showcase for pre-Jurassic Park Industrial Light and Magic with a compelling dose of tragedy.
(Photo by )
All three Sanderson sisters in Hocus Pocus probably deserve to be on this list: Sarah Jessica Parker brings great sensuality to what could have been a throwaway role and Kathy Najimy is an incomparable doof. But we’re singling out Midler because, in a film where no corner of scenery goes un-munched-upon, it’s Midler as lead witch Winifred who goes home with the fullest belly. Flaming red hair high and front teeth comically bucked, she delivers a huge performance, hilarious and nasty all at once, her expressions destined to be enshrined forever by nostalgic millennials in the galleries if giphy. Everyone is good in this movie, true, but we don’t know whether fans would still be clamoring for a sequel without Midler’s iconic performance of “I Put A Spell On You.”
(Photo by Universal Pictures)
Nothing ever goes exactly as planned on a movie shoot, but Street Fighter’s journey to infamy was besotted with one catastrophe after another. The lead star was a coked-up, unreliable diva. A military coup in Thailand shut down road access. None of the actors were getting martial arts training, and were losing weight in the Southeast Asia humidity. And Raul Julia, who played the psychotic M. Bison, showed up withered and frail, besieged by stomach cancer treatment. Yet, the latter proved to be Street Fighter’s most enduring asset, as Julia laid it all on the line for his final role. Julia’s performance is big, unguarded, and wild, but with the good taste to stop short of chewing the scenery. You don’t laugh at what he’s created here, you actually cheer on this kind of menace, as Julia scissor kicks the movie up a notch with goofy, infectious energy.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
Angelina Jolie is no stranger to being the very-good-thing in a not-very-good movie: Think Gone In 60 Seconds, the Tomb Raider movies, or even the flick that won her an Oscar, Girl, Interrupted, which is – surprisingly for some – Rotten at 54% on the Tomatometer. In Hackers, the ahead-of-its-time 1995 techno thriller released the same year as The Net and Johnny Mnemonic, Jolie showed exactly why she would become a mega star. Her high school hacker Kate commands the screen, thanks to Jolie’s committed performance and the signature screen charisma that has kept people ponying up to see her in movies, good, bad, and Rotten as hell. Interestingly, Jolie beat out the likes of Hilary Swank and Liv Tyler for the Hackers role – only her second big-screen job.
(Photo by United Artists courtesy Everett Collection)
Showgirls’ reputation may be on an upswing with its newfound status as a cult-classic queer favorite, and the documentary You Don’t Nomi detailing how the movie came to this point, but one thing the world has always agreed on – even as the film collected six Razzies following its release and became a global punchline – is that Gina Gershon is brilliant as coke-sniffing meanie Cristal Connors. If you’ve got a favorite Showgirls line – from “I like nice t–s” to “I used to love doggy chow” – chances are Cristal snarled it.
(Photo by Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection)
Actors can come to set, nail their lines, and, if they have a little something extra, help pull better performances from the cast around them. As the Riddler in Batman Forever, Jim Carrey achieved this with Tommy Lee Jones, who offered an uncharacteristically unhinged take on Two-Face. Jones also reportedly detested Carrey. This alleged animosity actually underscored the tenuous alliance formed by the two villains, as Jones worked to keep up with Carrey’s manic hopping and shrill flights into delusional grandeur. Ironically, it was the latter who gave the dual performance in Forever; Two-Face is Two-Face the entire movie, but Carrey had to first build the pathetic, sympathetic Edward Nygma, a sad wretch whose tragic end would give rise to the question-baiting, green-spandexed loon. It was another showcase for Carrey’s knack for merging comedy and drama, first glimpsed in Dumb & Dumber and The Mask, and soon to bloom in full with The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
Jingle All the Way is both worse than you think and better than your remember. The first two acts achieve moments of genuine charm and amusement from its gag-based physical comedy, as Arnold Schwarzenegger embarks on his increasingly absurd trek to find an action figure for his son on Christmas Eve. Then it hits the breaking point in a forced action finale with poor effects. But who’s rock-solid throughout the movie? Phil Hartman, who plays Schwarzenegger’s neighbor and a local soccer mom-seducer, a skeevy suburban Lothario who’s got the hots for Arnie’s wife. Jingle’s most famous line (“Put the cookie down, now!”) wouldn’t have become a meme if it wasn’t cut against Hartman’s inappropriately orgasmic consumption of said cookie. And Hartman’s delivery of the line “You can’t bench-press your way out of this one!” is so underrated; he was the only one who could cut through the farce of putting Schwarzenegger in a family comedy where everyone pretends everything’s totally normal.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
Director Tom Shadyac followed up the Certified Fresh Jim Carrey vehicle Liar, Liar by partnering with another comic genius for Patch Adams, the true story of an unconventional medical student dedicated to treating the whole patient, not just the disease. Usually with clown routines. The movie has rightly been slapped around for its manipulative sentimentality – Shadyac does everything but squeeze lemons into the audience’s eyes to “earn” the movie’s many tears – but at its heart is a frenzied, moving, and wholly committed performance from Robin Williams, near the beginning of a streak of sentimental ’90s roles that included What Dreams May Come and Bicentennial Man. His work was called out for being a bit “much” at the time, but for those missing the late Williams’ energy and that rare ability to have us chortling through our tears, it’s frankly a feast.
(Photo by Everett Collection)
The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy has undergone something of a reappraisal in recent years, at least by fans who remember Episodes I, II, and III fondly, but the fact remains that The Phantom Menace is one of the worst-received entries in the saga, due to a plodding story, stiff acting, and at least one character who rubbed audiences in every wrong way. For his part, Liam Neeson brought the requisite gravitas to play Jedi mentor Qui-Gon Jinn, but it was his padawan, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi played by Ewan McGregor, who stole the show and became an instant fan-favorite. Although McGregor would truly blossom in the role over the next two films, this is where he established himself as one of the saga’s most reliable anchors, giving fans a reason to stay with the franchise despite The Phantom Menace’s shortcomings. Hell, one look at our recent Star Wars showdown bracket is all you need to see how influential his work was.
(Photo by Dimension Films)
Scream 3 has gotten some later-in-life appreciation in the #MeToo era: As well as a wink-wink, nudge-nudge horror satire, it’s a pretty bold attack on systemic sexual abuse in Hollywood – featuring a Harvey Weinstein-style producer character… in a movie produced by the Weinsteins. It might be the most meta movie ever made, and years ahead of its time. Still, it remains the bottom of the slasher series’ offerings, with critics lashing it for leaning too hard into laughs over scares, and its 39% Tomatometer score makes it the only Rotten Scream movie to date. The highlight of the film is 1990s indie darling Parker Posey as actress Jennifer Jolie, who is cast to play Courteney Cox’s reporter, Gale Weathers, in the movie-within-the-movie, Stab 3. (We said it was meta.) Parker is nervy and hilarious as she shadows the “real” Weathers across the studio backlot, imitating her moves and line delivery, and a total scream when she gets into full breakdown mode, jittery cigarette rarely out of shot, as the bodies start piling up. You rarely believe she’s genuinely terrified at any point – when cornered by Ghostface she begins shrieking, “You can’t kill me! I’m the killer in Stab 3!” – but in this high-camp low-point for the series, she’s a treat.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)
Let’s be real, here: When is Denzel Washington ever not good? This wasn’t the first time he and director Tony Scott had collaborated (they did Crimson Tide in 1995), nor was it the last (they would go on to work together three more times, including Scott’s final film, Unstoppable), but it was the relentless violent streak and punishing run time that made Man on Fire the least of their collaborations. That said, Scott and Washington clearly had an understanding, and even when the final product as a whole failed to deliver, Denzel was always reliably irresistible. As a vigilante out for revenge, he’s all bile and gritted teeth, and he seems to pull a shocking sadistic streak from somewhere deep within. He’s so compelling that you can’t help but root for him, even when he’s doing the absolute dirtiest of dirty work.
(Photo by Steve Wilkie/©Lions Gate courtesy Everett Collection)
Jigsaw is a rare breed in the horror villain world: He was human. Nobody seemed able to stop him, yet there was nothing supernatural about the monster — he couldn’t take an axe to the head or survive a house fire. What Jigsaw did have was a wonderfully warped sense of justice, drawers full of blueprints for death-dealing traps, a lot of time apparently, and Tobin Bell’s chilled-over performances to bring the guy to cinematic life. The simple, menacing purr of Jigsaw’s “I want to play a game…” by Bell was enough to send shivers down our spines, and let us know we weren’t about to break out the Parcheesi board. If anything, Bell was too good and reliable, as the Saw franchise hung on to the character well beyond his shelf life, until he became the only good thing about the later sequels.
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
Tokyo Drift is sort of the neglected stepchild of the Fast and Furious series, a somewhat franchise-adjacent detour that takes viewers all the way to Japan and introduces a completely new cast with pretty much no connection to either of the two films that preceded it. It didn’t help that the star of the film was Lucas Black, whose middle name might as well be “Flat” and whose lack of presence on screen essentially doomed the project from the get-go. But if there was one bright spot in the film, it was the calm, collected, perpetually peckish Han, as played by Sung Kang. Immensely likable with a hint of mystery behind his sly smirk, Han came to represent the heart and soul of the franchise and one of its most compelling characters, so much so that fans actively campaigned (#JusticeForHan) to bring him back. Guess who shows up at the end of the trailer for F9?
(Photo by )
Snow White and the Huntsman was an entirely unnecessary and borderline nonsensical retelling of the Snow White fairy tale that earned mixed reviews from critics and fans. Star Kristen Stewart, who was miscast as Snow White, gave us a heroine no one wanted to root for, and her onset affair with director Rupert Sanders overshadowed any good points the film had to offer. This was supremely unfortunate as one of the best parts of the film was Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen Ravenna, by way of Ursula from The Little Mermaid meets 101 Dalmatians’ Cruella de Vil in all the best ways. Literally dripping in gold, courtesy of her magical mirror, and wearing medieval goth couture, Theron’s Ravenna was captivating and deliciously entertaining despite acting opposite a CGI effect. It’s a testiment to Theron’s talent that she delivered such a flawless performance while playing off tennis balls on set.
(Photo by Dimension Films)
If you ever need to make a case for not waiting too long for a sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For should be Exhibit A. In 2005, Sin City was a surprise hit, earning $160 million at the box office, and the popularity only grew from there. However, for a host of reasons, it took over nine years to commission a sequel, and by that time, tastes had changed; even the most ardent fans had moved on. In addition to A Dame to Kill For’s woeful timing, the new script lacked the originality and crispness of the first installment, save for one standout performance. Joseph Gordon-Levitt proved in Rian Johnson’s Brick that he was an actor tailor-made for noir, and his work here only furthers that legacy. Playing Johnny, the brash cardman, he drips bravado and determination as he risks his last dollar for revenge. Slick and stylized, he and Eva Green are the only things that hook the audience; it’s only a shame everything else pales (pun intended) in comparison.
(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)
The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending is only slightly less ambitious than Cloud Atlas, but it’s also arguably a lot goofier, with inane dialogue, baffling turns of plot, and gaudy special effects. But oh, did Eddie Redmayne ever come to play. If he was looking for a change of pace after his Oscar-winning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, he certainly found it in the role of Balem Abrasax, the effete eldest sibling of a ruling family who speaks in sighs and whispers one moment and erupts like a banshee the next. This is scenery-chewing with style, and Redmayne digs into every line with gusto. It’s absolutely glorious to behold, and it’s quite possibly the only memorable thing about the film.
(Photo by Jaimie Trueblood/Columbia Pictures)
Passengers failed mostly due to its unfortunate and problematic premise. A mechanic in cryogenic sleep is awakened early on an 80-year trip to a colony in space. Facing the prospect of dying alone, he sabotages a fellow passenger’s pod because he thinks she’s his soulmate. By essentially dooming his lady love to a life of isolation and assuming she would fall in love with him — which she does — the film was so distasteful that critics found little to enjoy despite stellar visuals and impressively futuristic production design. Obvious problems aside, Passengers also features two standout performances from Jennifer Lawrence and Christ Pratt. Lawrence showcases the chops that won her the Oscar just four years prior, Pratt is surprisingly good in a dramatic role, and the pair have undeniable chemistry. If not for the queasy feeling you get thinking about why they are together, this could have been an adventurous sci-fi romance.
(Photo by )
There are a lot of things wrong with Suicide Squad, from tonal issues to paper-thin characters, dull action sequences to atrocious dialogue, and whatever Jared Leto was trying to do as the Joker. Regarding the latter, not all of the acting is bad, thankfully. Margot Robbie’s take on Harley Quinn is fun and exciting, and it earned her a solo joint (sort of) that opened earlier this year to solid reviews. But one of the unsung bright spots of the film is Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, who initially behaves just shady enough to make you suspect her of ulterior motives and then succeeds in delivering one of the few genuine surprises in the film. She does the best she can with what she’s given and grounds the story as arguably the most interesting character, which says a lot about the antiheroic ensemble that surrounds her. There’s a reason she’s one of the very few people who are returning for James Gunn’s hopefully much better follow-up next year.
(Photo by Anna Kooris/Universal Pictures)
Critics were fairly split on Ma, Tate Taylor’s schlocky thriller about a loner who exacts revenge on her high school tormenters by befriending – and then targeting – their own teenage children. But all agreed that whatever you thought of the gory, campy flick, Octavia Spencer delivered big time as title character. Whether tearing up the dance floor to “Kung Fu Fighting,” staring down her prey across a crowded room, or transfusing dog’s blood into a naked former high school crush – really – Spencer is hilarious, sympathetic, and completely menacing.
What are some of your favorite performances in Rotten movies? Let us know in the comments.
Thumbnail image by Universal Pictures
By 1994, the video games Street Fighter (1987) and Street Fighter II (1991) had already sold over 10 million copies on the Super NES and Sega Genesis game systems. Street Fighter II in particular became a worldwide smash hit, and Capcom, its creator and publisher, wanted to capitalize on its success by adapting it into a film. The problem is, they wanted the movie to be written, location-scouted, cast, filmed, edited, and marketed in the span of one year (which is insane), so it could be released in time for Christmas in 1994.
In an unconventional move, they hired prolific screenwriter Steven E. de Souza (48 Hrs, Die Hard, Commando, The Running Man), a first-time feature film director who came up with the idea for the story during an all-night writing session, to helm a $33-million budgeted James Bond-style action film about a Warlord threatening world destruction and the good guys who thwart him. What followed was a year of script rewrites, large explosions, scorching temperatures, reshoots, production delays, and a limited budget due to the casting of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Raul Julia.
It’s a miracle that Street Fighter actually makes any sense, and it’s perhaps more surprising that, even after second, third, and fourth viewings, it’s still a lot of fun. Though it’s full of unremarkable street fights and stealth boats that aren’t very stealthy, it is in no way self conscious (“All I want to do is rule the world; is that so much to ask?”), and it features a legitimately great performance by Raul Julia.
Here are five reasons why we love Street Fighter and aren’t afraid to admit it.
(Photo by Universal)
Skimming through the reviews for the 11% Tomatometer-rated Street Fighter, you’re likely to read things like, “It’s an empty exercise in hyper-stimulation,” and it’s “a picture only an arcade junkie could cheer.” On the surface, Street Fighter may feel like an “empty exercise,” but upon closer inspection, it’s clear that de Souza, cinematographer William Frakin (Rosemary’s Baby, Tombstone, Bullitt), costume designer Deborah Kramer, and production designer William Creber (Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure) did their best to create an interesting world, full of cheeky PA announcements (What do you do when a Bison trooper throws a grenade at your face? Pick it up, pull the pin and throw it right back at him), massive sets, and production design that is legitimately funny.
In the Blu-ray commentary, de Souza mentions several times that “it’s clearly supposed to be funny,” and the evidence is plain as day, especially when you look at the private sanctum of General M. Bison (Raul Julia). Bison is a megalomaniac who plans to create a Bisonopolis with expansive food courts, Bison swag, and towering skyscrapers with slanted roofs. In his private room, the fireplace and the swizzle sticks for his mixed drinks have Bison logos, and there’s an odd clown painting that must have been painted by Bison himself (and that fans wish they could own). Watch this clip, and look closely at everything on display; the production design is pretty inspired, and yeah, we wouldn’t mind owning that massive portrait of Bison on a horse, either.
Street Fighter wasn’t the movie audiences were expecting (zero “Hadoukens”), but if you can get past that, you’ll have a blast. Go back and listen to the weird PA announcements, pay attention to the one-liners, marvel at all the Bison tchotchkes, and try not to crack a smile.
(Photo by ©Universal courtesy Everett Collection)
Early on in the pre-production phase in 1993, the Capcom folks and de Souza decided they didn’t want to make a simple fighting movie in the vein of Bloodsport, The Quest, or Lionheart (all JCVD movies, by the way). In a bout of naiveté, de Souza originally chose to include only seven characters from the game in the script, which would allow him to put more focus on each one but meant at least 10 of the video game’s other characters would be excluded. Capcom understandably didn’t want to exclude any of the characters, because they were running a multi-billion dollar empire capable of selling mass quantities of merchandise, and more characters = more money-making opportunities.
Throughout the writing process, as de Souza was forced to add more and more characters, the script quickly got out of hand. Each new addition comes with a new subplot, and the film does its best to bring everyone together. Ryu (Byron Mann) and Ken (Damian Chapa) are huckster arms dealers who team up with Colonel Guile (Van Damme), Cammy (Kylie Minogue), and T-Hawk (Gregg Rainwater). Sagat (Wes Studi) and Vega (Jay Tavare) are real arms dealers who also run an underground fight club, while Dhalsim (Roshan Seth) is a doctor who creates super soldiers against his will, one of whom is Blanka (Robert Mammone). Dee-Jay (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.) and Zangief (Andrew Bryniarski) are cheeky henchmen who work for Bison (Julia). Chun-Li (Ming-na Wen), Balrog (Grand L. Bush), and E. Honda (Peter Tuiasosoppo) are reporters (and fighting legends) who want revenge by working their way up through various media outlets (it’s weird). During their interactions, there are staged deaths (Guile “dies” three times), Allied Nation bureaucracy subplots, $20 billion ransoms, enjoyable torture, food court discussions, a henchmen wage debate, and at least five speeches.
Normally, including 45 subplots in a video game adaptation would be a horrible idea, but here, it makes Street Fighter all the more endearing.
Before we get into one of the greatest lines in the history of cinema (it is, admit it), we want to point out that Raul Julia delivers it while holding two mixed drinks with orange garnishes and wearing a tailored silk robe and a nighttime hat (which means he has a daytime hat). The entire setup is silly, yet Julia nails the absurdity of the moment with a knowing confidence that only an actor of his caliber could muster. Also, his performance becomes infinitely more awesome when you consider he had recently undergone intensive treatment and surgery for stomach cancer, and he took the role because his kids loved the game.
Julia makes a meal of each syllable, and the slight smile on his face proves he’s in on the absurdity around him. After Chun Li unleashes a passionate speech about how Bison killed her father when he was an up-and-coming drug czar, he replies with one of the greatest burns in cinema history:
“For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.”
It belongs on the Mount Rushmore of underappreciated lines, right alongside Skeletor’s “loneliness of evil” moment in Masters of the Universe and Andrew Scott’s “It’s like kick ass or kiss ass, and I’m busting heads” monologue in Universal Soldier.
(Photo by Universal)
Prior to Street Fighter, Jean-Claude Van Damme was known for action-heavy performances that put more emphasis on punches, splits, and training montages than dialogue. In movies like Kickboxer, Bloodsport, Cyborg, Lionheart, Universal Soldier, and Hard Target, JCVD’s physicality and snake punching skills do most of the acting. However, since the screenplay for Street Fighter was written by de Souza, the man who wrote the quip-heavy Commando (“Let off some steam, Bennett.”) and The Running Man (“Killian, here’s your Subzero, now plain zero.”), Van Damme was asked to make speeches, drop one-liners, and do the best he could with de Souza’s dialogue and very little preparation time (which may or may not have been JCVD’s fault).
The “Muscles from Brussels” ventured a bit outside his comfort zone, and he did an admirable job unleashing all the ridiculous dialogue. For instance, he nailed his big “Who wants to go with me?” speech in one take, but he also says “This is the collection agency, Bison. Your ass is six months overdue, and it’s mine,” with a straight face.
Need more proof? Here are some of his best lines:
Guile: Four years of ROTC for this s–t!
Bison: You have made me a very happy man.
Guile: And next, I’ll make you a dead one.
Guile: I’m okay; I’m just half dead.
Cammy: And Bison?
Guile: All dead.
Needless to say, de Souza didn’t win an Academy Award for his screenplay, but he gave the world an immensely quotable video game adaptation, and we’re all better for it.
After Bison has been defeated and Guile comes back from the dead (again), the remaining characters celebrate their victory by busting out variations of their popular poses from the video game. It’s an easter egg moment for fans of the game, and it highlights the international cast, which nowadays feels refreshing.
Shortly before they pose and break the fourth wall, though, a temple explodes in front of them. In a wonderful Street Fighter oral history done by The Guardian, the first assistant director of the second unit, Keith Haygate, admitted that only a quarter of the temple was supposed to explode. However, the whole thing blew up and destroyed $240,000 worth of scaffolding and styrofoam that was built over four acres. The cheeky posing and the unexpectedly massive explosion define the movie, because it’s a knowingly tongue-in-cheek film that had an explosive production. The film was rushed, and it suffered a number of setbacks, but it still pulled in $100 million worldwide on a $35 million budget. Street Fighter will never be mistaken as quality cinema, but it’s a lot of fun, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about loving it.
What is your favorite Street Fighter moment? Let us know in the comments.
Street Fighter was released on December 23, 1994.
Ernest Cline‘s book Ready Player One is like one giant easter egg, filled with ever-smaller easter eggs — like a pop-culture nerd’s own little Russian nesting doll. The plot is about the search for an Easter Egg, and each stage of that search is an easter egg unto itself. And then, every paragraph is laden with easter eggs of its own, references to video games and anime films and, more than anything else, the ’80s.
Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of Ready Player One, which hits theaters March 30, makes a lot of changes to Cline’s book — author-approved changes, mind you, as Cline co-wrote the screenplay — but the spirit of the novel remains intact. In particular, the film, like the book, includes a ton of easter eggs and references. So many, in fact, we think it would require Cline himself multiple viewings to pick them all up. (Spielberg admitted recently that the special effects artists were adding things even he didn’t even pick up on until he was making very final shot approvals).
We don’t want to spoil the movie for you — half the fun of Ready Player One is in its surprise pop-culture references. But we do want to help you get the most out of your viewing experience — so you’re ready to catch every little easter egg on offer. With that in mind, we’ve put together a spoiler-free guide to what you should watch before you join Parzival, Art3mis, and a whole bunch of ’80s-flavored easter eggs in the OASIS.
(Photo by ©Universal)
And maybe not Munich, or Amistad or The Post. And definitely not War Horse. But there are tons of nods to and cameos from Spielberg’s big blockbuster hits, especially the one about the dinos. The Spielberg gems come thick and fast and pretty early in the pic — so eyes out. It all makes a bunch of sense, given that the filmmakers had to secure the rights for every easter egg they use here. And it has us imagining a Spielberg-directed Ready Player One sequel, full of easter eggs referencing the original Spielberg-directed Ready Player One: Our pop-culture–loving minds were just blown.
Famous ’80s slashers abound in Ready Player One — if you’ve seen the trailer, you know Freddy and Jason are back for their first reunion since carving up a member of Destiny’s Child in Freddy vs. Jason. But it’s scene-stealing killer doll Chucky who gets the most love, and screen time, from Spielberg. We weren’t able to spot his Bride or his Seed anywhere, but maybe you will.
(Photo by © TriStar)
As if you needed a reason to revisit James Cameron’s genre-defining sci-fi action classic. We won’t say when, what or how T2 is referenced, but Steven Spielberg said during a South By Southwest Q&A that this is his favorite easter egg in the movie.
(Photo by (c)Universal)
There are blink-and-you’ll miss them references to Robert Zemeckis’s 1980s favorite throughout, and the director himself is called out by name. In fact, the whole movie feels undergirded by the spirit of Marty McFly and his journeys back and forth through time. So, it’s worth watching Back to the Future just to prep for the vibes. The most obvious allusion to the movie, though — and we’re not spoiling anything here if you’ve seen the trailers — is the DeLorean that Parzival drives when he is inside the OASIS.
(Photo by ©Warner Bros. Pictures)
One of the most beloved animated movies of the 1990s — and one of the most critically adored, with 96% on the Tomatometer — is used to great effect in Ready Player One. The giant robot’s role has been amped up considerably in the transition from book to film, a decision that seems to have paid off. When Spielberg first revealed the big guy in footage shown at Comic-Con last year, fans went wild; expect similar reactions in your theater when the Giant gets his big moments.
Fans of the book will be excited to hear that Parzival and Art3mis make it to virtual nightclub, the Distracted Globe. And once there, well, it’s Dance Dance Revolution by way of John Travolta.
(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)
Don’t expect to spot rogue Oompa Loompas in Ready Player One, or to spy a long-lost Augustus Gloop shooting through a random chocolatey tube somewhere in the background. Watch this wonderfully bizarre family classic to get a sense of the story beats. Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory is a world of pure imagination, just like the OASIS, and danger lurks in both.
(Photo by ©Universal)
OK, maybe skip the movie and bring a bucket full of coins to an arcade that still has Street Fighter 2. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know the battle scenes feature a cavalcade of your favorite kicking, punching and hadouken-ing SF2 fighters. And there is a moment near the end of the movie that will blow… no, nope, we’re not saying anything else. But while you’re in video game mode, do brush up on Halo, Overwatch, and all your N64 classics.
New York City’s favorite furry menace is central to one of Parzival’s key challenges, and that’s all we will say. You could dangle us from the top of the Empire State Building and we still wouldn’t tell you which one.
(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)
Like Ernest Cline’s book, Steven Spielberg’s film is littered with anime references. The most-front-and-center anime easter egg, though, comes in the form of the bike Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) rides. Yes, that’s Kaneda’s famous red motorbike from Akira.
The references in Ready Player One the book are broad. It wasn’t just about Spielberg movies and comics and Atari and anime; there were dramas and interesting novels and, yes, romcoms. And so it is with the film. You probably don’t need to rewatch the whole movie to get the key reference — just do a Google images search of the title — but there are worse ways to spend your time than enjoying a 98% Fresh classic.
(Photo by ©Warner Bros)
Spielberg told Rotten Tomatoes that there are strong narrative parallels between Parzival’s journey and Max Rockatansky’s. “It’s a journey, it’s a chase, it’s a race,” said Spielberg. “There’s a goal in all of them… Mad Max is evocative of what we did here.” (Also, look around in Halliday’s office.)
Check out Movieclips’ Reference Guide for Ready Player One:
Ratchet & Clank: Recently re-imagined for your PlayStation 4, now appearing on the big screen for the first time. The movie invites viewers back to see the origin team-up of the duo (one a robot, the other a bobcat-ish thing, probably a descendant of prolific serial killer Bubsy), which inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery: a history of video games-based movies by Tomatometer!
As film fans know, video games have been used to inflict pain and senseless brutality at the cineplex for years now. In honor of that miserable tradition, we elected to devote this feature to a look back at some of the least entertaining game-to-film adaptations Hollywood’s ever produced, and while there was definitely no shortage of contenders, we narrowed it down to a particularly pungent few while making room for plenty of variety (in other words, only one Uwe Boll film made the list). Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start: It’s time for Total Recall!
(Photo by Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Here’s where we admit what many of you have known all along: If we’d done things a little differently, this list could have been largely comprised of Uwe Boll movies. For whatever reason, Mr. Boll has displayed a deep affinity for video game adaptations over the course of his remarkable career, and the “bad game movie” subgenre’s byways are clogged with the effluvia of his cinematic efforts. In the interest of variety, however, we decided to limit his appearances here, leaving us with one obvious choice: 2005’s Alone in the Dark, an alleged sci-fi thriller starring Christian Slater as a paranormal detective and Tara Reid as a scientist — both of whom are investigating the disappearance of an ancient civilization that prayed to space demons. Extremely loosely based on the Alone in the Dark game series — which was itself loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft’s writings — the movie found itself alone in the dark with scores of sparsely populated theaters playing host to scornful critics like the San Francisco Examiner’s Rossiter Drake, who guffawed, “The late Gene Siskel once devised a simple method of measuring a film’s worth: ‘Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?’ Alone in the Dark doesn’t come close to matching that standard.”
(Photo by Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection)
He has since ascended to “franchise Viagra” status, but Dwayne Johnson’s early years as a Hollywood action hero were a little bumpy. After his breakout appearance in The Mummy Returns, he struggled to find a solid fit for his beefy build and natural screen charisma, occasionally turning in critically lauded performances in box-office misses (The Rundown) or working overtime to prop up misguided action flicks (Walking Tall). 2005’s Doom falls into the latter category, repurposing the hugely popular first-person shooter as a sci-fi thriller about a crew of soldiers sent to rescue a colony on Mars after residents accidentally open a portal to Hell and unleash a horde of murderous creatures. While the film included plenty of the tunnel-bound warfare that fans of the game had come to expect, the end result was — as critics would repeatedly point out regarding plenty of like-minded pictures over the years — more fun to play than to watch. “Doom,” pointed out Roger Ebert, “is like some kid came over and is using your computer and won’t let you play.”
(Photo by GramercyPictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
How do you make a movie out of a game based on nothing more than a pair of brothers pummeling the bejeesus out of bad guys? If you’re Double Dragon screenwriters Michael Davis and Peter Gould, the unfortunate answer is “come up with a convoluted story involving halves of a mystical amulet” — and things only went downhill from there, after director James Yukich built a cast that included future Party of Five veteran Scott Wolf and former Who’s the Boss? star Alyssa Milano. The result was a deeply hokey 90 minutes of low-budget chop-socky action that provoked near-universal guffaws from critics like Luke Y. Thompson of the New Times, who wondered, “How hard would it be to come up with a story at least as good as that of the original Nintendo game? Impossible, apparently.”
(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection)
There have been so many lame game-to-film adaptations that it can be tempting to believe there’s simply no point in trying to bridge the two mediums, but there really are video games that look like they might make good movies; unfortunately, as 2007’s Hitman proved, even the most cinematic backstory doesn’t necessarily mean a polished final product. Starring Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47, a member of an army of bald and bar-coded assassins who finds himself double-crossed by the shadowy organization that trained him from birth to kill, it looked on paper like just the sort of globe-trotting action thriller that might keep 007 fans satisfied between Bond sequels — yet the end result was a picture every bit as smoothly anonymous as its protagonist. A planned sequel was scrapped, and although Hitman’s $99 million box office tally ensured an eventual reboot (due in August) that might do a better job of distilling the game’s appeal, the original is still a case of sadly wasted potential. “47 doesn’t even want the girl,” pointed out a frustrated Tricia Olszewski for the Washington City Paper. “What kind of action movie is this? A skippable one, ultimately.”
(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection)
For a certain breed of filmgoer, all you really need to make an entertaining movie is hand Mark Wahlberg a gun. Max Payne, director John Moore’s adaptation of the hit video game series about a vigilante cop gunning for justice after the murders of his wife, child, and partner, was made exactly for those people and pretty much no one else — with the possible exception of Sin City fans who want to watch a movie that wishes it could be Sin City, or maybe noir enthusiasts who feel the genre needs more murderous winged man-creatures. For just about everyone else, Max Payne is a painfully misguided hash of “gritty” action and digital effects, all directed within an inch of its life; as Michael Phillips wrote for the Chicago Tribune, “You find yourself rooting against Payne’s survival, even with a good actor in the hollow role. There’s nothing inside the film’s sour, slovenly spirit of vengeance.”
(Photo by New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection)
The first Mortal Kombat may not have been a major work of cinematic art, but it had its moments, and overall made for a pleasantly undemanding afternoon of chop-socky entertainment with mystical mumbo-jumbo overtones — and it was rewarded for achieving those limited goals with a surprising run of box office domination and a gross approaching $125 million. Sadly, little of that fun — or the original cast — remained by the time Mortal Kombat: Annihilation arrived in theaters, and the result was a box office bomb that put the nascent Kombat franchise into a development deep freeze from which, at the time of this writing, it’s still struggling to escape. “Never — at least not since the first Mortal Kombat,” sighed the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea, “has tedium been so loud, so full of backward flips and flying fists to the kissers of centaurs from another realm.”
(Photo by Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Critics pooped all over the first Silent Hill movie, but it made nearly $100 million anyway, so six years later we were treated to Silent Hill: Revelation, which picked up after the events of the first film (but followed the plot of the Silent Hill 3 video game) by following the harrowing new exploits suffered by Christopher Da Silva (a returning Sean Bean) and his adopted daughter Sharon (Adelaide Clemens) after her mother (Radha Mitchell) is trapped in a sinister ghost dimension. It’s a premise with a certain spine-tingling promise; alas, very little of it translated to the screen, and Silent Hill: Revelation ended up grossing roughly half of what the original made. “It’s never a good sign,” groaned Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times, “when the trailers playing before a film have richer, more complete narratives than the feature you’ve paid to see.”
(Photo by MGM/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Given Street Fighter’s lowly reputation, one would hardly guess it made nearly $100 million during its box office run, but that’s the risk a filmmaker runs when he puts a beanie on Jean-Claude Van Damme and casts Raul Julia as a bizarre military dictator — and that’s exactly the sort of infamy that awaited this misbegotten attempt to turn mountains of arcade quarters into box office glory. As with Double Dragon, one of the chief problems was that of plot — specifically, how to spin one out of a game that revolved more or less solely around people beating each other up — and writer-director Steven de Souza compensated by imagining a surreal standoff between the megalomaniacal M. Bison (Julia) and a Megaforce-style military force dubbed the Allied Nations. We could delve into the narrative further, but the end result would be the same: Plenty of silly fight scenes and a heaping helping of horrible reviews from critics like Stephen Holden of the New York Times, who dismissed Street Fighter as “A dreary, overstuffed hodgepodge of poorly edited martial arts sequences and often unintelligible dialogue.”
(Photo by Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
We all knew this was going to make the list, right? The grandaddy of all game-to-film box office bombs, 1990’s Super Mario Bros. was supposed to be gaming’s Hollywood coming-out party — proof that not only had video games truly arrived as entertainment with real staying power, but that gamers were an audience just waiting to be tapped by film studios who could make millions bringing pre-existing franchises to the big screen. All of which sounds great, but fails to take into account the fact that directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were trying to make a movie out of a game about sibling plumbers who run through a series of bizarre worlds in pursuit of a princess who’s been captured by a giant turtle, and who have to battle an insane menagerie of villains (including sentient mushrooms) along the way. After an extensive casting search that included attempts to lure in Danny DeVito, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tom Hanks, the filmmakers eventually hired Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo to play brothers Mario and Luigi, while Dennis Hopper agreed to portray the villainous humanoid reptile-thing King Koopa, but all the acting talent in the world couldn’t have made a dent in the cacophonous mess that is Super Mario Bros., which turned out to be such a critical and commercial dud that the game’s developer, Nintendo, swore off film adaptations for decades. “Kids might get a charge out of the mayhem,” groaned the Charlotte Observer’s Lawrence Toppman. “I got the vapors.”
(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection)
By the late ‘90s, Matthew Lillard and Freddie Prinze, Jr. were ready to graduate from teen romcoms… which they signaled, unfortunately, by signing up for the disastrous big-screen adaptation of Wing Commander, which found them trying in vain to wring big-screen thrills out of a hokey story involving a future interstellar war between humans and an alien race of catlike bipeds. It’s a premise that sounds thoroughly silly to Commander novices, and director Chris Roberts compounded the problem by making several key changes to the game’s characters and mythology that alienated core gamers who might have otherwise turned out for the film. Observed Anita Gates for the New York Times, “Wing Commander is based on a video game and has roughly the same degree of character development. That is all most moviegoers will need to know.”
What better way to celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama by watching Oliver Stone’s W. this week on DVD? While a handful of middling studio releases hit home video this week (Nights in Rodanthe, Soul Men, Blindness), the Certified Fresh pick (and Oscar nominee), Frozen River, hits as well. Celebrate Black History Month with the latest from Spike Lee (Miracle at St. Anna) or go indie with the moving directorial debut of actor Giancarlo Esposito (Gospel Hill). Finally, peruse the week’s more eclectic offerings for a break from the norm — and a well-placed roundhouse kick or two (Chocolate, Street Fighter Extreme Edition, and Bruce Campbell in My Name is Bruce).
The politically-inclined movie lover should take note of Oliver Stone’s latest, a shockingly tame envisioning of the early adult life of former US President George W. Bush. As Dubya, Josh Brolin turns in an astoundingly acute and yes, often humorous, portrayal of the Texan playboy-turned-Commander in Chief, and fellow cast members Elizabeth Banks (as Laura Bush) and James Cromwell (as George Bush Sr.) drew praise from critics. The problem, however, lies in relevance — Stone opts to ignore much of Bush’s Presidential choices in lieu of speculating a psychological case study of power ascendance and daddy issues, in the process neutralizing his too-subtle damnation of the former Prez. Learn more about Stone’s approach in a filmmaker commentary available on the standard release, with more materials (making-of featurettes, deleted scenes) found on Blu-ray.
Next: Spike Lee’s latest joint falls south of Fresh
While his impressive track record boasts more fresh movies than the average director (he’s got a 75 percent Fresh filmography), Spike Lee has known the occasional flop. Unfortunately, Lee’s latest flick, Miracle at St. Anna, is one of those Spike Lee joints; an over-earnest World War II fable about an all-black squadron in Nazi territory, it careens back and forth between war actioner and mystical legend and runs well overtime. That said, Lee’s epic has something to say about black American soldiers in battle and their depictions (or lack thereof) in American cinema, and that’s worth watching for. Expect no additional bonus materials, however, unless you spring for Blu-ray.
Next: The schmaltzy Nights in Rodanthe
3. Nights in Rodanthe — 30%
Richard Gere and Diane Lane reunite (after starring as a married couple in the thriller Unfaithful) in this schmaltzy romance about two middle-aged strangers who meet at a seaside B&B. How much schmaltz are we talking, you ask? Perhaps these two words can give you an idea: Nicholas Sparks. The author of goop-fests like The Notebook and Message in a Bottle offers up another three-hankie romance full of sentiment that is only for those with the strongest tolerance for cornball contrivances. Featurettes, deleted scenes a commentary by director George C. Wolfe (Lackawanna Blues) and more appear — but only on the Blu-ray disc.
Next: Remembering Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes…with Soul Men
If we are to remember the late comic Bernie Mac and the late musical legend Isaac Hayes, let it not be through watching Soul Men. The two artists, who passed away last year, deserve more of a send-off than this tepid R&B buddy comedy, though the disc fittingly includes separate tributes to the careers of both men. The film itself, directed by Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother, Roll Bounce) follows the reunion of two former singers (Mac and Samuel L. Jackson) who reunite for a concert; humorously delivered expletives and adult humor mar much of the proceedings. If that’s your cup of tea, so be it, though there are more fitting ways to pay tribute to the memories of two such well-loved entertainers.
Next: Blindness, from the director of City of God
A city-wide epidemic mysteriously leaves the population without sight — save for one woman (Julianne Moore) — in Blindness, the latest film from Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener). As in his previous films, Meirelles tells a story of human conflict in a strikingly visual manner; that story, however, was too bleak and muddled for many critics. Although this allegory fell short of the freshness mark, the dynamics of post-apocalyptic society and the social cannibalism of Lord of the Flies may appeal to fans of science fiction. An hour-long behind-the-scenes documentary and deleted scenes bolster the DVD, which lacks what would have been an intriguing commentary track.
Next: Bruce Campbell goes post-modern in My Name is Bruce
Fans of the Evil Dead films, Brisco County Jr., or Bruce Campbell himself should pick up this week’s DVD release of My Name is Bruce, a post-modern horror adventure in which a small town is terrorized by an ancient demon, and Campbell (as himself) must step in to save the day. Similar to the recent JCVD, in which over-the-hill action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself as hero in a fictional situation, Campbell pokes fun at (and celebrates) his own movie star status as a B-movie actor of yesteryear. Featurettes, a fake trailer (for the faux film within a film, Cavealien 2), an hour-long making-of documentary, and a feature-length commentary by Bruce Campbell and producer Mike Richardson all make this a must-own for Campbell fans.
Next: Chocolate: Are you ready for the female Tony Jaa?
If the phrase “the female Tony Jaa” doesn’t grab you, then you’re not going to be hooked by this Thai import. (And you also have no sense of fun — because it gets even better.) Chocolate stars newcomer Yanin Vismistananda as Zen, a young autistic woman with an uncanny knack for Muy Thai who puts her martial arts skills to work to pay for her mother’s cancer treatments, leading to a battle with the Yakuza. Plot-wise, it may not make much sense, but amazing stunt work is the leading reason to give Chocolate a go; director Prachya Pinkaew also made the landmark Ong Bak, which made a star of Tony Jaa, and he’s looking to do the same with his agile 22-year-old female star. Chocolate opened in theaters in limited release only last week, so those in major metropolitan areas might even still catch it on the big screen.
Next: The Certified Fresh (and Academy Award-nominated) Frozen River
Independent cinema often needs the most help reaching the masses, so here are a few more reasons to check out Frozen River this week: at 86 percent and Certified Fresh, it’s the best-reviewed wide release of the week, and features an Oscar-nominated performance by actress Melissa Leo. The drama, directed by first-timer Courtney Hunt (who is also up for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay), follows a financially-struggling mother (Leo) who takes to smuggling illegal aliens across the Canadian border to make ends meet. Morally complex, this thriller is made all the more relevant by today’s economic climate — not just in its story, but in the behind-the-scenes drama of how an independent film reportedly made for less than $1 million made it to the Academy Awards.
Next: Giancarlo Esposito’s directorial debut, Gospel Hill
Actor Giancarlo Esposito (Mo’ Better Blues) makes his writing and directing debut with this independently-made drama about race relations and community in the fictional town of Gospel Hill, screened at the Oxford Film Festival last week. As in many Southern towns today, Gospel Hill and its denizens are still hurting from ills committed during the civil rights movement; in examining the lingering specter of segregation, Esposito (who also stars) aims to help heal the social wounds that still separate black and white communities. Esposito managed to nab colleagues Angela Bassett, Danny Glover, Samuel L. Jackson and Julia Stiles for his passion project, which also stars Taylor Kitsch, Adam Baldwin, and the RZA.
Next: Do you need the re-released Back to the Future trilogy?
If you already own the time-traveling adventures of Marty McFly from the previously-released box set, or are waiting patiently for the trilogy to get its as-yet unannounced Blu-ray treatment, then you’ll probably want to avoid double-dipping with this week’s 2-Disc Special Edition. But if not, you might want to take advantage of this week’s re-release of all three Back to the Future films, available for the first time individually. While each film has its own substantial set of extras and a commentary track featuring producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton, only the first movie comes with an additional disc that highlights Back to the Future: The Ride; Robert Zemeckis and star Michael J. Fox only appear in Q&As. Personally, where the future of home video is going, we will need more.
Next: Street Fighter hits Blu-ray!
Despite the lack of any indication that the world particularly needed a Blu-ray release of 1994’s Street Fighter, here it arrives in an “Extreme Edition.” What’s so “extreme” about this High Def release, besides the sight of seeing Jean-Claude Van Damme about to spiral into B-movie obscurity (in high definition)? Nothing much, though we are extremely sad to be reminded that such respectable thespians as Ming-Na, Raul Julia, and heck, Kylie Minogue, cashed in to bring such iconic characters as Chun Li, Bison, and Cammy to life. A plethora of bonus materials are on display here to commemorate the cheesy action flick, which helped to kick off an entire genre (the disappointing video game adaptation) and — surprise! — arrives just in time to help promote Capcom’s new game, Street Fighter IV.
Until next week, happy renting!
We’ve all had our share of fun at Jean-Claude Van Damme‘s expense over the years — never in front of him, of course — but perhaps the DVD-friendly action star has always been sharper than we gave him credit for being.
In a recently published interview with MTV Movies, Van Damme gave a refreshingly candid assessment of his life’s work, reportedly “admitting he’s only ever made a couple of decent films” and staring down what he figures to be the last 10 years of his acting career.
Don’t feel too bad for Van Damme, though — he recently filmed Mabrouk El Mechri’s J.C.V.D., which the actor says will premiere at Cannes, and easily sounds like the most interesting project he’s ever made:
[It’s] about a guy who was arrested too many times in the U.S. Being drunk, my [character’s] life was from success to failure. And this guy is now leaving the States to refresh himself, to go back to Brussels to see his parents. He’s got no money and he’s looking for any type of movie to pay his lawyers for child custody. And then he shows up in a post office where a heist is happening, and people think I’m part of it. And then it becomes very “Dog Day Afternoon.” I think it’s the best film I’ve done in my career. I didn’t take any salary for it. I’ve got to respect my fanbase, the people who made me famous, but I’m trying to bring them something different. With me playing me, it was a very shocking experience. When I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t able to function for a few days. After 37 movies, I said, “I will never do another movie I would not like.” What Mabrouk did to me, it’s like Scorsese did to De Niro years ago. It’s a very different picture for Jean-Claude Van Damme.
That doesn’t mean Van Damme is done with his more traditional fare — he’s promoting a new picture, titled The Shepherd: Border Patrol, in which he plays a border patrol agent who discovers that “the new drug lords are controlled by ex-Navy Seals” — but he does seem to have turned over a new leaf. He tells MTV that his next order of business is financing and directing a picture called Full Love (“I know it’s not a Van Damme title, but it’s a strong story”), and he also opened up about turning down two sizeable paydays. Asked about rumors that Brett Ratner wanted Van Damme to appear in Rush Hour 3, the star responds:
Yeah, I was approached. But if I do an action movie today I cannot walk through the streets and do karate moves. I would not believe it anymore. It’s hard for me to say that. I cannot go and do three somersaults. I would feel like a monkey. So “Rush Hour,” even though I would have been well paid, would have been difficult for me to accept.
The follow-up question, naturally, is how Van Damme feels about the upcoming Street Fighter reboot — and wouldn’t you know it, he was offered a role in that, too:
In fact they called me for that movie, to do the sequel. Again, I would have been well paid but I didn’t want to do it. I’ve made enough money. I don’t want to make a movie and then come home and be unhappy about it. Life is short. I’m 47 years old. I’ve got 10 years to go where I can be the best I can be. I want those 10 years to be precious, not like before, cranking two or three movies a year. I’ve made a ton of movies in my life, but so what? It’s time for me to do things I like so I will be happy, my wife will be happy, my friends will be happy. I just want to do something I’m proud of. It’s time for me to change. I could sign with a company for 10 movies and I’m the king of video and so what?
So what, indeed. To read more about Jean-Claude Van Damme’s latest, follow the link below!
Source: MTV Movies
Variety reports that Michael Clarke Duncan, Chris Klein, Rick Yune, Moon Bloodgood (NBC’s dearly departed Journeyman), Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas, Edmund Chen, and Cheng Pei Pei have joined Kreuk in the 20th Century Fox production, set to begin filming next month. From the article:
Kreuk, who plays Lana Lang in the CW’s “Smallville,” will star as martial artist Chun-Li. Duncan will play Balrog, while Klein is stepping into the role of Nash. Yune is taking on the mystical Gen…Andrzej Bartkowiak (“Romeo Must Die,” “Exit Wounds“) is directing from a script penned by “Voltron” scribe Justin Marks. Hong Kong fight choreographer Dion Lam (“The Matrix“) is handling the extreme fight sequences.
Although Variety notes that the movie’s “plot” is being “kept under wraps,” it’s apparently clear that the latest Street Fighter will focus on Chun-Li. Producers are still searching for the right actor to play the movie’s villain, Bison (Raul Julia is, sadly, unavailable).
Andrzej Bartkowiak, director of Hyde Park’s new Street Fighter movie, has found his Chun-Li.
ComingSoon reports that Smallville star Kristin Kreuk has signed on to star in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li. Unlike the long-running Capcom videogame’s first live-action trip to the screen, this Street Fighter will not feature a beret-wearing Jean-Claude Van Damme; rather, it’s “focused on female fighter Chun-Li and her journey for justice.”
The new Street Fighter, which Bartkowiak will direct from Justin Marks’ script, begins filming next March in Thailand.
It was just over 20 years ago that Capcom released the first game in the Street Fighter series — so how better to celebrate than a report in Variety detailing plans for the new Street Fighter film adaptation?
Yes, film fans, it’s true: No amount of time spent in development (or utter moviegoer apathy) can kill Capcom’s desire to bring its popular videogame back to the screen, and to that end, Variety reports that Andrzej Bartkowiak has been signed to direct. The article refers to him as an “action specialist,” and that’s pretty accurate — his previous directorial credits include Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, and Cradle 2 the Grave.
The script? It’s being given a “polish” by Justin Marks, who wrote the original draft. If Marks’ name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because we’ve recently discussed his work on the forthcoming Voltron movie, as well as his involvement in the Super Max and He-Man projects. Variety describes the story as being “focused on female fighter Chun Li and her journey for justice.”
The first Street Fighter movie, released in 1994, rode the combined star power of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, and Kylie Minogue to a $33 million gross and late-night cable infamy. Simply by virtue of inflation, the new adaptation — which is being produced by Capcom in conjunction with Hyde Park and distributed by Fox — seems almost certain to earn more.
The article doesn’t provide any casting details, but who needs ’em? Our fellow Vineketeers can come up with a great cast right here in the comments. Let’s hear it, RT faithful — who do you think should star in a Street Fighter for the new millennium?
Not only will there be a new-fangled "Street Fighter" movie, but early word is that Ms. Jessica Biel is in line to star as Chun Li, who is obviously a mega-talented butt-kicker, which means Jessica will have ample opportunity to jump around and look hot. Cute as she is, though, Jessica Biel doesn’t look much like a "Chun Li" to me…
More word on this 20th Century Fox video game adaptation when we get it.
Source: Latino Review
Yeah, it’s a pretty disrespected sub-genre, isn’t it: the video game adaptation. And for good reason, I suppose, what with "Super Mario Bros.," "Double Dragon" and Uwe Boll among its achievements. But that’s not stopping Capcom (creator of "Resident Evil," among many others) from taking a few new chances.
From The Hollywood Reporter: "Japanese video game publisher Capcom, which has licensed its original franchise "Resident Evil" to Impact Pictures and Sony Pictures, recently stepped into the movie production game with an original "Street Fighter" movie due in 2008. It is partnering with Hyde Park Entertainment on a new film that focuses on Chung Li, one of the most popular fighters from the game franchise.
Capcom is exploring the other end of convergence as well. After decades of creating such original game franchises as "Devil May Cry," "Lost Planet," "Dead Rising" and "Onimusha" (which has a film in development at Davis Films), it has hired Germaine Gioia to serve in the newly created post of senior vp licensing in its Los Angeles office. She will liaison with Hollywood to find properties that can work as Capcom games."
Click here for the full article.
Click here for a big list of Capcom’s games.
Hey, remember that really goofy "Street Fighter" movie that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme and (in his final role) the great Raul Julia? Remember how it pretty much stunk? Yeah, well get ready for an all-new adaptation of that particular video game.
Scribe Justin Marks has been tapped to adapt. Hyde Park and Capcom — Japanese publisher of "Street Fighter" — will produce the film in a joint venture.
Pic will focus on the game’s most popular female fighter, Chun Li, but the exact storyline is being kept under wraps. In 1994, Universal released a "Street Fighter" movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme that featured most of the characters from the game."
Hey, there’s no way it could be lamer than the first flick. (Is there?)
"The Mummy" star Brendan Fraser will star (for Walden Media and New Line Cinema) in a rather new-fangled rendition of the oft-lensed Jules Verne story "Journey to the Center of the Earth" — with one added treat. It’ll be called "Journey 3-D."
According to Variety, "Fraser will portray a geologist who, with his teenage son, discovers a message hidden in an ancient artifact, leading them into a previously unseen world.
Eric Brevig, who won a Special Achievement Academy Award for his visual effects work on "Total Recall," will make his feature directorial debut. D.V. DeVincentis ("High Fidelity") has written the script.
"Journey 3-D" will be shot in live action, with the otherworldly landscapes and creatures supplied by high-definition, photo-real 3-D technology."