The 36 Best Video Game Movies Ranked

What should a great video game movie feel like? Should the "Final Fantasy" film mostly function like a playthrough with a bunch of extra cutscenes? Should plot developments be mostly fetch-quests? Films tell compelling stories, but an entire generation has been raised on video games, and they're used to feeling like they're participating in the plots of the media they consume, whether the project is based on a game or not. 

This, I would argue, is a quality the best video game movies share, no matter how faithfully or not they adapt their button-mashing source material. But giving a fixed narrative an active sense of play is unbelievably difficult. For every "Tomb Raider" (2018), there's a "Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2003). Still, some films manage to pull it off — here, we're going to look at the 25 best video game movies (which, for our purposes, are movies based on a video game property, not movies that take place in a game), plus one honorable mention.

38. Honorable Mention: Wreck-It Ralph

When considering the legacy of video game movies, it's impossible not to think of "Wreck-It Ralph." It's not technically a movie based on a video game, so it can't be officially counted, but it's also better than arguably every other movie listed, so it kinda deserves to be here anyway. We'll call it an honorable mention as a compromise, but make no mistake: "Wreck-It Ralph" is one of the greatest video game movies of all time, and not just in spirit. Every gamer loved seeing characters like Bowser and Zangief share screen time, or the countless visual gags like the Konami Code or the "Metal Gear" exclamation mark. However, "Wreck-it-Ralph" is, by design, an ode to gaming in all its forms.

The film features riffs on a number of beloved genres, from arcade classics like "Donkey Kong" to modern favorites like "Mario Kart" and "Call of Duty." However, much like how games simplify the duality between heroes and villains, so too do some people with the kinds of gamers we can be. It can often feel like everyone, from MOBA champions to platforming junkies, is kept in their own separate boxes, but we all contain multitudes. Watching Ralph defeat cybug scum and then go on to conquer kart racing isn't just inspiring in terms of pure game-hopping, but also in the discovery of his own self-worth. You can be an arcade lover, a racing fiend, and an FPS sharpshooter all at once, and you know what? That deserves a shiny gold medal.

37. Honorable Mention: Tetris

This may not technically be a "video game movie," but it sure is based on a video game –- arguably the video game -– so it deserves at least an honorable mention. The universal appeal of "Tetris" transcends boundaries — age groups, nationalities, even corporations (the Soviet creation still holds the Guinness World Record for most-ported video game). The only boundary it had left to cross was from gaming to filmmaking. Of course, an actual plot based on the blocks was a non-starter, so the folks at Apple decided to tell the second-best "Tetris" story they could come up with — the one that happened in real-life.

Though the game itself is occasionally featured in the film, 2023's "Tetris" is concerned with the larger international frenzy that brought the game to households worldwide. Henk Rogers (portrayed by Taron Egerton) is a down-on-his-luck game publisher who discovers the fast-paced puzzler at a gaming convention in 1988. He's determined to partner with Nintendo on distributing the game worldwide, but a greedy British opponent and the Cold War isolationism of Soviet Russia put the deal in jeopardy. 

The film is a bit dense –- business dealings simply cannot garner the same kind of cinematic stakes as an actual Cold War political thriller -– but the heart in Egerton's performance ultimately wins the day, not to mention a surprisingly intense car chase sequence in the third act. It can't beat an actual video game plot but, for a movie about "Tetris," this is the best it's gonna get.

36. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Bill Simmons, founder of The Ringer, is fond of discussing actors' "apex mountain" on "The Rewatchables" podcast. Basically, if any given role finds a performer at the peak of their powers, then it is their artistic pinnacle and should be recognized as such. It's a goofy concept, but a great one, and it leads me to offer the following: "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" is Jake Gyllenhaal's apex mountain midpoint.

What on Earth does that mean? It means that the 40-year-old's role in Mike Newell's adaptation of the classic Ubisoft platformer finds the actor trying to hit new acting heights, but often struggling to summit. Playing Dastan was, in Hollywood's estimation, the logical next step for Gyllenhaal — it's a straight-up movie star part, kind of like a yoked Captain Jack Sparrow. Ironically, however, it was the wrong role for Gyllenhaal (or, really, any white actor), who flourishes in movies by Denis Villeneuve and Dan Gilroy, but strains in PG-rated family-friendly action mode. 

That said, Gyllenhall's performance makes Newell's film fascinating even if it rarely rises above competency. Besides, if "Prince of Persia" is the film that makes Mysterio Gyllenhaal's next blockbuster role, it deserves praise. Not every mountain can be one's apex. 

35. Super Mario Bros. (The Morton-Jenkel Cut)

Let's get one thing clear: There will never — ever — be a film that strays more from its source material than 1994's "Super Mario Bros." If Aaron Sorkin adapted "Pride and Prejudice" and set it in deep space, it would somehow still be closer to Jane Austin's book than Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel's film is to Nintendo's platformers.

But in the case of the recently released Morton Jankel cut, that doesn't mean that "Super Mario Bros." is bad. While the box-office bomb flopped with fans, critics, and pretty much everyone else, it was also an extension of the aesthetics Morton and Jankel honed on the sci-fi cult classic "Max Headroom." "Super Mario Bros." is set in Dinohattan, a city where humans and dinosaurs co-exist. The dinosaurs' leader, King Koopa (Dennis Hopper), kidnaps Princess Peach (Samantha Mathis) to improve his popularity. Down into the rabbit hole of this dystopia come Mario and Luigi (Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo) to save the day. 

What follows is an epic deconstruction of the hero's journey, one as informed by the LA police state post-Rodney King as jumping over pits and gobbling up 8-bit mushrooms. The Morton Jankel cut, assembled by Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive, is an attempt to capture the directors' eclectic vision as originally intended. While it's far from perfect, it's an eerily predictive ride that's as biting as it is ridiculous. Who knows what a game based on this would even look like? Not us, that's for sure.

34. Doom

If the video game movie sub-genre has a landmark moment, it's the third act of "Doom." For its first two thirds, director Andrzej Bartkowiak offers a boilerplate sci-fi menace. There are creatures. There is violence. Even if the presences of a shockingly young Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a pre-"Dredd" Karl Urban, and a "wow, she's in this?" Rosumund Pike briefly alleviate the movie's frequent doldrums, for most of its runtime "Doom" feels exactly like its title. But then John Grimm (Urban) decides to blast his way through virus-infected crew members, Bartkowiak shifts to a first-person point of view, and boom! Iconic video game cinema is born. 

The first-person shooter sequence in "Doom" was enthusiastically received by fans of the game, a rarity for the genre, and remains emblematic of what video game movies aspire to be and what they're expected to deliver. From the way the camera moves to the frame rate, which seems ready to glitch out, Bartkowiak's unbroken shot mimics the rhythms of classic "Doom" so succinctly that it basically qualifies as meta. And while few other video game movies have channeled their source material so directly, this genuinely fun moment earns "Doom" a spot on both this list and also the annals of B-movie cinema. You don't necessarily get "Crank," "V/H/S," or "Hardcore Henry" without "Doom." 

33. The Angry Birds Movie

The market of mobile games suited for the big screen treatment is slim to none, even with the outrageous success of "Angry Birds." Still, IP gotta IP, so we got stuck with this cash grab of an adaptation that feels like Sony's answer to Illumination's animation empire. Admittedly, Rovio Animation's expansion of their original mobile game is fun and colorful, especially in 3D. Models are expressive, backgrounds are detailed, and the film's absolutely stacked voice cast makes each character feel distinct. A special shoutout goes out to Josh Gad, who has proven he can make any movie delightful off of his presence alone.

Still, you'll be hard-pressed to remember much about this movie after one viewing. Because the game doesn't really have a story with a capital S, the movie's attempts to whip one up are a bit limp. The only reason the plot functions is because most of its characters are simply idiotic, which never makes for a particularly enjoyable viewing experience. Red, the "Angry Birds" poster child and the star of the film, is the only one with any intuition, but he's also incredibly obnoxious, so it's a lose-lose. It isn't until the third act that we get what we really came for: birds crashing into pigs and buildings. The climax has visual gags abound, making us wonder what we could have gotten if the filmmakers had decided to simply make a war film with birds hurling out of slingshots. It likely would have been more fun that way.

32. Warcraft

Duncan Jones is not a director who settles for half-measures. His debut film, "Moon," hinges on a tone-shifting twist. His follow-up, "Source Code," constructs a convoluted time-loop thriller, then uses it as a Trojan horse for a love story. If Duncan Jones was going to make a video-game movie, it was always going to be huge. The only question was: how big?

The answer, it turned out, was "Warcraft." Jones' least successful movie with critics became one of the highest-grossing video game movies ever, amassing more than $400 million at the worldwide box office and offering, in my humble opinion, the largest scope and most ambitious world-building of any film in the sub-genre. 

"Warcraft" feels massive. Its colorful visuals pop. Its score demolishes subtlety. If its narrative stumbles, that's part of what makes watching it such a wild experience. I'm not sure "Warcraft" is an objectively good film, but I'd rather spend two hours watching a good filmmaker take a big swing and miss than 90 minutes of mediocrity. "Warcraft" is absolutely the former.

31. Ratchet and Clank

You know, there's nothing particularly wrong with "Ratchet and Clank." The movie was pelted with negative reviews from critics and a resounding "meh" from fans when it first came out, but in actually watching the lambasted final product, you come to realize that ... it's fine! You've got the game's classic characters, half of whom are brought to life by the series' original voice cast and the other half given new life by a slew of celebrity voices (Paul Giamatti? Bella Thorne?? Sylvester Stallone???). Plus, they're all animated with the same color and charm found in the film's companion game, a remake/expansion of the original 2002 game and a very intentional tie-in to the movie. Well, maybe the movie was tied into the game, considering the game got vastly better reception.

That's the one thing you can hold against this film adaptation: no gamer would recommend a film based on a game over the actual game itself, but even this is a particular case where there's little the movie can offer beyond what the game already provides. At least with other, worse adaptations, the film gives you ... something else, for better or worse. "Ratchet and Clank" tells the same story but with less zany combat, less sharp wit, and less time actually spent with both Ratchet and Clank together. This doesn't make the film itself bad, but it does make it seem like there was a missed opportunity in finally bringing one of Sony's most beloved character pairings to the screen.

30. Street Fighter (1994)

Just one year after Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel's "Super Mario Bros." re-envisioned a popular video game to mixed results, director Steven E. de Souza's take on "Street Fighter" ambitiously staked its own claim in Capcom's prized fighting franchise and received a slightly warmer reception. Hint: It made bank. However, neither critics nor the game's fans were eager to embrace its dramatically different look and tone. Three decades later, the film remains a surprisingly decent entry into the video game movie canon and, more generously, a thoroughly realized version of "Street Fighter" that could have succeeded under different circumstances.

For one, it actually tries to take "Street Fighter" and craft a distinct world for it. Most entries in the series are tied to a fighting tournament, but not here. This is somewhat frustrating, until you realize Souza has redesigned "Street Fighter" as a futuristic war epic. M. Bison's (Raul Julia) crime syndicate is up against general Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and his troops, while the rest of the characters find their way into the mess in one way or another. 

There are hints of espionage, martial arts, mad science, even an energetic prison break sequence. It all isn't balanced especially well, nor written in a way that brings out the best in its characters, but when it's all being performed by such a fun ensemble, you can't help but enjoy yourself. Van Damme and Ming-Na Wen have attitude to spare, but Julia brings it all home, adding incredible gravitas to one of gaming's most iconic villains with ease.

29. Resident Evil

Over the course of compiling this list, two things became abundantly clear: One, Paul W.S. Anderson is the godfather of video game cinema. Two, most people like at least one "Resident Evil" movie — and there is no clear favorite.

There are arguments to be made for "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" and its clear-eyed social conscience. Some pick "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" because it's actually a pretty good zombie movie. As an argument can be made for almost any film in the series, it would appear that the six-film franchise might be more highly thought of than its Rotten Tomatoes scores indicate. 

Therefore, let's give credit where credit is due and make some room for 2002's "Resident Evil" on this list, a choice that honors video game cinema's most persistent IP and one that, on its own terms, works as a strangely charming action movie. While it isn't Anderson's finest work, "Resident Evil" acts as a sort of stepping stone between his early movies and his best films, and the torch-bearer for video game movies' appeal in general.

28. Mortal Kombat (2021)

Say what you will about this mess of a movie, at least they gave the fans what they wanted. That's not always something to brag about, but in this case, rendering real-life recreations of our favorite NetherRealm characters slicing each other in two is a noble pursuit. The original "Mortal Kombat" films are fun and goofy in their own way, but they never quite captured the game's joyous violence. From the reboot's opening sequence, it's clear the filmmakers were determined to make each fight scene gory and gruesome, fatalities included. The final product is certainly a blood-spiller — if anything, they could have gone even further with it.

Sadly, that can't quite make up for the rest of the film's flaws. I mean ... how do you make a movie about "Mortal Kombat" without the actual Mortal Kombat tournament? We know, we know, this movie serves as a setup and, as of right now, the sequel is currently in development. But even so, all we're left with now is a perfunctory mini-conflict that attempts to make sense of the utterly ridiculous conceit of this universe. Did we really need to get a psychological sense of why Kano has a laser eye, or why Sonya Blade gets rings on her arms? As the third act gives us fight after fight after fight, it becomes clear what a sequel needs to give us if we really want to see this franchise reach its potential on camera.

27. Five Night's at Freddy's

After nearly ten years, the kids finally got their "Five Nights at Freddy's" movie and, credit where credit is due, they showed up. The film's uncontested box office success came from its young fanbase and, judging from their reactions, Emma Tammi's take on the rabidly dissected, lore-filled horror dynasty was worth the wait. Many moments perfectly recapture the harrowing silence and surveillance aesthetics of the game, all of which is elevated by the Jim Henson Workshop's remarkably faithful animatronics. Add that to fan-favorite Matthew Lillard understanding the assignment, and it's clear why fans took to the film.

That said, those who are impervious to the hype can see through its thinly veiled fanservice. If anything, sometimes it even gets in the way; the film's plot is ridiculously convoluted and sloppy for a story that essentially boils down to haunted fast food mascots (this is what happens when you cycle through three writers in development). It's also surprisingly dull and under-stylized. If you watched the first 20 minutes of this film alone, you might think you were watching an A24 film about childhood trauma -– not that we're complaining, but that's not what this film ultimately is. It's a silly horror film, which barely manages to squeeze out a few genuine scares due to its PG-13 rating. So, no, "Five Nights" is not the best video game movie, but it is the second highest-grossing. If anything, hopefully it clears the way for more video game movies to make it through development hell.

26. Silent Hill

Of all of the films on the list, few have appreciated in value more than "Silent Hill." Debuting to a 32% percent Rotten Tomatoes score and reviews that called it "a train wreck" and "more deadly than silent," director Christopher Gans' take on Konami's popular chiller now charts on many rankings like this one. What happened?

A prevailing theory is that the cast and crew understood Keiichiro Toyama's game in a way that critics didn't. For all the notable fuss about the exquisite atmosphere of "Silent Hill" and its seamless blend of tension and violence, there is less written about its operatic tendencies. Though many derided the "Silent Hill" film's build towards a third act rife with phantasmagoria, doing so is remarkably faithful to the game — and, in the case of the creatures portrayed on screen (many of which were played by trained dancers, making the film's icky physical movement to be a practical effect), creepily accurate. 

As a game, "Silent Hill" was never for everyone. Gans' movie isn't, either. While it certainly falters at points, "Silent Hill" is consistently stunning, and creepy enough to transcend its many shortcomings.

25. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

After many Sonic fans embraced its predecessor, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" was right to steer into the nostalgic skid. The Blue Blur's second cinematic outing saw Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey return as Sonic and Robotnik, respectively, with Carrey now sporting the iconic Dr. Eggman mustache. Tails and Knuckles made their live-action debuts, with longtime Tails voice actor Colleen O'Shaughnessey and inspired stunt-casting choice Idris Elba bringing Sonic's sidekicks to life in a fresh and endearing way. We also saw plenty of other iconic concepts from Sega's hit franchise on the screen, including the Chaos Emeralds, Super Sonic, and even Shadow the Hedgehog in a post-credits tease.

However, for every step forward, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" takes two steps back. When will these studios finally realize that nobody comes to movies based on video games for the ancillary human characters? Sure, James Marsden and Tika Sumpter are fine as Tom and Maddie, but at some point, their wedding getaway subplot suddenly takes over the movie and ... why? What for? The first film had plenty of wacky real-world hijinks, but it also felt more focused on Sonic's coming-of-age story. Much of the sequel has very little to do with Sonic's globe-trotting adventure, which itself is needlessly prolonged with several pandersome tangents, including a dance number set to "Uptown Funk" about five years too late. The Minions called, and they said to stay in your lane.

24. Uncharted

PlayStation Productions really came out swinging over the span of just one year. "The Last of Us" earned widespread critical acclaim, and "Uncharted" managed to finally make its way to theaters after years of development hell. Needless to say, it was a bonafide box office success and became one of the highest-grossing video game films of all time. In an industry lacking fun historical adventures a la "Indiana Jones," "Uncharted" gave us a taste of what we've been missing: cryptic riddles, ancient relics, and buried treasure, all wrapped up in a high-flying action spectacle. If we aren't going to get pirate ship battles in a "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie any time soon, I'll take it in my "Uncharted" movie.

That being said, it's only just a taste. Aside from the film's admittedly incredible recreation of the plane escape, "Uncharted" isn't a particularly great adaptation of ... well, "Uncharted." A lot of this comes down to the miscasting of both Tom Holland as Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Sully. Both of them are a bit too young and boyish to capture the grizzled charm of the game's protagonists. The pair tries to be quippy, but the original appeal never translates, even if Holland and Wahlberg are perfectly fine as actors. When you tie them both around a film too concerned with being a generic, hyper-choreographed action flick, you have yourself an overall decent film that still feels like a disappointment after years of anticipation.

23. The Angry Birds Movie 2

If anyone was equipped to turn a mobile game into cinematic lunacy, it was Thurop Van Orman. Orman is best known as the creator of Cartoon Network's "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack," but that barely scratches the surface of his accomplishments. Van Orman also worked on "The Powerpuff Girls" and "Adventure Time, and voiced Lil' Gideon for Disney's cult hit "Gravity Falls." Van Orman has more animation bona fides than Jay-Z problems.

So, it's little wonder that he built a better blueprint for an "Angry Birds" movie with "The Angry Birds Movie 2." Characters move like clown-school graduates. Any chance for a pratfall — and there are many, including a rapid-fire "getting the team together" montage — is taken. The eclectic cast (Jason Sudeikis! Sterling K Brown!) seems bolstered by the new crew and brings their A-game to the voice acting. It's almost as surprising as the initial success of the "Angry Birds" game, and it should serve as Orman's calling card for any project he wants to tackle next.

22. Mortal Kombat

To talk about Paul W.S. Anderson's "Mortal Kombat," we must discuss the reboot released in 2021. Why? Because while Simon McQuaid's gore-heavy film is, in many ways, a better realization of Ed Boon's brutal and colorful fighting game, it's a less successful film overall. The performances don't go for broke, and the fights are cut to shreds. What Anderson's film lacks in sheen it makes up for in spirit, flawlessly capturing the feeling of playing "Mortal Kombat" in a dusty arcade or on a just-out-the-box Sega Genesis. 

When Goro shows up, it is giggle and gasp-inspiring. When characters fight, it's never less than fun. In many ways, that's why 1995's "Mortal Kombat" is the template for video game movies. It sees and recognizes its audience. Fighting games are, generally, dialed up to 11. They paint their characters in broad strokes. The action is swift and frequent, and they're and never, ever boring. Anderson's film gets this. 

That's why battles happen every 10 minutes or so. That's why someone screaming "Mortal Kombat" ad nauseum over the greatest techno song ever written works like gangbusters. That's why "Mortal Kombat," decades after its release, is still a top-three video game movie. Test its might. 

21. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

After six films at the hands of W.S. Anderson, it was time for a new take on "Resident Evil," perhaps one that was actually interested in adapting the games. Well, turns out Anderson's successors were so interested that they slightly overcorrected. Subtitled "Welcome to Raccoon City," the 2021 reboot adapts both the original "Resident Evil" and its sequel, crosscutting between the Renfield siblings for double the zombie goodness. The catch? Separating a brother and sister doesn't allow for a lot of dramatic momentum.

It's something the entire film lacks, frankly. We have so many interesting characters and pairings, from Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell) and Jill Valentine (Hannah John-Kamen) to Claire Redfield (Kaya Scolodelario) and Leon Kennedy (Avan Jogia), yet none of their respective chemistry (or lack thereof) inspires any compelling character work. We know, it's a zombie movie, there's bigger fish to fry. But "Resident Evil" didn't become one of gaming's flagship horror franchises just because you get to shoot zombies -– you can do that at a Dave & Buster's. The characters remain some of the most memorable in all of gaming. "Raccoon City" does my boy Leon Kennedy so dirty that even an "RE" zombie would find it disgusting.

Still, give credit where credit is due: director Johannes Roberts gives this franchise the atmosphere it so desperately needed. One scene with Chris and a flickering lighter instills more terror than the original six films combined. Featuring solid CGI and bass-quaking sound design, "Raccoon City" shows potential, at least stylistically, as a proper revitalization of this Capcom heavyweight.

20. Tomb Raider

Let's try a thought exercise: Pretend that you don't know that "Tomb Raider" is video game royalty. Act as though Lara Croft is just a name, and that Angelina Jolie didn't play her (certainly not twice). Now then, can I interest you in an expensive survival-action film starring Walton Goggins and Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander? That's a much more compelling pitch, right? 

2018's "Tomb Raider," which was directed by Roar Uthag of "The Wave" fame, is a better film than its buzz indicated, largely due to the fact that said buzz was framed in the context of Tomb Raider games. While "Tomb Raider" isn't a great adaptation of the video games that inspired it, it's also both unpretentious and visually stunning. Furthermore, the movie never reduced Alicia Vikander to a simple caricature (something that cannot be said of the Jolie films). Ultimately, "Tomb Raider" serves as an example of what happens when you adapt the way a game makes you feel, not just its tropes and signature aesthetic elements. 

19. Assassin's Creed

You know, this one almost works. It gets a bad rap for failing to adapt the boundlessly creative Ubisoft franchise, but it's not necessarily as bad of a movie on its own as everyone would assume. What it lacks in the original game's appeal it makes up for in its own unique vision for the world of "Assassin's Creed." Though it retains many similar story elements, the motivations are more sociological than the source material and, in many ways, more resonant. Sofia, the creator of the Animus, wishes to use the machine to rid the world of man's inherent violence, yet it is violence that enables agency. Sofia's father, Alan, uses Sofia's virtuous cause as a veil for the Templar's plan to rule over mankind, which is itself a form of violence; Cal, on the other hand, uses the Animus to inhabit his ancestor, who himself exacts violence against the 1492 Spanish Christian patriarchy. So who is to say violence must be expunged from the human psyche?

The film's exploration of this theme makes it a fascinating watch, even if its own pretentiousness can sometimes get in the way. Indulgent long takes, stoic color palettes, and heady dialogue often distract from the story, even if it does give the film a unique visual aesthetic outside of the source material. Still, the action more than satisfies, as do Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons as the leads. Those three could take turns reading aloud a grocery list and deserve Oscar nominations for it.

18. Injustice

Hey, it counts. It may be the only time a video game will ever be adapted into the DC Animated universe but, oh boy, does it count. NetherRealm's hit fighting game was praised for its story mode, featuring a narrative written exclusively for the game, so why not trade one animated medium for another? Superman's power-hungry guilt trip is given striking new life in this adaptation, which also includes elements from the game's comic prequel series that was released following the original game's success. The film may rush through a lot of the nuanced drama in an attempt to fit as much as it does into 78 minutes, but those 78 minutes are still packed with a lot of punch.

NetherRealm's uniquely dystopian story was already a fantastic impetus to explore DC's complex power dynamics, but veteran DCUA writer Ernie Altbacker ("Batman: Hush") goes deeper into how these heroes devolve when pushed to their limits. After "just one bad day," in Joker's own words, Superman can slowly transform into an outrageous tyrant, and Robin into a radicalized rebel. Even Batman, upholder of justice, is revealed to have failsafe methods to destabilize every member of the Justice League, including members who oppose him. This infighting results in a number of intense sequences; DC's adult animated films never shy away from violence, but "Injustice" feels like a new level of tragedy for the genre, sporting an impressively unpredictable body count of beloved characters that even rivals the source material.

17. Monster Hunter

Paul W.S. Anderson's "Monster Hunter" is relentless: relentlessly goofy, relentlessly fun, and relentlessly non-stop (yes, that's an oxymoron). It's a film that makes the bus in "Speed" feel like it's going at a leisurely pace. In between action setpieces, there are loads of crazy dialogue ("Never ever seen a flamethrower do this to a man"), ice-cold stares, and tons of killable creatures.

In short, "Monster Hunter" is exactly what it promises to be. To the credit of all involved, it doesn't stray far from the flimsy plots of its source material. Sure, in the "Monster Hunter" games, the protagonist is not a soldier from our world (Milla Jovovich) who gets sucked into an alternate universe full of evil beasts, but if that's what it takes to get to Tony Jaa to play character named the Hunter who travels around with an arsenal of exploding arrows, so be it. 

Unlike Anderson's "Resident Evil" films (which are goofily enjoyable in their own right), "Monster Hunter" doesn't get lost in excessive plots or lofty cinematic ambitions. It knows exactly what it is, and mainlines its own supply to deliver so much B-movie je ne sais quoi that it almost tilts back over into minimalism. In the midst of the pandemic that "Monster Hunter" was released in, that was enough to qualify as cinema. 

16. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Folks, have we been doing "Tomb Raider" dirty all these years? For a while, the Angelina Jolie starring vehicle was lumped into the bottom of the barrel of video game adaptations. However, following a slew of poor entries into the genre throughout the 2010s, including Lara's own failed reboot in 2018, it might be time for reappraisal. It is by no means a flawless film — it can even be described as mindless at times — but it has style to spare, much like the original game. Director Simon West channels the same wire-working, gun-toting grandeur of filmmakers like the Wachowskis and John Woo, giving Core Design's innovative creation the cinematic treatment it deserved.

It's hard to overstate just how perfect Jolie is as Lara Croft. Though the character herself is written flimsily, which the actress has addressed, Jolie is so effortlessly badass that her characterization still feels fully realized. It's a performance that is emblematic of the film itself, boldly confident, but also cheeky and fun. For every action setpiece, there's a cocky one-liner to follow it up. However, "Tomb Raider" also has heart in the form of Lara's relationship with her father, portrayed by Jolie's real-life father, Jon Voight. That meta angle is just enough to imbue an underexplored facet of the film with enough sentimentality for emotional beats to hit, including a beautiful meeting during the film's climax. It may be a bit mindless, but the original "Tomb Raider" does its original source material justice.

15. Rampage

The Rock's second appearance on this list, 2018's "Rampage" is a notable improvement over his first for two reasons. One, director Brad Payton and the film's four credited writers bring an admirably goofy energy to their blockbuster, which is fitting for a movie based on an arcade game about punching nondescript buildings as a kaiju. Two, this film is nuts.

Again: "Rampage" is nuts. Do you want to see a movie in which the werewolf from "True Blood" gets eaten by a larger, flying wolf? That's "Rampage." Have you wondered if Jeffery Dean Morgan could play a character from every state in the South all at once? In "Rampage," he does. You thought Jake Lacy was the embodiment of toxic white privilege in "White Lotus?" You haven't seen "Rampage." 

"Rampage" is a film in which a giant lizard and gorilla destroy more of downtown Chicago than "The Blues Brothers" and "Transformers 3" combined — and yet, it's whatever Jake Lacy and Mailin Akerman are doing in their shared scenes that truly strains credibility. "Rampage" rocks even when is at its most questionable, and that, dear reader, is everything a "Rampage" adaptation ought to be.

14. Final Fantasy: Advent Children

Video game movies may have a mixed reputation here in the States, but in Japan, they have a much better track record. After all, it only makes sense that a country responsible for several of gaming's most legendary franchises would also be better at adapting them for the big screen. Though not every film makes it Stateside, some fanbases are simply too big to ignore. "Final Fantasy 7" is considered one of the greatest video games of all time, so any expansion on its continuity was bound to attract fans the world over. However, none of us could have anticipated the sheer spectacle of "Advent Children," an audacious continuation that gave fans the now iconic rematch between Cloud Strife and Sephiroth.

Admittedly, anybody new to "Final Fantasy 7" will have a hard time following the film; the exposition comes with a steep learning curve, especially considering the movie non-linearly introduces additional new characters and plot points. However, those familiar with the game will enjoy following up with Cloud, who is still struggling with an identity crisis after learning he was never a member of SOLDIER. His journey in finding self-worth and accepting help from his friends is the heart of the story and a beautiful emotional catharsis for fans. The film is also, simply put, epic; the action is frenetic (sometimes to a fault), the animation is pristine, and Nobuo Uematsu's part-orchestral, part-rock score intensifies every action beat. To this day, fans still point to "Advent Children" as a definitive entry in the "Final Fantasy" mythos.

13. Need For Speed

If "Fast & Furious" can become a blockbuster franchise, who says we can't share the wealth of street racing on film? "Need For Speed" is such a genuinely exciting sports film that it didn't even need the crutch of its original video game to warrant its own existence, but it is a nice bonus. This collaboration between Electronic Arts and DreamWorks proves that cracking certain video games on film isn't rocket science. Sometimes, when life gives you a racing simulator, you make a racing film, and an absolutely hard one at that. 

Though it varies from game to game, the utter destruction of the "Need For Speed" franchise gives the franchise the raw thrills its races are known for. To see the filmmakers commit to that with some of the most stunning practical car crashes put to film is oddly mesmerizing. Sure, many of the cars are lookalikes, but the power of cinema doesn't account for that.

Is the film perfect? No. The story's a bit inexplicable at points and the actual driving sequences themselves could have used more dynamic coverage. There's only so many times that silly first-person shot of Aaron Paul driving can make us feel like the director "played the game." Regardless, the film is incredibly entertaining, in part because the entire cast understood the assignment. They're all having a blast but committing to the drama and stakes of the story when it counts. Bless you, especially, Michael Keaton, for all of your gosh darn charisma.

12. Sonic the Hedgehog

Those teeth. If you were on Twitter in 2019, they're why you remember "Sonic the Hedgehog." The memes that Sonic's original design inspired were incendiary. The fans' outrage was palpable. By the time that Paramount Pictures committed to fixing Sonic's chompers and the discourse about the hours worked by digital animators hit a fever pitch, it was easy to forget that "Sonic the Hedgehog" was a film at all. 

And here's the thing: the Sonic movie is good. Is it great? I wouldn't go that far. It's still basically a remake of "Hop" with better action scenes. But "Sonic the Hedgehog" is sweet, memorable, and blissfully weird for a film that initially seemed so misguided. Ben Schwartz's voice work is endearing. The direction is crisp, unfussy, and very family-friendly. And Jim Carrey channels his entire blissed-out '90s comedy run into his performance as Doctor Robotnik. Whether he's arguing about whether James Marsden's Tom Wachowski was breastfed or dancing to "Where Evil Grows," "Sonic the Hedgehog" has — you guessed it — teeth. Now being on Stringer Bell's Knuckles.

11. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life

It appears we have become full-blown Lara Croft apologists. Sorry not sorry! These movies rule, with the sequel to "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" somehow topping its predecessor in almost every department. It all comes down to its winning formula: brilliantly acrobatic action choreography, gorgeous on-location shooting, and a hunky, wise-cracking sidekick to aid in some good ol' sexual tension. This time around, it's Gerard Butler as Terry Sheridan, not only an independent loot-seeker but also Lara's (Angelina Jolie) ex. We love a near-naked Daniel Craig, but this is a step up.

"Cradle of Life" is also an improvement because -– let's face it -– the original film isn't really about anything. It manages to shoehorn in some actual father-daughter love between Jon Voight and Jolie at the end, but there isn't much more to it. The sequel, though nothing extraordinary, is more explicitly about greed and self-interest, specifically Lara's journey in confronting it when faced with the legend of Pandora's Box. It comes to a surprisingly effective head in the film's finale, when Lara must sacrifice her boner for Sheridan to stop a world-ending plague from blighting humanity. That's progress!

Jolie really was the perfect Lara Croft, accent be damned (it's better in the sequel). She may have looked the part, but she also imbued the character with instant charm, quiet ferocity, and actual sense of adventure. Even in the limited canon of globetrotting treasure hunters, Jolie as Croft stands out among the rest.

10. Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion's Revenge

Finally, a "Mortal Kombat" movie that gets the story right. That's what happens when you have series creator Ed Boon as your creative consultant, but it's also what happens when you take the material seriously. "Scorpion's Revenge" is the best primer you can get to NetherRealm's fighting series, tackling both Hanzo Hasashi's origin story as well as the first "Mortal Kombat" game. Despite framing EarthRealm contestants Liu Kang, Sonya Blade, and Johnny Cage as the film's primary protagonists, the film effectively tells both their stories and Scorpion's tale of anti-hero woe all in one go and in a tight 80 minutes. Impressive.

What's more is that "Scorpion's Revenge" is very, very violent. Despite being animated, Warner Bros. Animation and Studio Mir go for the jugular, literally, and do justice to the series' bloodsport. Intestines are slashed, spines are ripped out, and entire bodies get split in half, plenty of which is highlighted by the series' iconic X-Ray shots showing you exactly where characters meet their end. 

The film takes pride in its excessive flesh-ripping but never loses sight of the story's darkness; Hanzo's wife and son are murdered at the hands of Sub-Zero, a moment in which director Ethan Spaulding catches the audience off-guard and uses the franchise's extreme violence as extreme tragedy. Similarly, many character deaths are not as gleeful as in the games, rather a means to effectively portray the ruthlessness of the world these characters inhabit. It's not a movie for the faint of heart, but it makes every fatality count.

9. Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

With the announcement of his latest adventure in the works for the Nintendo Switch, there's no better time to get gaming's favorite gentleman sleuth back on the big screen. After all, his sole cinematic entry is one of the best video game movies, if also one of the least seen. "Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva" unfolds like any great Level-5 mystery, initially presented as disparate pieces that connect to form a much larger puzzle. Thankfully, puzzles are this franchise's specialty, and "Eternal Diva" has more than enough brain teasers to satisfy any longtime fan.

However, the true star here is the story. With no gameplay to fuss over, "Eternal Diva" channels the series' already gorgeous animation and talented voice cast into a heartbreaking tale of memory and mortality. It all begins when a renowned opera singer believes her best friend has been reincarnated into the body of a young girl. Soon after, one of her performances is hijacked by a mysterious villain who thrusts the audience into a competition of riddles in which the winner is promised the secret to eternal life. It all feels like a whirlwind at first but, as tragic backstories are unwound, everything comes together in time for a high-stakes climax the likes of which Layton fans have never seen before. Throw in a dash of class commentary a la "Triangle of Sadness," and you have the makings of another great series of mystery films. If Benoit Blanc and Hercule Poirot can have multiple modern movies to their name, why not Professor Hershel Layton too?

8. Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie

Where 1994's Hollywood production of "Street Fighter" failed to fully capitalize on its ensemble of characters, "Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie," released the exact same year, does that and more. This is about as loyal an adaptation as you can find, directly translating Capcom's loose lore into an "Avengers"-esque martial arts epic that sees all of your favorite characters brought to life with incredible fight sequences. Most importantly, they finally got Blanka right. Justice for Blanka!

There's still no fighting tournament in sight, but who needs that when you have M. Bison assembling a team of brainwashed fighting champions for his crime syndicate, Shadowlaw! Interpol agent Chun-Li and military captain Guile team up to stop him, but Bison already has a plan in motion: to target Japanese martial arts master Ryu by brainwashing his best bro, Ken. Along the way, we get cameos from all of our favorite fighters: Zangief, Blanka, Dhalsim, Fei Long, and even E. Honda, who plays a role in the film's climactic final fight. In the words of a very different fighting franchise, everyone is here!

The most important contribution from "Street Fighter II" is the bromance between Ryu and Ken, only shown in flashbacks but so bro-tastic that we could use an entire anime ("Street Fighter: The Early Years?"). Their frenemies-turned-teammates arc gives us a sensational final blow, in which they finish off M. Bison with a dual-hadouken that must be seen to be believed.

7. Gran Turismo

Despite "Gran Turismo" being based on a real story (haven't you read the film's tacked-on subtitle?), we're counting this one as a legit video game movie. What differentiates this from something like "Tetris" is that, regardless of its real-world application, Sony effectively gave us an adaptation of the actual game as well — the Venn diagram just so happens to overlap. In fact, it's actually an inspired storytelling decision. Most racing games don't bother with plot, so if you're going to source one, you might as well do it from your own company's history.

"Gran Turismo" centers on Jann Mardenborough (portrayed by Archie Madekwe), a high-ranking "GT" player from Cardiff, Wales who longs to become a real racer. When he becomes eligible for the Nissan-sponsored "GT Academy," a program looking to make players into racers, Mardenborough goes all the way to racing at 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world's most challenging races. Though the film has rightfully been criticized for twisting the chronology of Mardenborough's story for dramatic effect, it is nonetheless an inspiring story that shows the real-world applications of gaming (with additional training, of course).

What especially elevates this adaptation is the direction of Neil Blomkamp. The revered sci-fi director initially seemed like a strange choice for a racing film, but you can feel the rawness and authenticity he brings behind the camera, even in a large studio project like this. Toss in David Harbour, who so thoroughly understands the assignment he could teach a college course on it, and you've got yourself a fun time at the movies.

6. Dragon Quest: Your Story

The best video game movies know how to tell a strong story while still capturing what fans love about the original game. "Dragon Quest: Your Story" takes things one step further by paying homage to the fans themselves with an ending that was divisive among audiences. Though it comes as a bit of a shock, the plot twist –- that the entire film was really a virtual reality simulation experienced by a "Dragon Quest" player — frames the story directly through the eyes of audience and, in turns, transforms the film into a love letter directly to them.

This would explain a number of narrative choices made in adapting "Dragon Quest V" to film, notably giving the typically blank-slated Hero a name, Luca, and having him marry Bianca over Nera, which is normally a choice made by the player. But that's just it –- Luca is the player. What would otherwise be seen as streamlining the game's story for the sake of plot is now an embracing of the game's element of player choice. The film even incorporates actual in-game footage in its opening few minutes. 

It may leave some of Luca's childhood relationships a bit half-formed over the rest of the film, but it's a further commitment to reflecting how a player experiences "Dragon Quest." All of this makes "Your Story" not only a celebration of the series on film, but a showing of gratitude to the fans who have made it one of Japan's most popular RPGs.

5. The Super Mario Bros. Movie

It was about time. We all knew Mario could make for a great movie despite the missteps along the way, and we were proven right. Well, basically proven right. In reality, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is a 6/10 without the gamer gloss, but a striking 10/10 for any longtime Mario fan. 

Despite our doubts, Chris Pratt makes for a solid Mario and Illumination's realization of Nintendo's most beloved franchise is stunning, from the surprisingly charming streets of Brooklyn to the elaborately vertical platforms of the Mushroom Kingdom. Usually, an onslaught of "Mario" Easter eggs would be interpreted as tryhard corporate hackery, but every detail in the film is implemented in a way that speaks more to the animators' love for "Super Mario" and their desire to get this movie right for the fans. I mean, just listen to that score!!

Is the story itself all that interesting? Not especially. It's your run-of-the-mill adventure plot, made even more copy-and-paste thanks to the well-known conventions of the franchise -– though the switch-up between Peach and Luigi is a welcome touch. The lesson Mario learns isn't an especially novel one, nor is the film's climactic finale. But who cares? They let Jack Black sing! "Peaches" is an unironically bangin' number, proving Black as Bowser was a match made in Koopa heaven from the start. With a stronger tongue-and-cheek sensibility like that going forward, the Illumination Mario-verse could prove to be the strongest silver-screen translation of any video game franchise ever.

4. Ace Attorney

Hold it. No conversation about video game movies is complete without the miracle that is "Ace Attorney." Capcom's interactive court drama may have seemed too heightened for a live-action retelling, but the unclassifiable Japanese director Takashi Miike took on the challenge and basically aced it. Towing a difficult line between melodrama and actual drama, Miike's vision manages to complement the game's theatrics with a technically stylized showcase reminiscent of Korean master Park Chan-wook. Plenty of what we love about "Ace Attorney" is still here — the memorable soundtrack (reorchestrated, of course), bold hairstyles, and plenty of Objections! — but put side-by-side with massive production design, impressive visual effects, and sharp editing that reflects the series' intensity.

However, the film's greatest strength is how it takes two separate cases from "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney," "Turnabout Sisters," and "Turnabout Goodbyes," and streamlines them into one larger story. In this version, Mia Fey's death is directly linked to the investigation surrounding the death of Robert Hammond, which gives Phoenix Wright more investment in the story and a more involved character arc. The film also includes more interactions between him and Miles Edgeworth, as well as flashbacks of them as children, which give us a better understanding of their relationship going into the trial against Manfred von Karma. We even get flashbacks about the Fey family as spirit mediums, one of the film's many excellent uses of visual effects. These may seem like natural choices to make, but they work wonders in helping the story function less episodically and more like a single plotline.

3. Detective PIkachu

The only major summer tentpole to be shot on film in 2019 was Rob Latterman's "Detective Pikachu." I think about this once a week. It's a remarkable fact in its own right, but it's also the key to understanding why the two-year old video game film feels wildly elevated. Here is a family film that goes out of its way to stock up on noir tropes and shoots them like "The Long Goodbye" never happened, all while letting Ryan Reynolds go full Robin Williams. How does this movie exist? 

Never mind, that. What matters is that "Detective Pikachu" is excellent. It manages to cram an intelligent look at the limits of male communication and one legitimately frightening set piece into a rollercoaster ride of shadow-soaked comedy and plot twists. It was one of 2019's better films, and it's only going to age like a fine wine. It's place on top of this list was almost destined; however, one 2021 release gives it some seriously stiff competition.

2. Werewolves Within

Since its release in 1985, Jonathan Lynn's "Clue" has been an outlier. It's one of the best movies based on a game of any sort; it blends genres like Jamba does juices. Most importantly, it anchors both its story and its comedic engine to its peerless ensemble and their irascibly manic dialogue. "Clue" feels like well-built lightning in a bottle. It shouldn't exist. It does. There's never been anything else like it — until "Werewolves Within."

Is that too much praise for a movie that only came out recently? Absolutely not. Josh Ruben's follow up to the great "Scare Me" gathers an impressive assemblage of young, funny people like Sam Richardson and Harvey Guillen, veterans like Michaela Watkins and Catherine Curtin, and character actors like Wayne Duvall and Glenn Fleishler, and sets them loose upon a twisted supernatural mystery. 

"Werewolves Within" is fun. It's socially conscious. Most notably, it captures the exact blend of craft and chaos that made "Clue" so singular almost 40 years ago. It's not that there aren't any video game movies like it — it's that there are almost no movies like it, period. "Werewolves Within" sits as the undisputed king of video game movies. Long may it reign.

1. Animal Crossing: The Movie (Gekijōban Dōbutsu no Mori)

It's a shame that the best video game movie is one very few gamers have actually seen. "Animal Crossing: The Movie," or "Gekijōban Dōbutsu no Mori" in the original Japanese, grossed over one billion yen at the Japanese box office, yet has never gotten an overseas release. Now that the franchise has exploded in popularity post-"New Horizons," it's time to officially campaign for this adorable, heartfelt adaptation to finally make it to the States. Co-produced by Nintendo, "Animal Crossing: The Movie" follows Ai, a young girl who moves to the Animal Village. Her excitement to begin a new life will feel familiar to any "Animal Crossing" fan: She explores the island, immediately becomes acquainted with her neighbors, and even begins to work for Tom Nook as a delivery driver. As she and her friends dig for fossils, watch meteor showers, and fangirl over K.K. Slider, any fan of the series will immediately feel right at home with this adaptation. 

However, not only does this delightful slice-of-life anime capture the appeal of the series, it also translates its gameplay into a well-paced narrative that expands on the original game's mechanics. Ai is forced to confront some hard truths, such as the heartache one feels when their friends move away. She also must discover what she dreams for herself now that she is independent. These subtle elements in the game are given more resonance through storytelling, which is what makes it the best video game movie of all time.