Video Game and Big Screen Bust

Video games are a fairly young media form and video games turned movies is even younger. It started with no other than Super Mario Bros. Yes, most of us have tried forgetting that monstrosity, the monstrosity that ruined careers and single handedly started the 1993 Iraq War. Some conspiracy theorist say that Bush Senior was a silent producer to the film. I do use the word “film”, loosely. The Super Mario movie debacle which featured drunk John Leguizamo and Denis Hopper was followed by increasingly putrid Double Dragon and Street Fighter. Street Fighter did make some money but it did get killed by the critics, much like Street Fighter killed Raul Julia. The Puerto Rican native was a once well respected actor starring in prominent roles in the 70s and 80s. He died from the shame that was Street Fighter. I don’t wish that kind of legacy on my worst enemy.

Though some films proved to be profitable, most ended being flops and an embarrassment to the art of film. Perhaps because of its earlier failures, video games have not made its mark in film entertainment the way books, comics, cartoons, sports, and even music have. Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, and a few of the Resident Evil installments did well in the box office but were all generally considered semi-shitty movies.

In 2007, hit but mostly miss, Timothy Olyphant starred in the movie adaption of Hitman and man oh man, was it far from a hit, making a mere 39 million domestically and crushed by the movie snobs. Usually, I say, screw those high browed, high horse, extended pinky movie snobs, but they were right, that movie was not only forgettable, it was regrettable. Fast forward 8 years to modern day America and we have a reboot. Hitman: Agent 47 hits theaters this weekend. It stars Homeland’s badass, Rupert Friend and Heroes favorite villain, Zachary Quinto and directed by rookie Aleksander Bach. The trailer looks like a mix between Crank and the worst possible James Bond. The initial reviews are looking worst than the original and ratings are plunging to Fantastic Four levels. Yikes.

This isn’t good for future movie adaptations of video games. It perpetuates the idea that video games don’t translate well to movies. So far that has been the case but by God, I cannot, for the life of me, see why. Video games, like other forms of art, have a strong following with some of the best developed stories and characters. Mass Effect, Half Life, Final Fantasy, Bioshock, Metal Gear, and The Last of Us are some of the greatest stories ever told. These stories should translate.
The only sense I can make of this anomaly is that the film industry doesn’t want the gaming industry expanding into it’s territory, like Russia and the annexation of Crimea. The two industries are competitors vying for a larger piece of the proverbial pie. With both industries slumping lately, perhaps a truce would be order and advantageous to both parties. Hitman: Agent 47 will flop harder than cement pancakes but there might be some light at the end of the tunnel. Big titles, Warcraft and Splinter Cell, starring Tom Hardy are on the cue and set for release in the near future. Perhaps those movies will start a better trend and be a start of unifying the two industries. Democracy and entertainment for all!

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