Movies, are awesome. Video-games, equally so. So when it comes to our alien overlords understanding the culture they just enslaved, they’re gonna have a pickle when they arrive at the perplexing equation of why combining two great things has managed to suck so consistently for the last 20 years.
At best, video-game movies can pass for mediocre action-films. We get entries like Tomb Raider that are.. well.. not ‘good’, but passable, I guess. At least the crew spent five minutes looking at why Tomb Raider sold so well and made sure to put those "features" in.
Invert the scale, and they're so bad they’re at least funny. Street Fighter: The Movie, a film which picked the most unashamedly patriotic character ever depicted in fiction - a man with two American flag tattoos - as it's hero, and then chose to cast a Belgian man with an accent heavier than your mum to play him. Also, whose favourite character is Guile? Seriously? Those suits up in Hollywood apparently market-researched Street Fighter to the point of concluding that neither Ryu, Ken, or Skullomania were interesting or famous enough to base the first live-action SF movie on? No, f***ing Guile. But it’s fine; terrible acting, awkward costumes, and a s*** story means we must laugh. Or else we would cry.
For years, the best video-game movies have existed without actually being based on video-games. There are movies that, if you squint a bit, resemble and celebrate those things we love about games, and God bless'em for it. Here's five such.
5. Crank (Grand Theft Auto)
Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series is one of the most popular franchises of all time in any digital medium. It’s infamous and record breaking. So it’s surprising really that we haven’t been force-fed a GTA movie by some studio who can do the math that, 1+1=so much God damn money. But let’s not dwell on what no one really wants and appreciate what we have instead.
Crank is mental. It’s a madness franchise that chronicles one man on his journey to keep himself alive by keeping his adrenaline topped up. He does this with a cocktail of heavy drug use, energy drink consumption, routine violence, and a cheeky bit of ‘hows ya father?’ Much like the GTA series, our protagonist, ‘Chev Chelios', played by everyman yet no man Jason Statham, goes from speeding in hijacked cars to sprinting up busy streets, taking out bystanders and visiting strip clubs when the appropriate timing arises, all with a charming accent.
It’s a fever dream of one man making a city his circumstantial playground, and we’re along for the ride. Crank is like watching your mate who’s finished the story mode on GTA and is now revelling in the destruction he can create. It also has video game logic at its most simple. Fall out of a sky-born helicopter, land on a car, lose a bit of health, continue on.