Movies Based on Fighting Games
April 14, 2019

Believe it or not, there has been a lot more live action adaptation of fighting games than Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. If you hadn't heard of others, it would be because said other titles would had been eclipsed by these two franchises mentioned which were pretty damn big to gamers back in the 90s and are still around among the top of its genre. However hardcore fighting game fans would also know of other games that were infamously transferred to a mish mash live action of disastrous proportions.

I will begin with Street Fighter itself which was released on 1994 and introduced us to the live action counterparts of SF favorites such as Ryu, Ken, and Guile who was played by action star veteran Jean Claude Van Damn. We also cannot forget M. Bison portrayed by the late Raul Julia who pretty much hammed it up in every scene making this movie one of the best bad movies you would experience. While the film tries to integrate characters along with their own stories straight from the game, it also makes a mockery on any other character portrayed in the movie. Ryu is no longer the central protagonist, having Guile instead being he goes along with a squad of other characters who are under his command to hunt Bison down. Ryu along with Ken are just a couple goofballs con artists which makes one cringe on how that would ever happen at all. Other characters being given the bad film adaptation treatment would include Chun Li who instead of being an agent of Interpol she is here a news reporter, having along E. Honda and Balrog as her news assistants and Blanka is now revealed as Guile's not dead friend Charlie. Oh yes, you better believe it. While the movie makes short work of misinterpreting characters here and there, it is also a gem in terms of performing as an action movie parody along with a few martial arts scenes. Watching Raul Julia as M. Bison alone would really be the reason to experience if anything.

Several years later we got un-graced by The Legend of Chun Li, having the titular character white washed by Kristen Kruek from Smallvile fame. Seems the movie industry really likes miscasting game characters. I wish that would be the only downside to this awful movie, being that everything here is actually a lot worse than Van Dam's version of the movie. Simply put, not only this was an origin movie of sorts, but it also tried to rewrite events that happen in the game by killing off Bison (who is played by some bleach blonde asshole in a suit) and then referencing the Street Fighter tournament at the end. What? The Legend of Chun Li also suffered from horrible acting and lousy performance overall that would make you Shoryuken yourself from existence. This would be the last live action movie based on the titular gaming brawler. So far.


A year after Street Fighter debuted in theaters, New Line Cinema decided it was their turn to bring another fighting game that was hot at the arcade and gaming consoles of that time. Mortal Kombat came out blazing with all the fury of fans happily chanting its name and venturing to see fatalities being shown by actors in choreographed fight scenes. Well at least this was a bit better than SF had shown to say the least. While the movie was light on all the violence and gore the game counterpart was famous for, it did a decent job of portraying actors as the game character cast and some of its lore into the big screen. While Raiden was not played by an Asian actor, Christopher Lambert was hamming it up as much as Julia did playing Bison, and he was pretty much likeable even when he did not do much god of thunder things. Scorpion and Sub-Zero are present but do not fight each other, rather, are brainwashed to do Shang Tsung's bidding. Goro is accounted for as well and pretty impressive effects bring him in all his fury, even though he falls short on being that much ruthless here. For any that was not into the game this was a decent martial arts film overall, even though the ending was goofy as hell just to foreshadow its sequel, something that we regret ever experiencing when it came out.

Annihilation was a mess. Too many characters which did not allow the viewers enjoy much of an actual plot to follow through. Seems in every other scene one character chosen at random would pop up to fight the protagonists then just tossed off somewhere to make room for more characters making fighting cameos. I will admit some of the fights were nice in here, but again like in the first movie, the end was horribly goofy and with horrible CGI rendered monster transformations fighting along. Even those who knew MK games well would be lost halfway through this movie.


Yep. That's right. Tekken had its own live action movie. And it was a mixed bag to say the least. On one hand it suffered from the same cliché as previous fighting game movies with too many characters to even do anything with them, having to mix them up and toss them into the plot ignoring many elements from the game's story. Perhaps the worst adapted character here was Yoshimitsu, who in this movie comes out as a bad guy on the side of Kazuya Mishima to deal with Jin Kazama in a fight during the movie's tournament. It is quite insulting to go on making him a villain being that unlike Street Fighter, this movie came out by the time Tekken 6 was around and it even introduced some of its characters here. There was no excuse to miscast some of these characters like that other than some guy looking at Yoshitmitsu and say he just LOOKS like a bad guy so there you go.

The story is also clunky on this adaptation being that for some reason Kazuya works for Heihachi until he betrays him to take charge of the Mishima Business. Whatever. It was laughable to see him fight Jin while holding a pair of hand axes on each hand. Some of the fights here are well choreographed should you ignore the horrible story integrated into it. Any who doesn’t play the games would actually enjoy this as an action movie more than anything else, but would be confused at some characters such as the JACKs who are shown here as robot assassins.

Oh yeah, there was a sequel that was a prequel as well. It was called Kazuya's revenge or something. Pretty forgettable. Don't bother with it. The highlight is Kazuya waking up with amnesia and being a total wuss. Bleagh.

King of Fighters

By now you may be asking "You are sh***ng me" but alas I turd you not. Seeks no one would ever be expecting a live action movie of this series or rather, how the hell would they be able to CRAM everything from a fighting game which has TEAMS OF FIGHTERS instead of a singular person showing up?
Well, if you are thinking this movie was no good then you would be right. This by far is the most unforgivable piece of dung of a videogame fighting game movie you could EVER bother to watch. Even worse than Legend of Chun Li if such thing could ever be possible. On this movie we find out Rugal, played by martial art stuntman Ray Park steals the sacred Kusanagi sword which would allow him to take control of the tournament which takes place in a virtual world.

Still with me? Good. It gets worse from there. Mai Shiranui is an agent who is try9ng to track Rugal down by being active in said tournament and Terry Bogard is a police officer with zero charisma who dons the FATAL FURY cap while walking in an alley way to make sure you know who he is supposed to be here. Kyo Kusanagi forsakes his fiery martial arts in lieu of brandishing said sword to fight Rugal lite in said virtual world. The end.

There is absolutely no relation to the game whatsoever other than some playing a handful characters with forgettable acting and horrid dialogue, along with uninspiring fighting scenes and not much else besides it. If your thing is having the worst miserable time of your life then you would endure watching this thing. Anyone else who never heard of the games its supposed to be based on will just eject the DVD and toss it far away to be forgotten as soon as they begin watching it.

Dead or Alive

It has Kevin Nash as Bass. I don't know what else is there. I hear is not that bad and I saw a part of it on a Spanish channel when they showed it on TV a while ago. From my perspective it’s more of an action flick with fanservice than actual fighting for whatever they fight about in the games. I really have no opinion on it because the games themselves are mostly fan service-y so I guess the source material was spot on.

And that by far are the sole fighting game live action flicks on existence. We should count our blessings that this is still so.

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honestgamer honestgamer - April 14, 2019 (10:44 PM)
I like the Dead or Alive movie quite a lot, because it feels reasonably true to its source material. There's a lot of over-the-top, ridiculous action with attractive ladies and men beating each other up on a remote island. While it's not historically great cinema or anything, it just... works!
CptRetroBlue CptRetroBlue - April 21, 2019 (01:10 PM)
Yeah, I pretty much heard it is quite a unique adaptation which mirrors what the games are essentially about so it gets a pass on that retrospect. Really wish more videogame movies could follow that trend.

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