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“Speed” director Jan De Bont was hired to helm the sequel to the 2001 hit, “Tomb Raider” entitled “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”. Croft is tasked to retrieve to find a Pandora’s Box and this time, it takes her to locations such as Africa, Hong Kong and Greece which of course increase the production costs to a 100 million in reality. Alas, the sequel couldn’t pull in the audience resulting in a feud between Edios and Paramount Pictures who blamed each other for the failure. The ongoing feud was far more exciting than the movie itself. The subsequent planned third sequel was scrapped by Paramount and the last we heard, Edios is finding new financers
possibly Warner Bros for a franchise reboot.

As if one is not enough to prove it’s silliness, the one and only Uwe Boll dubbed the worst director in recent history contributed his share by helming an insane five adaptations “The House of the Dead”, “Alone In The Dark”, “BloodRayne”, its sequel and “In the Name of the King”. The bad news is all bombed without a trace in the box-office while the good news is most of us in Singapore never paid a single hard-earned penny to sit through any of them.


In Asia, to coincide with the launch of its sequel “Forbidden Siren 2”, “Forbidden Siren” the movie which is based on Sony’s Forbidden Siren series for Playstation2 was released in Japan on February 2006 and Singapore in September. Konami’s “Silent Hill” directed by Christophe Gans draws certain parallels with “Forbidden Siren” with its repetitive warning siren theme as both had more or less the same team working on both the original Silent Hill game and the first Forbidden Siren game. Our in-house reviewers call “Silent Hill” as total atmospheric terror and rates “Forbidden Siren” for its excellent ghastly atmospheric qualities.

With popular Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as Sergeant Thomas "Sarge" Kelley, “Doom” which utilizes the first-person shooter perspective in the movie version failed even with its gratuitous violence and Stan Winston’s creature effects. In 2006, renowned HK action choreographer Corey Yuen took on “DOA: Dead or Alive”, the Tecmo video game. Assembling a cast of pretty babes including Jaime Pressley, Devon Aoki and Holly Valance in skimpy outfits and passable kungfu moves, the movie fails to find its audience in the end and what a surprise given the huge base of male gamers.


The best-selling X-Box game of all time, Halo was long rumoured to be a hot property among the studios. Director Peter Jackson and Universal Studios were at one point attached to the project but it was announced to the disappointment of fans worldwide that the project couldn’t take off as a result of a ballooning production budget even though the game itself sold almost US$600 million in the States alone.

At the same time, studios continue to churn out movie adaptations even though the end product normally deviate itself from the source material. Fox’s “Hitman” and “Max Payne” were two recent examples that took a beating from both the critics and the audience. On the home video side, “Dead Space: Downfall” and “Resident Evil: Degeneration” are two prominent direct-to-video titles released in 2008 which emphasized more on the violence than anything else.


Whether you like it or not, movies adapted from video games is a trend to stay. Next year Disney will release its tentpole project in summer, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Gordon Chan’s “King of Fighters” starring Maggie Q and Ray Park is also in the release pipeline. Others such as “Metal Gear Solid”, “Rainbow Six”, “Spy Hunter” are still circling in the rumour mill.

There’s no such thing as lack of material but there is for every video game adaptation to the big screen, the numbers might not total up to the studios’ desire.  Mostly remain duds, a handful had modest successes while only a selected few managed to hit profitability for the investors. But one very apparent reason why studios are still keen on a video game property is the largely built-in awareness such as the established characters and plot. The biggest problem however remains that a gamer might not necessarily be enticed to the movie adaptation while a movie-goer might not be interested on a movie that originates from a gaming property. Perhaps another major flaw lie with the studios, a movie adaptation normally has distanced itself greatly from the original gaming material by the time it’s released to the theatres.

On 19 March 2009, Chun-Li will be back in “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-li” in conjunction with the 20th anniversary launch of the Capcom’s Street Fighter game. When the movie opens on 27 February 2009 in the States, the first weekend box-office hardly register a stir with only a measly US$4.6 million. Judge for yourself when the movie opens in Singapore. When all else fails, you can always rely on a certain Mr Anderson.

If You Missed Part One >

By Linus Tee | 5 March 2009
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