Have you ever been watching a movie and thought to yourself “Wow, this feels a lot like a video game. Like if this was a video game I would definitely play it. And honestly I would rather be playing the video game that this feels like then watching the movie that it is, which probably explains this long-winded internal monologue I have kinda been going off on right now instead of watching this movie OH SNAP DID THAT CAR JUST EXPLODE?!”
The answer is, of course you have. Some movies seem to function with an abundance of action set pieces, but without a coherent plot. Others crib from tropes that are staples of video game culture, like boss fights and various levels. In either case, it sometimes leaves you wishing you could play the movie rather than watch it. Here are some films that would have worked better as games then they did as movies.
A while after Inception left people scratching their heads, there were rumors that a video game set in the same universe as the film was in production. That now seems to have just been all just a dream, but the idea behind it is probably why the movie would have worked better as a game in the first place. Inception created a very interesting universe with simple rules to enter a dream. But if the actual movie was a video game, it would have worked just as well. The film had literal levels, and each action set piece within the levels would have been amazing to battle through. And it doesn’t matter if you loved or hated Inception, you can’t tell me it wouldn’t have been fun to fight as J.G. Levitt in that shifting gravity hallway. It would have been a dream come true.
A Good Day to Die Hard
The only real lesson that can be taken away from the Die Hard franchise is that you shouldn’t hang out with Bruce Willis on or around Christmas. Other than that, the series ranges in quality from classic to “I didn’t even remember that they made that”. The last film in the franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, falls solidly into the latter category. But it would have worked much better as a video game — having John McClane tool around Moscow blowing stuff up in a first-person shooter-style game would have been a lot of fun, and the film’s lack of substance would have been negated by the awesomeness of blowing up a helicopter. Plus the video game Bruce Willis could have done all his own stunts.
Big Trouble in Little China
For those of you who haven’t seen this bat-sh*t crazy ’80s cult action film, or maybe only just recently heard about it by way of the could be upcoming Dwayne Johnson remake, let me start off by saying that Big Trouble in Little China is worth watching. You will be transfixed by how banana town crazy pants off the rails it gets within the first 20 minutes alone. And it never really lets up.
But the plot and stylization of the film seems to be cribbing to a T the side-scrolling arcade games of the ’80s like Double Dragon and its ilk. While I would never wish for Big Trouble in Little China not to exist in its current form, I can’t help but think about how much better the dialogue would have worked if it appeared as 8-bit text during a cut-scene.
Reign of Fire
Reign of Fire is a film that never really got its due — it had a ballsy premise for an action film, centering around dragons that have accidentally been reawaken from hibernation. Then, they take over the world and turn everything into a scorched, apocalyptic wasteland. As a video game premise, that would kick ass, but the real element of the film that would translate perfectly to a pixelized medium is the Denton Van Zan (played amazingly by Matthew McConaughey) approach to killing the dragons via helicopter nets and a friggin’ tank. An explosive-loaded-crossbow-wielding-bald-but-bearded-McConaughey-dragon-slaying-tank-riding game is something the video game world is sadly missing.
Every Fast and Furious Film
The Fast and Furious franchise has more twists and turns then an unreachable road in the middle of the Caucasus Mountains. Each film seems to take on a new sub-genre of action film, from heist to secret agent to far more elaborate heist to revenge flick. There are also guns, fist fights, explosions, crazy unbelievable stunts, and video game-style physics that take your precious suspension of disbelief and shove it into the exhaust pipe of a car being launched out of a train onto plane. This again works to varying degrees of success in the franchise, but as a video game premise it could literally not go wrong. Hell, I basically just described some of the best video games of all times. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t want to play that game.
I just feel like GoldenEye would have worked way better as a game then as a movie. It is pretty cheesy as a movie, with a huge plot point revolving around an exploding pen that is later openly mocked in the Daniel Craig Bond films. But if it was a game, I think it would have been seminal in its approach to first person shooter mechanics and multiplayer gaming. That’s just my opinion though.
Do you know of other movies that you felt would have been great video games?