Uncharted (2022)

A treasure hunter (Mark Whalberg) recruits the bartender brother (Tom Holland) of one of his old cohorts to try and find a shitload of goooooooooooooooold.

Movies based on video games have a bad reputation, for a good reason though: most of them are terrible. Even the best have only been “okay”. I’m actually not that familiar with the Uncharted games. By “not too familiar” I mean “I’m aware that they exist, but that’s about it”. For films like this that can sometimes be an advantage, and sometimes a disadvantage. A disadvantage because if the film assumes you know the game, it won’t tell you certain things which mean you’ll be lost. And an advantage because you don’t get annoyed at things like “but his belt buckle is a dark silver in the games, not light grey like in this. They ruined it! That belt is the most important thing ever, and the colour actually matters for reasons I can’t explain beyond crying”

I’ll say outright this is not the best film you’re going to see, but it’s nowhere near the worst. It’s the kind of film you’d rent from a video shop and enjoy, but not quite enough to buy it, and if it’s on ITV on a Sunday afternoon it would be a pretty good option for you. It’s very fun to watch and you’re not going to spend a lot of time looking at your watch or bored. You may spend quite a bit of time saying out loud “well that’s awfully fucking convenient”. The whole thing works on videogame logic in terms of physics, which makes sense considering, well, you know.

One thing this does very well is work for outsiders. Like I said, I know nothing about the game, yet the film made sense. It gave you enough backstory that you knew who the characters were, and what their motivations are. There are probably references etc that I missed, but most of them don’t make you aware they’re references so you don’t feel lost for not getting them, you don’t realise there’s something to get. There’s one exception, after falling from a plane he says what happens to a stranger on a beach, who replies “yeah, that happens to me a lot too”, and the way it’s filmed makes it obvious this is a reference to something, especially when the camera lingers on this random beachgoers face for an unnaturally long time. It turns out he voices Drake in the game, so I don’t object to the cameo itself, but the way they did it was more hamfisted than me when I’m drunk reaching into the fridge for some cold meat to eat.

It’s directed by Ruben Fleischer, who gave us not only the Zombieland films, but also the first Venom. Actually didn’t realise the same guy did those. If you told me that the guy who made Zombieland made this, I wouldn’t believe you. If you told me the guy who made Venom made this, I’d be like “okay that makes sense”. There’s nothing bad about the way this is shot, it has some good visuals and the set pieces are busy but never look fake despite how ludicrous the action in them is. Even when you have someone get run over by a car in mid-air, you never look at it and notice the CGI. But on the other hand, there’s nothing that really wows you. You’re not going to get future directors be influenced by it. It’s a shame as there’s potential for great visuals in here, but it never really gives them to us.

The plot……let’s face it you’re not watching this for the plot. It tries to have one, and it does work. The only issue is a major character dies and it seems to not affect the plot at all. In this world he’s a rich famous person, so you’d think that would be mentioned again. There are so many ways you could have used it to affect the plot, but having it just to be “hey, this person who killed him is bad” seems a massive waste.

In summary: see it, but don’t pay full price, and don’t go on your own.

Mortal Kombat (2021)

This was always going to be a weird one to see. Video game movies are known for being kind of terrible, but they’re slowly getting better. The last few years have seen Rampage, Tomb Raider, and Detective Pikachu kind of break the curse. A curse which it can be argued, also hit the original Mortal Kombat movies. Movies which are liked despite their cheesiness, but they do have great music.

It’s really hard to do a Mortal Kombat movie as there are SO many characters in it. The first game alone has seven characters, all with unique backstories, plus a story for the tournament itself. And that’s just the first game, if you base it solely on that you’re missing some of the fans favourite characters such as Jax, Baraka and Shao Kahn. That is based solely on playable characters by the way, if you included the bosses you’d have three more, all are highly rated by the fan base. So is it actually possible to do this as a film? Would it work better as a series? Doesn’t matter, as it’s a film we’ve got, and it’s a film that obviously isn’t too bothered about sticking to the lore, for better or worse.

For better as it means they can actually tell a cohesive story, for worse as some of the choices they make are just weird. Champions are identified by a dragon birth mark. Well, I say birth mark, but you can also get it if you kill someone who has it (kind of like conkers). How “Military veteran kills someone in Vietnam and then five days later gets a birthmark in shape of a dragon” ISN’T a well-known urban legend in this universe is beyond me. The main character in this film was someone who was born with it, and had no idea what it meant. Considering they have the fate of their realm at stake, you’d think they would have been given some training to help them. Would it have not made sense for one of his best friends to have been turned out to be looking after him and guiding him in the correct path his whole life? Also, Johnny Cage is a champion, and a famous actor, and seemingly nobody has noticed the dragon-shaped birthmark he has (it doesn’t say nobody has noticed, but nobody mentions “oh, you have a birthmark just like that actor”). If The Rock or Vin Diesel had one of those, you can bet we’d know. The birthmark thing didn’t even add anything to the story, so why did it happen? Why bother writing it in? Just seems like poor storytelling.

Other poor things about this film: the main character. Why are they making Cole Young the main character? His special skill is he gets strong armour when he’s being attacked in a narratively important way. Yup, he has literal plot armour. If there’s one thing Mortal Kombat is not short of, it’s characters. I know they’re saving Johnny Cage for the sequel, which I think is a risky move that doesn’t really play off (unless they get this guy). Really, it should have been Liu Kang as the main character. It would mean going against traditional MK lore, but you’re doing that anyway. Almost everything else you can keep the same. They’re both of Asian descent, both established as fighters, and (this is where you’ll have to change the mythology) in the film the main character is descended from Scorpion, and Liu Kang is known for having fireball attacks, so it would be a really easy link to make between the two. In fact, it’s such an obvious link that I had to double check that it hadn’t already been made in the games. They do have Cole descended from Scorpion, but have none of his powers, which is strange. Leads me to my next point actually, the ending shows the spirit of Scorpion giving advice to Cole, in Japanese. There’s no indication that Cole speaks Japanese, especially not Japanese from the 17th Century. Would have loved if after Scorpion disappeared, Cole just stood there like “I did not understand a word of that”.

So that’s the bad, there’s also some stuff that’s just kind of weird from a technical standpoint. There’s a moment where Kano goes to bite Sonya and there’s a lions roar accompanying it. There’s no attempt to disguise it either and it’s just really strange, especially since Kano is essentially human, and humans don’t make that noise while they’re eating. If it was something from another realm. you could have JUST about made an excuse for it. The visuals are a bit strange too. Why would you have a badly CGI- reptile when the game has precedent for him wearing green-ninja style clothes?

Now onto the good. Sub Zero is a great character in this, and I would watch a whole movie about him assassinating people. Plus, the idea of using snow as a portent of doom is genius. Using beauty to display something dark is something I will always be a fan of. It’s why I love horror movies set in daylight. Also, there’s nothing inherently awful about this film. It just makes a lot of mistakes which could be easy to fix. I should note: the negative parts of this film do not reflect badly on the film-makers themselves. Cole was a studio decision, they insisted on it. Not entirely sure why they would, can’t really see the benefits. And considering that character is the main source of derision by viewers, the person who made that decision should not be in that job anymore. Bit harsh, but when you make a misjudgement THAT badly, you should not be paid millions for your decision-making.

Oh, one last thing. The time it took you to read this is probably longer than the total screen-time for Scorpion. Probably hiding him for the sequel (wooo, sequel baiting is always a good sign). Also, very strange I’m reviewing this just after Godzilla Vs. Kong considering the posters are REALLY similar in terms of colour schemes and how they use space.

The 5 Best Film-Based Video Games

Happy Friday The 13th everyone! Now like all of you I’ll be celebrating this most holy of days by killing horny teenagers near a lake somewhere (lake, puddle, it’s all the same). But other people celebrate it differently. Since the days of Jesus fighting a Pterodactyl in the Roman Colosseum, some people have watched some of the Friday The 13th films on this day. So it makes logical sense that I should take advantage, celebrate this by blogging about it. But I’ve never seen any of the films so instead I’m going to talk about video game adaptations of films, because there was once a video game adaptation of the film, and do I need another reason?

5. Goldeneye


Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. This is the first game everybody talks about when they talk of truly great video games. There’s not a word missing there, that should be “video games based on films”, that’s how good this game is. At the time I’d never watched a James Bond film, and even now I’ve seen one I still think he’s a prick, he’s a sociopathic monster who probably has so many STD’s that he should pretty much change his name to Mydia, Chlamydia. But despite that, I still love this game. It has not aged well however, but that’s mainly because of the lot of the things we found innovative in the game are now standard. Before this game it was normal for weapons and ammo etc just to be laying around, this made ammo collecting logical: you could only pick up what had been dropped by people you killed. Yes, there were a few bits of ammo laying around, but your main source of it was the people you killed. Then there’s the multiplayer. There are two types of people who played video games in the 90’s. Those who spent hours shooting their friends in the head in multiplayer and obeying the “no oddjobs” rule, and liars! Dirty stinking liars!

4. Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy


This game comes from a different time, whereas modern games help the player, sometimes with tutorials, sometimes with guidance during the game, and sometimes with just skipping parts of it if you find it too difficult. Gaming is now focused on enjoyment, making the player have fun (with a few notable exceptions). It wasn’t always the case, however. Some video games used to make you wonder what you had done to piss off the creators. The biggest genre for this were text adventure games. Games which by their nature were quite annoying: you could spend hours trying to talk to a character before you work out the exact phrasing needed (for example: “Talk to person” wouldn’t be accepted, but “converse with person” would). This game is fiendishly difficult, but also very funny. It will make you laugh, scream in anguish, and then hate yourself, a bit like having sex with a clown. I’m not exaggerating by the way, the game is available here if you don’t believe me.

3. Aladdin


Oh, should have mentioned, I am not doing these in any particular order, otherwise there’s no way this would be higher than Goldeneye. But it is very very good. A 2D side scrolling platformer that stands out on a console which it seemed like almost every other game was a platform game. I don’t think people can appreciate how hard it must have been for a platform game to stand out in the early 90’s. You were competing against Mario and Sonic at their peaks. The Mario games had some of the best level design in video game history, easing you into an unforgiving game with innovative gameplay that filled you with wonder, whilst Sonic went “vroom” and moved quickly. So for a game to stand out it must be truly great, and this is. I would talk about why, but I already did it here so anything I’d say would just be repeating myself. So because anything I say would be repeating myself, and I don’t like repeating myself I won’t say anything more, because I don’t like repeating myself.

2. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World


Because rarely has a video game of a film been so faithful in tone to the film. Anybody who has played video game versions of films and television shows know that the games can play fast and loose with the themes of the film. For example: there’s a Doctor Who game where you play as the famous pacifist, and go around shooting and killing everyone. In Scarface, crime totally pays, and the Fight Club game has Fred Durst. This game doesn’t suffer from that. It’s a throwback game based on a film which loves 80’s video games. It’s not just the film it uses for inspiration, the graphic novel has a scene where two characters get beaten at the same time and an achievement pops up, if you recreate this in the game, the same achievement pops up. It’s little touches like that which are missing from a lot of games.


1. Alien Isolation.


This game is terrifying, it makes the Alien scary again, which it should be. It should be a fearful beast, it shouldn’t be something you can handle with a few shots from a pistol. This game makes you fear it, and that’s wonderful. You know how highly regarded this game is? It put faith back into the franchise after Colonial Marines, a game so bad someone attempted to sue the makers, and won. Whereas that game had you running around shooting aliens by the hundreds (and just made them into another enemy), this game only has the one alien, and you can’t kill it, all you can do is hide and survive. This is the survival horror game the latest generation has been waiting for. I am in no way saying that the genre is not good anymore, just that it’s mainly indie developers doing it now, you don’t have many major releases anymore (I mean, P.T got cancelled for f*cks sake), most of the franchises people used to turn to for the genre have now changed into more action games, so it’s good to see a game where you’re completely helpless, a game where (contrary to video game logic) exploration and discovery will probably kill you.


So yeah, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed it, and Fuck You Konami