Recently, the staggering news broke that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has been cast in the starring role in a big, (presumably) shouty Hollywood adaptation of the classic arcade game Rampage.
For the unfamiliar, Rampage had you playing as a person who had been transformed into a giant, raging monster by way of a mad scientist as you tore an unidentified city apart, being awarded points based on how much havoc you caused. You could choose between George, a gorilla, Lizzie, a lizard or the werewolf-like Ralph. In later follow-ups the roster was fattened out, initially adding Curtis (a rat), Boris (a rhino) and Ruby (a lobster), though I doubt any of them will turn up in the movie, nor will the dozens more monsters added for the appalling Wii game.
I think the safest bet we can make with this film is that it’s going to suck, but in that brilliantly, stupidly engaging way that most of Johnson’s other films do. Beau Flynn is producing the film under New Line Cinema, the exact same set-up that they used for his recent disaster film San Andreas, so based on how that does, we might get a better idea of how Rampage will actually turn out. We’ve talked before on Cultured Vultures about which video game sources would actually translate well to the big screen, but this got me wondering, which of those old, silly arcade games would work best as big, stupid popcorn movies that you’re ashamed to love, but do anyway? Hopefully these 10 ideas would provide a better homage to that time than Adam Sandler’s upcoming Pixelated (but perhaps not as good as Wreck-It Ralph).
10 – Golden Axe
I think that a lot of fantasy films that come out these days have been bitten a bit too hard by the LOTR bug. Depth, meaning and giant-ass armies are all fine, but sometimes you just want to see people in ridiculous He-Man outfits twatting each other with misshapen swords and shouting made-up words. What better conduit for that than Golden Axe? The framework is so simple: get to giant doom castle and save the king and his daughter from the evil Death Adder. Along the way you can ride bestial mounts (not like that), cast crazy spells and get your shit stolen by an irritating little imp with a big sack (the casting possibilities there are endless).
9 – R-Type
Alright, there are about 10,000 other side scrolling space shoot-em-ups I could have slotted in here, but R-Type takes it for being perhaps the most visually ridiculous one ever produced. I’m not sure there’s ever necessarily been a properly great film built purely around people flying around space in a fighter blowing shit up (Star Wars doesn’t count), but perhaps the time is now. The evil ‘Bydo Empire’ might have started out in life as a bare-faced rip-off of the xenomorphs from Alien, but the games had so many trippy, crazy levels that it would be a concept artist’s dream to cherry pick the best ones and breathe new life into them.
8 – Time Crisis
How Steven Segal hasn’t already made a Time Crisis movie is beyond me, since it might very well have been inspired by him in the first place. Various plot-lines have fuelled the ceaselessly OTT rail shooter over the years, but the first one is still probably the best suited to a cinematic redux. Basically, following a coup in the fictional and silly sounding nation of Sercia, a surviving member of the old regime tries to destabilise the nation from within. As a response, George Miller (aka ‘The One Man Army’ aka ‘You Holding A Plastic Gun’) is sent in to sort shit out. That’s pretty much all you need; millions of dollars worth of ammunition is used up, people shout stupid dialogue at each other and everything explodes.
7 – Final Fight
Again, not entirely sure how some professional wrestler with acting aspirations hasn’t already jumped on this. This amazing side-scrolling beat-em-up has you playing as Mike Haggar, a former professional wrestler and new mayor of the crime-ridden Metro City. In order to win him around to letting them get away with more crime, the ‘Mad Gear’ gang kidnap his daughter. Funnily enough it doesn’t work, Haggar instead elects to pile-drive and suplex his way through hundreds of their assorted henchmen (with the help of either his daughter’s boyfriend Cody or Japanese martial artist Guy) to save her. Putting aside the amount of script fiddling you’d need to do to explain why not one of these henchmen ever bothers bringing a gun to a fistfight, imagine just about any WWE star (apart from John Cena) in this role. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wish Randy Savage was still alive (as if you needed another reason).
6 – Spy Hunter
Alright, so they did very briefly try and make a film out of Spy Hunter and yes, The Rock was tipped to star, but it never made it past scripting so it’s on the list. The game didn’t really have much of a story beyond you driving a modified spy car down a motorway riddled with enemy vehicles. Your job was simply to stop them causing any more havoc, whilst protecting all the civilian cars trundling around to go shopping or visit their in-laws or whatever. Granted, the gadget car thing has been done to death, but it’s only ever a fraction of a larger story, imagine a film that was 75% gadget car mayhem, Mad Max: Fury Road style? Wouldn’t that be great? Well, there’s enough of a chance to make it worthwhile, I’d say.
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