Welcome to the Voscars
The Academy Awards season is a great time, when proles can watch - bleary eyed in your underwear, if youre a lucky European - as dull but worthy films get slap-headed gold lads chucked at them, in lieu of films that people actually find entertaining. Just try and tell me The English Patient wouldnt have been improved by a Predator.
Anyway, I digress. Main point is, I thought this a good time to shine the spotlight on a cinematic genre thats always (ALWAYS) ignored by the gong-giver: video game movies. Why are they so consistently overlooked at awards ceremonies? Because theyre largely, well, piss. However, one mans piss is another mans Um Bongo, and given that this site is called GamesRadar+, goddamnit, its about time we saluted the best this genre has to offer in the Video Game Movie Oscars. You know, before we watch the real show and throw an indignant wobbler on Twitter about the fact that John Wick didnt get nominated for anything. Idiots.
*cue emotive music, applause, and Jennifer Lawrence wackily falling down some stairs*
Best actor: Raul Julia (Street Fighter)
Other nominees: Christopher Lambert (Mortal Kombat), Karl Urban (Doom), Sean Bean (Silent Hill), Udo Kier (Lars Von Trier's Katamari)
It was a toss up between the late Raul Julia and Christopher Lambert as Raiden in Mortal Kombat, but as Lambert himself always said in the stellar Highlander 2: The Quickening, 'There Can Be Only One.' Raul is that one. The one who made M. Bison the most charismatic bad guy since Charles Manson ran rings around Geraldo Rivera in that prison interview ages ago. Julia gave Street Fighter's despotic beefcake a narcissistic edge, with a penchant for Boris Vallejo-esque artwork featuring himself riding tigers and fighting. For him, it was only Tuesday, but the day I first saw his performance was most important day of my life. I'd buy that for a Bison dollar.
Best actress: Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil)
Other nominees: Rosamund Pike (Doom), Kylie Minogue (Street Fighter), Kristana Loken (Bloodrayne), Kate Winslet (Lars Von Triers Quake)
Milla Jovovich in interviews is a vivacious, endlessly charismatic and entertaining person whod be bloody wonderful to have at a party. Its to her credit as an actress that we have no idea about this side of her in Resident Evil movies, as her character Alice could turn milk sour just by pouting at it. Not one smile threatens to put a dent in her expertly held frown throughout the series, unless you watch the cock ups on the DVD extras menu. Weve spent five films now with the frumpy zombie killer, and we still know absolutely nothing about her. Shes good at kicking people though, so thats worthy of a Voscar.
Best film that could actually pass for a decent film if you didn't know it was based on a video game: Hitman
Other nominees: Eeeeer No, seriously, eeeeeh... Also, Lars Von Triers Bubsy
Of all the video game movies, Hitman is genuinely the one that has some actual appeal to those who arent blighted by our disgusting hobby. In fact there is irrefutable evidence for this, as my mum and dad watched it one night on TV and said it was, and I quote, quite good. Thats a box quote right there. Theyre not wrong either. The Hitman film (despite idiots moaning about the brilliant Timothy Olyphant playing 47) turned out to be a really fun, pleasantly violent and stylish action caper with some really well done set pieces. Bore little resemblance to the games, like, but it was alright. If Luc Besson had directed, and Jason Statham starred in it, people would be falling over themselves to call it a misunderstood classic. Probably.
Best comedy: Postal
Other nominees: Doom, Super Mario Bros., Lars Von Triers Fez
Uwe Boll has been the greatest patron of the video game movie for over a decade, and he constantly pushes boundaries. The movie that pushes the furthest is Postal. Boll has always revelled in winding people up, so his doing an adaptation of the notorious, bad-taste shooter series actually made a great deal of sense. Anyway, because I grew up watching Bottom (for the violence and poo jokes, the existential nihilism subtext came later) and Attitude Era WWF, Postal legitimately killed me in places. If youre thick skinned and/or have absolutely no empathy or sensitivity, its the closest video game movies have to a comedy classic.
Best soundtrack: Mortal Kombat
Other nominees: Doom, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Alone In The Dark, Silent Hill, Lars Von Triers Bishi Bashi Special
Why not Silent Hill??!! I hear you plebs cry. Well, while Silent Hill (which basically pilfered music from the games) was indeed pleasant on the old lugs, The Mortal Kombat soundtrack is frankly, peerless. The theme tune is just as iconic as John Williams opening fanfare for Star Wars. Actually its better. You dont get some lad screaming STAAAAR WAAAARS over the Star Wars music like the fella bellowing MORTAAAAAL KOMBAAAAAT in Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat also has Fear Factory playing during the Johnny Cage/Scorpion Fight. Its the greatest use of music in a movie since Kenny Loggins in Top Gun.
Best screenplay: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Other nominees: Doom, Super Mario Bros., Hitman, Lars Von Triers God Hand
Think of all the iconic movies you've seen. Think of all the iconic lines uttered by the stars. 'What you got?' 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.' 'Rosebud.' To this illustrious company, we can now add 'I've seen that tattoo before, on a robot and a woman.' Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, like most of the greats (such as Blade Runner and Freddy Got Fingered) was wildly misunderstood at the time, and it's only now that its dadaist attack on cinematic convention can be truly understood. It's actually a sharp satire of video games writing, where all dialogue is hokey exposition, trite cliche, and borderline offensive stereotype (witness Jax's happy-go-lucky 'Cole from Gears of War' demeanour). At one point Sindel tells her long lost daughter Kitana 'Too bad you will die.' Thankfully, this film's power never will.
Best director: Uwe Boll
Other nominees: Paul W S Anderson, Christophe Gans, Simon West, Lars Von Triers Lars Von Trier
There could be no other. Like all the greatest artists, Boll is misunderstood in his own time. A subversive, counter-culture pariah. Reviled, even. In a world of backslapping luvvies, hes a man not afraid of nuking bridges, let alone burning them. Hes thrown shade at everyone, wound up overly serious gamers something rotten, and frankly, I love him utterly for it. Boll makes the video game movies that the genre deserves, because lets face it, if The Order: 1886 is new-gens most prominent claim of narrative art, then maybe were pretty shagged. Boll knows this, hes not stupid (hes got a doctorate), and I genuinely hope he gets to direct Metal Gear Solid and Assassins Creed one day. Hes our Ed Wood, only hes better than Ed Wood, as Ed Wood never offered to twat Michael Bay.
Any more winners and losers?
So there's my run-down of the games movies and game movie folk who mandatorily deserve tiny shimmering muscle men. But how about you horrible lot? And more you reckon need a bit of recognition? Should we go the whole hog and give Boll a life time achievement award, now that he's not done any game movies for a few years? Let me know in the comments.
And while you're here, check out The Top 7... Best movie games you've probably never played. And if you want to keep it filmy, don't forget that we've got LOADS of that stuff now, over at the Total Film homepage.