Games of groans! 6 biggest video-game movie adaptations

Belgian martial artist and professional pretender Jean-Claude Van Damme. (Screen grab)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Games of groans! 6 biggest video-game movie adaptations

DUBAI: As the “Tomb Raider” reboot hits GCC cinemas, Arab News looks back at some of the best (or, at least, biggest — it’s a low bar) video-game adaptations. Turns out compelling, thought-provoking storylines — or even coherent, thought-tickling ones — aren’t always a major concern for button-mashers.
 
Mortal Kombat (1995)
It’s about as impressive as being known as the world’s coolest accountant, but “Mortal Kombat” is arguably the finest, or least-bad, movie adaptation of a video game thus far in terms of accurately reflecting its source. It helps that — despite the outrage its gory finishing moves sparked among easily offended scapegoat-searchers — the game’s premise (a group of fighters battling hand-to-hand to decide the fate of the planet) was so ridiculously over-the-top that all the filmmakers had to do was commit to a similar level of nonsense. They did.
 

Street Fighter (1994)
The makers of “Street Fighter” also embraced the silly. The game itself was a camper, more cartoonish affair than “Mortal Kombat” and the movie wisely chose the campest, most cartoonish action star around at the time as its lead: Belgian martial artist and professional pretender Jean-Claude Van Damme. The actor cast as his enemy, Raul Julia, brought a touch of much-needed craft to the proceedings. And Kylie Minogue was in it. Basically, peak-Nineties. 

 
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Possibly the closest a video-game movie has come to justifying the time and money involved. Director Simon West had a solid but unspectacular action-movie pedigree — remember “Con Air”? — background and produced a solid but unspectacular action movie. Angelina Jolie — then routinely ranked as the world’s sexiest woman — was cast as Lara Croft — routinely ranked as the world’s sexiest video-game character, to the chagrin of Ms. Pac-Man. Jolie actually did a good job of bringing Croft to life, putting in a performance that was way better than the film deserved.

 
Resident Evil (2002)
Another female video-game character much loved by those with an unhealthy interest in pixels, Milla Jovovich’s Project Alice is actually a refreshingly capable character who kicks ass without needing a man to ultimately step in to save her at the last. Jovovich’s onscreen presence elevates all six (six!) “Resident Evil” movies (just) above the level of trashy zombie/monster-slaying they’re striving for. Six, though…

 
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Jake Gyllenhaal! Ben Kingsley! Alfred Molina! Three heavyweight award-winning actors. So far so good, right? But. All three of these fine Caucasian actors were playing Persians. Not so good, right? And they were doing it in a movie apparently aimed at audiences that hate movies.

 
Silent Hill (2006)
The biggest wasted opportunity on this list, because it actually had some quality source material — a well-crafted psychological horror game — to work with. Visually, the filmmakers did a great job, capturing the eeriness of the titular foggy deserted town and producing some genuinely scary monsters. Unfortunately, due diligence apparently wasn’t a ‘thing’ for the casting director, and the film’s true horror lies in the acting.


Start-up of the Week: The app that restores work-life balance

Updated 19 June 2018
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Start-up of the Week: The app that restores work-life balance

  • MRSOOL helps consumers to transport goods from any store to their door
  • Since 2017 MRSOOL has had more than 80,000 couriers across the Kingdom, potentially earning the couriers an average SR 10,000 ($2,700) within two months.

JEDDAH: Too many errands, too little time? This is how MRSOOL co-founder Naif Al-Simri used to feel, so he decided to do something about it — and not just for himself.

Realizing that he was not managing to successfully juggle the demands of his job and his family, he started to think about how he could manage things better.

His thought processes eventually led him to develop MRSOOL, an app that helps consumers to transport goods from any store to their door. All consumers need to do is post their orders, and an MRSOOL courier will go to the store to pick up and deliver the desired items to them. 

“I used to work a lot and I was not at home. My family always needed something, but I could not do it for them because of work commitments. So I would suffer because I could not do their errands and also could not find a solution. The fact that I could not find a solution would upset my family,” he said. 

Thinking about the problem — and how it affected so many people in the modern world — triggered a lightbulb moment for Al-Simri. He came up with the idea of creating a platform that would deliver anything, without him having to leave the office and pick up his family. 

“If I had to run errands I would have to leave the office and take them (to the shops). That is like five trips, so I thought to myself what if I have someone who lives close by pick up what is needed on his way and make money by doing it,” he said. 

He started to outline his idea to some of his close friends who work in app development. He talked through whether they thought there was market demand for such a service and analyzed the challenges. As he threw around ideas with friends, he was starting to formulate a business plan. It was at this stage that he started to see the potential.

He discussed the concept with Ayman Al-Sanad (a friend?), and although Al-Sanad had come up against Al-Simri’s ideas before, and was cautious about practicalities, his future partner was impressed by the proposal. Nevertheless, Al-Sanad made some suggestions for tweaking the original idea. 

“I took Ayman’s feedback and went back to the drawing board. We were both working at the time so we would touch base on weekends to discuss our development and progress,” Al-Simri added.

The two future partners started working together to develop the application, which was eventually launched in 2015. Today MRSOOL serves the whole country and there are plans to expand to the GCC and Arab countries.

Not only is MRSOOL now ranked in the top 10 applications in the Kingdom, with a star rating of 4.8 out of 5, but it is even listed in the top 200 active applications by the US Apple store. 

Since 2017 MRSOOL has had more than 80,000 couriers across the Kingdom, potentially earning the couriers an average SR 10,000 ($2,700) within two months.