Top-10 Best Character resemblances in Video-Game movies

Following up on the top-10 actors from video-game movies, I now bring you a list of the best resemblances between an actor and a character from a video-game. The main reason I wanted to do this follow-up list was because while I was happy with the selection of actors, I noticed that quite a few of them didn’t actually portray game characters (Jürgen Prochnow, James Woods etc.). Also, there were other video-game movie actors who I felt deserved a shout-out, especially for inhabiting the persona of the character well, but they still dodged the list entirely.

So, this follow-up list is based solely on an actor’s resemblance to the character they’re playing from the game in question. Once again, making the list wasn’t easy and there’s again a large number of honourable mentions to give out before we get on with the actual list…

honourable mentionsMany Mortal Kombat (and amazingly, even Annihilation) actors could have potentially been on the list, but I wanna tip my hat to Linden Ashby‘s excellent performance as Johnny Cage in the first MK film (he also played a non-game character in the third Resident Evil movie). Ashby just perfectly personified the douchy yet still somewhat heroic Hollywood-martial artist, looking to prove himself. Karl Urban, now best known for playing McCoy in the new Star Trek series, was also a nice surprise in Andrej Bartkowiak’s lukewarmly received but thoroughly entertaining Doom film. The moment where you realised that Urban was supposed to be “The Doom Guy” was honestly one of the stand-out moments of the film (followed immediately by the film’s FPS sequence). However, that one was perhaps a little too subtle to really make the list, I just wanted to point it out.

And lastly, two honourable mentions from the Street Fighter movie go to Grand L. Bush and Jay Tavare. Bush definitely stood out as one of the best resemblances from the movie, but it was the rather minor nature of his role that stopped me from putting him up there. And yes, I did enjoy Michael Clarke Duncan’s performance as Balrog from The Legend of Chun Li – but sadly his role wasn’t significant enough to get him on the prior list, and in all fairness, he didn’t really look anything like Balrog from the game (in his defense, neither did Bison in that particular film). Jay Tavare also got amazingly close to his game counterpart, right down to small details like the mask and the snake tattoo. If there weren’t already so many Street Fighter characters on the list, he would have probably made it (and yes, he beats the snot out of Taboo’s performance of the same character).

10. Ming-Na as Chun Li (Street Fighter)

ChunLi comparisonsMing-Na was already in the Top-10 video-game movie actors list and of course she had to make this list too. Like most of the characters in Street Fighter, she only receives her signature outfit towards the end of the film. Now, let’s deal with the obvious: why red? Because in the movie, she’s forced to wear the outfit when Bison has her in his private quarters. As a kid, I was never bothered by it, because I just assumed it was modelled after her pink alternate colour scheme from the game. Also, in the film – blue is a colour used mostly by the Allied Nation soldiers (Guile, Cammy and T. Hawk) so I guess they wanted to keep up diversity between characters.

Ming-Na herself was a fine pick for the role. Although, she never does the lighting kick – she had some great action and stunt sequences. Also, her motivation in the film (wanting to avenge her father) was also spot on. Unfortunately, this list is judged on resemblance. At least she got the hairstyle right, which is why she beat both Ryu and Ken (Byron Mann and Damien Chapa) for the list.

9. Bob Hoskins as Mario (Super Mario Bros.)

Mario comparisonOkay, even though Super Mario Bros. is a movie that’s been denounced by everyone – including the main star who once said it was the worst thing he ever did – it’s one of those movies that I still love to watch despite being a horrible Mario adaption. Bottom line, it’s shouldn’t have been live action. However, the fact it was gave us an excuse to see my favourite cartoon detective from Roger Rabbit don the iconic red and blue uniform was actually pretty awesome.

I’ve read that Hoskins actually beat Danny DeVito for the part. And I have to give Hoskins credit for doing a lot of the action in the film himself. However, the costume lands slightly off the mark. The old-time cap is a nice touch, but a tad flat. Mario’s overalls are also mainly red, while at this point in time, Mario was wearing mainly blue pants. Also, his overalls are literally just that – with no suspenders on there. Comparatively, Captain Lou Albano – who played the cheery plumber in Super Mario Bros. Super Show – was a lot closer.

These little nit-picks and the fact that Mario was just really grouchy for much of the film were the main reasons Bob didn’t make it any higher on the list.

8. Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker (Resident Evil: Afterlife & Retribution)

Wesker comparisonWesker already made his debut in third movie of the Resident Evil series, Extinction, but Jason O’Mara’s rather cheery and benign portrayal of the character never really sat right with me. It wasn’t until Shawn Roberts took over the role in the following films, that they got Wesker down to a T. The hair-cut, the shades, the glowing eyes, robotic personality and the super-human strength and speed. My god, why isn’t he in the Top-5?

Well, short answer – while Wesker is pretty dang accurate and also probably one of the best characters in Afterlife and Retribution (also beating out Ada Wong, Leon and Barry from Retribution to make the list), he’s presented as just a super-villain of sorts starting from Afterlife. His character lacks the history of the game equivalent for being the traitor of the group in the first game (in the RE movies, the traitor is someone else). It’s admittedly a minor but still big enough of an incongruity of the character (apart from being head chairman of Umbrella in the films) that I felt I’d be giving away a Top-5 spot too easily if I just ignored it.

7. The Ninjas from Mortal Kombat & Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

MortalKombatNinjasPhew! Alright, pay attention because I’m only gonna do this once…

  • Chris Casamassa as Scorpion from Mortal Kombat
  • Francois Petit as Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat
  • Keith Cooke as Reptile from Mortal Kombat & Sub-Zero II from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
  • J.J. Perry as Scorpion & Noob Saibot from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
  • John Meddlen as Ermac from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
  • Tyrone Wiggins as Rain from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
  • Ray Park, Mark Caso & Sultan Uddin as The Reptiles from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Wow! No surprise that the role of the ninjas in both Mortal Kombat movies was pretty easy to fit. In both instances, the film-makers followed the iconic ninja costume faithfully. Therefore it didn’t take much acting talent as they could just stick a stuntman inside.

And that’s really the reason why this joint nomination didn’t make the Top-5. Apart from Keith Cooke who appeared in both films, none of the ninjas ever show personality or even get dialogue (neither Chris Casamassa nor J.J. Perry speak in their films as Scorpion is voiced by Ed Boon). Cooke made a good effort as the younger Sub-Zero, even taking off his mask which is also accurate to the games (Mortal Kombat 3 & 5 at any rate).

These guys deserved a serious shout-out, which is why they are on the list together.

6. Natassia Malthe as Ayane (DOA: Dead Or Alive)

Ayane comparisonDOA: Dead Or Alive was a delightfully silly action-romp and contained a good number of pretty accurate resemblances to the “bouncy” fighting game on which the movie is based. Right from the get-go though, my eye was caught by the brilliant purple hair of Natassia Malthe. Malthe plays the ninja Ayane, on a quest to kill Princess Kasumi who leaves her temple to look for her lost brother. Malthe pretty accurate depicts the character’s motivation and all the ninja trickery that comes along with it.

The fact that she also went through the trouble of actually having purple hair in the film demonstrates what kinda went wrong with the live action Dragon Ball movie. If a movie adaptation of a dumb fighting game has an actress devoted enough to don an unrealistic hair-colour, what was Bulma’s excuse? I feel a little bad not letting her on the top-5 just because Malthe’s costume never gets quite as revealing as her in-game character’s, but sadly wardrobe is a criteria on this list. Beyond that, definitely top-5 material.

5. Laura Holden as Cybil Bennett (Silent Hill)

Cybil comparisonsThe Silent Hill movies decided to go mostly for accurate depictions of monsters from the game, rather than the characters. However, Cybil Bennett was a really good interpretation of the character. Outwardly, there are definitely some differences – but it’s clear that in the film they endeavoured to make her look like a real police officer, which is why her badges and the colour of her shirt doesn’t quite match. However, personality wise he’s spot on and I could easily recognise her in the film even though I haven’t played the game. She serves as a nice reminder of the original game, even though the cast she interacts with is mostly original to the film.

Truth be told, I would have wanted to have Heather (Sharon) from the sequel on the list, but because she’s only similar in outfit and by the virtue that her character changes names between movies, it felt like a cheat. Cybil was a much closer pick.

4. Trevor Goddard as Kano (Mortal Kombat)

Kano comparisonsHere’s an instance of art imitating life or possibly vice versa. The late Trevor Goddard definitely had a bit of a task, going through Mortal Kombat wearing a prosthetic glued to his face. However, he totally owned the slimy character of Kano. It’s only a shame that he’s killed off so quickly in the movie – making him slightly inconsequential to the rest of the film, beyond getting Sonya to come along to the tournament.

Goddard of course performed Kano’s role with an Australian accent (Goddard himself was British) which caught on like the plague with the folks at Midway. As a result, Kano has spoken with the accent ever since, bringing the two characters even closer.

3. Raul Julia as M. Bison (Street Fighter)

Bison ComparisonThere isn’t a whole lot to add here, as Julia was also on the top-10 actors list without repeating myself, so let’s just stick with the costume. Barring, the hat and gloves – it’s pretty darn accurate. I’m sure there was an art-direction or possibly a lighting reason why Bison dons a black cap rather than his typical red for much of the film. However, the boots, the jacket and even the protection he wears on his arms and feet later in the film are all pretty darn close.

And just as a personal note, Julia is definitely a close fit if we consider that Bison was originally quite slim-built. It was only in the years following the release of the movie that Bison got transformed into the grotesque, roided-up meat-puppet that he is today. I just prefer to old school Bison much better. Not only was Julia’s resemblance nearly spot-on, he gave one hell of a performance to go with it, as I explained in the prior blog.

2. Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47 (Hitman)

OlyphantAgent47comparisonAnother actor who was also on the previous list, so I wont repeat what I already said. Really, there’s not even much worth commenting on his appearance. Black-suit, white shirt, red tie, bald head and bar-code tattoo at the back of his scalp. Yeap, that Agent 47 down to a T.

The only discrepancy I noticed while recently watching someone play the game, is that Agent 47 appears to be considerably older than Olyphant. It’s a small difference to say the least, but on this list, enough to sadly rob him of the number-1 spot.

1. Andrew Bryniarski as Zangief (Street Fighter)

ZangiefBryniarski comparisonAnd finally, an actor I desperately wanted to have on the other list. Here is Zangief in all his Russian glory. Andrew Bryniarski got the character down perfectly. He was one of my favourites from the film by the virtue of being one of the comic reliefs. Character wise, he’s a bit off perhaps as working for Bison as a lackey. But as he proves towards the film’s end, he is actually virtuous and heroic, saving the heroes and Bison’s hostages by opening the last security door with his bare hands.

And what about his appearance? Mohawk? Check. Beard? Check. Red wrestling shorts? Check. Boots and braces? Check. The scars? Check (see the final scene with him and Honda, as well as him and DeeJay). Bryniarski really gets everything down. His resemblances is practically uncanny. Поздравляю, big guy! You earned it!