With the recent drop of the new Monster Hunter (2020) film trailer, there is no shortage of films/media based on games made by video game developer Capcom. I mean, here are just a select few:
Street Fighter (1994)
Resident Evil (2002)
Ace Attorney 2012 (Japanese Live-action)
Dead Rising: Watchtower 2015 (and its sequel, Dead Rising: Endgame, 2016)
The Resident Evil franchise is, by far, the most recognizable game-to-film adaptation from Capcom’s library. And their most successful. Netflix is even taking a stab at the RE universe with its own series slated for a 2021 global launch. They even created a walk-through immersive horror experience, which I attended in London, to promote the launch of the exceptional Resident Evil 7 (2017).
Capcom just happens to be killing it in the gaming space as well. They’re also my favorite developer. They seem to be doing everything right when it comes to making games and they certainly don’t mind films being made in their honor. Who could have predicted a film based on Monster Hunter, which was first released in 2004, was being made? Not me. So it got me thinking. What other Capcom properties are ripe for the big screen? Being that I’ve probably played more Capcom games than any other studio, I thought it would be a cool bit of brain food to theorize what games I’d like to see given the cinematic treatment.
This list is entirely my opinion and is pure indulgent fantasy. However, if any budding directors out there want to option these into reality, get in touch and I’d be up for helming the scripts.
Not only is this series in need of Capcom’s world-class remake treatment, but I think it would make a fantastic horror film. Dino Crisis (1999) presents an opportunity to go darker than Jurassic Park ever could. In the game, the characters are confined to a secret facility infested with hungry dinosaurs. It’s Resident Evil with dinosaurs, which makes sense as it’s made by the same person, Shinji Mikami. The atmosphere from the game could be replicated on-screen to deliver a suspenseful, Alien-like romp where the characters are stalked and ambushed by corridor-trapped velociraptors.
Of course, there is a tonne of “B” grade horror movies that feature killer dinosaurs, and apparently, the closest one we have to a Crisis movie is a series called Carnosaur. I’ve not seen it and I’ve heard cold things. The perfect director would not be bogged down by the game’s cheesiness and would have to push the horror and suspense to its furthest limits. Personally, I would take the tyrannosaur as the main antagonist that stalks the characters throughout the film. Make it look good, beat-up, and utterly terrifying. Have the characters completely unaware that dinosaurs are running amuck at first. Then, ambush them with the killer dinos; maybe introduce some lesser-known dinos that could operate tactically in small spaces. Leave out any and all boring herbivores. Up the gore and the surprise from each death. Create a palpable mystery and iconic characters (look to Alien again for this) and you have a recipe for a roaring good time. Basically, like Mikami gutting his RE series to make the game, just gut Alien and I’ll be a happy boy.
The fun you could have with this! A Killer 7 (2005) movie would win awards for its look and style. You could even opt for an animated look. If you can get past the complicated story, a film based on Killer 7 would certainly be memorable. I mean, terrorists called ‘Heaven Smile’ who have their organs replaced with bombs would certainly turn heads in the creative department. And you would expect nothing less from video game developer, Suda51, a name that is synonymous with creativity when it comes to making games. Filmmakers might run the risk of missing some of the game’s deeper political analogies, however, with a bombastic script and cast to boot, I think we could be in for a visual masterpiece. I’d like to think the film would take inspiration from the underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) movie and then saturate it with gore, weirdness, and even more weirdness.
There are a lot of characters to juggle here. And if you look at Suicide Squad (2016), this can prove a challenge when each character is as colorful as the next. As long as the narrative is tight and the quirkiness on full display, the characters should slot right in. Definitely the most difficult game to adapt but one that, if done right, could prove memorable.
Devil May Cry
I actually think this could do with the TV series route. Directors would only need to weigh in the success of the excellent The Witcher (2019) series to discover there is a transferable value between fantasy games and television hits. Swap out the medieval mise-en-scene with something more real-world meets hell, and Devil May Cry (2001) would be a juicy addition to any streaming platform. Not to mention an actor perfectly portraying the ultra-cool Dante would be the talk of the internet town. DMC is enriched in style, action and demons — all under a colloquial world that’s not too far removed from reality.
This ones more likely to see a film of its own. As of 2011, American film production studio Screen Gems own the feature-film rights to the entire Devil May Cry series (they also own the rights to Resident Evil). Kyle Ward was given the writing role, however a quick search on his progress will reveal he’s still sitting on a draft of some sorts for a Kane & Lynch movie. Suffice to say, a DMC film is nowhere to be seen, but that should definitely change. It’d be utterly ridiculous and cost millions to make. We’re talking massive here. Big, ridiculous creatures that can banter with Dante and fight sequences that would rival anything that’s come before. To get this right, you would be at the mercy of a devoted fan base, but if you succeed (I’m looking at Mr. Ward here) you will have hit the jackpot.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins
If I have to exist in a world where Rampage (2018) was a Hollywood production featuring the highest-paid actor in the world, I want to see Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1985). For some reason, I’m imagining a cross between Taken (2008) and John Wick (2014) set in a fantasy, medieval land. We’d follow a jacked-up night called Arthur on a quest to save his love from the demon king Astaroth. That’s it. The intro would set up the tenderness between Arthur and his love, Guinevere, before her kidnapping. Then, just as Wick was propelled by rage from the death of his dog, Arthur would suit up and head into a destitute land filled with monsters and utterly unfair ghosts (those ghosts with those ladders were hell; so show it).
All you’d need then is a group of highly skilled fight choreographers to make everything look wonderful. Get Miguel Sapochnik in the director’s chair, who directed the Battle of the Bastards episode for Game of Thrones (2016), and make all the monsters/gore vibrant and deadly and this could be something special. Finally, after the credits, the film should start again in order to watch the true ending—making it extremely faithful. I’m getting excited about it just writing this. It’ll never happen, but I can only dream.
Now this one is coming. For real. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman of Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) fame are working on a live-action version of the blue bomber robot. I’m imagining it’s going to be following in the footsteps of Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), but either way, I’m excited about what this could be. But what should a Mega Man (1987) film be?
For starters, the music needs to be exceptional. Like, whoever is sitting pretty in the music department should be working tirelessly to ensure the film captures Mega Man’s reputation for having some of the best music. Once that’s sorted, the film should be ripe with comedy. I mean, with some kitsch sounding robots to contend with such as Strike Man; a literal baseball ball robot, or the racially insensitive Oil Man (seriously, look up what he looks like); whoever they go with should be threatening and funny.
So, there you have it. Come on Capcom. Get those cogs turning on one or more of these amazing gaming universes. One thing for sure, filmmakers/writers will be toeing a micro-thin line if tackling any of the titles above. The gaming industry is fit to destroy unfaithful filmic representations of their most beloved gaming titles. Director Uwe Boll practically made a name for himself for making what audiences consider some of the worst game-to-film adaptations imaginable. Case in point, when making any movie based on a video game, it’s a tall order. But an order set to soar if placed in the right, caring hands.