Thursday, May 26, 2011

Resident Evil

 Well I stayed home last night for the new series of Doctor Who. I thought I'd seen my fill of movies for the day in The Hangover II, so was pleasantly surprised to see Resident Evil playing immediately after Doctor Who. The weather was appalling yesterday so I wasn't adverse to sitting there watching it again next to the warm fire instead of going to bed and reading.

 I missed the first three movies of this franchise as I was never fussed on the idea of a video game being made into a movie. I passed on Doom and saw that only recently, being unimpressed to say the least! But I did venture out to the fourth instalment Resident Evil: Afterlife. The trailers looked good and I thought I give it a try. Well I wasn't disappointed at all. I thoroughly enjoyed it and at Christmas I rented the previous three on DVD, and had a Resdient Evil session with a bottle of Woodstock bourbon!!

 According to wikipedia Resident Evil was poorly recieved by critics when released back in 2002. The general public seemed to disagree as this made a great deal of money!! Now if you have read any of previous posts on zombie/infected movies you will know that I'm a serious fan of the genre/s. What I like so much about Resident Evil is how it fuses zombies/infected/horror, with sci-fi, survivor, and action elements. But best of all it is it's post apocalyptic element which I like so much in the genre.

 For some reason post-apocalyptic zombie movies really appeal to me. Add in infection and you have me every time!! 28 Days, and 28 Weeks Later, are superb examples of this genre within a genre. Unlike Resident Evil though they are English, and much the superior for it. Hollywood throws huge wads of cash at a movie to get an end result. Whilst it makes for a visually spectacular movie it lacks the more under stated English 'less is more' approach. Compare the CGI devastated cities of Resident Evil against an empty London in 28 Days. Which is the more terrifying and eerie?? That scene is one of the most haunting ever filmed in my opinion. Watching Cillian Murphy walking through an empty London, with no idea what has happened, is true horror at its best.

 There have been many post-apocaltyptic movies made over the years. The Omega Man, I Am Legend, The Book of Eli, 28 Days, etc, and I do believe the Resident Evil franchise is a valid, and welcome addition to the genre. Sure it is over blown and CGI heavy, but they are fast paced for action buffs, whilst providing enough genuine scare moments to please horror aficianados. I certainly jumped in Afterlife several times, and reveled in the action sequences, so my lusts were satiated!!

 I just can't explain what appeals to me about humans wiping out the population of the planet through viruses. Somehow it makes for entertaining movies though!! Resident Evil may have been savaged by the critics but it is still a visually entertaining movie. I must admit to really liking the franchise even though I think 28 Days/28 Weeks Later are its superior in premise, and delivery. Critics have lamented the characters lack of real dialogue. Much of it is delivered in commands, explanations, and exclamations. Maybe so, but it isn't pretending to be Oscar material. Like many movies of its type it relies on visual delivey for its impact, dialogue be damned. Fair enough, it's an actioner not a bloody drama!!

 The movie may be only nine years old but it is already showing its age. It still looks good but CGI has improved even more since 2002 so Resident Evil is visually creaking a bit . Take a look at the dobermans as an example because they do look slightly dated now. But overall I think this is still a fine looking movie. It has its short comings but it still provides enough for two hours of good genre driven entertainment. Compared against many of its competitors it still stands up well. I like how it has a anti-corporate message, and updates the zombie genre in the process. The action, once it begins, is relentless, and all an action fan can ask for. Surprisingly though for a zombie/infected movie it is relatively gore free. I actually liked this as over the top gore is unneccessary, and is often used to disguise other short comings.  I suppose with it being video game based this was done to avoid an R-rating, and to get more bums on seats.

 Milla Jovovich was a good choice as the heorine. Eye candy pulls in the boys!! She has definitely made the role her own and I think she has better in each succeeding movie. I particularly like her in Afterlife. She appears more developed as a character, and also somewhat world weary of the zombie/infected apocalypse. Michael Rodriquez is herself as usual as a chick soldier with balls. James Purefoy gives a Mark Anthony performance before he became Mark Anthony in Rome!! I was interested to read he was screen tested as James Bond before the role was given to Pierce Brosnan. His name was then bandied about as Brosnan's replacement but lost out again!! Bugger for him!

 As a multi faceted genre movie you can do far worse than the Resident Evil franchise. I really like them. They have all the ingredients to make them work, and cover all the bases well. If you want some mindless fun that is also well above the average quality wise, and visually impressive in the process, then Resident Evil is for you. If you really want the real deal post infection wise then you can't go past 28 Days. Either way, they are both worthy watches, and provide their own takes on a post viral-apocalyptic world.

 Have fun!!!....and remember...don't get bitten or scratched because you know what that means. That T-virus is a real bitch, and don't get me stated on the Rage virus, man, I don't want that again!!!!

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  1. Great write up, I like Jovovich as an action star, she's got the right screen presence for it. The RE series is mindless fun, something I rather enjoy. First one has dated, look at all the slow mo Matrix action. I agree with you about that scene in 28 Days Later, one of my favorite scenes. These 2 movies are 2 different beast though. RE is good zombie fun by the way I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre too!

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  3. Do they relate to the games at all? I like a bit of Resi 4.

  4. Brent.

    Still unable to comment under my own name!!!!!! Grrrrrrrr.

    Thanks Daniel. I wasn't sure how well a post on this franchise would be recieved. It was either to be totally scathing or with glee! I am a fan of the franchise and all movies like it. You are right as RE and 28 Days look at the same subject matter in two differing ways.

    CDR..I'm not sure how much they relate to the game. I'm not a gamer myself, too old for that sort of stuff now! But I believe fans of the games flocked to cinemas and praised the movie adaptations. Doom as a movie was universaly hated by the gaming fraternity as a contrast.
    I also think RE 4 was probably the strongest of the franchise so far.

  5. Aside from the locales, like Raccoon City and the Umbrella Corp, pretty much everything else has been made up, and doesn't have much to do with the games, especially the latter installments.

    That said, I'm no fan of the games, so I enjoyed the first two films, the third not so much, while the fourth I haven't seen yet. Also love Milla Jovovich in an action role - she's badass.

  6. Thanks for the info Ty!! I really like the RE franchise. The third one wasn't very god but I think you'll like the fourth one. It is my favorite of them all. The prison scene is awesome.