Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rewatch: Resident Evil & Resident Evil: Apocalypse

I said it when I saw the previous entry in this franchise, and I guess we are continuing the tradition, as we rewatch all the previous Resident Evil movies before watching a download of the latest. Guilty pleasure? No, not guilty at all. But with every viewing, I do see more and more how terrible they can be. But I can do some mini-coverage of them, as I watch over the next few weeks. Yeah, it takes me that long -- see previous post, so much TV to watch. P.S. And surprisingly, I don't own these for The Shelf; I guess a collected edition of Blu-ray hasn't caught my attention yet.

Resident Evil, 2002, Paul WS Anderson (Soldier) -- download

This is the intro, a video game movie, taken from a Japanese series of games from waaaaay back in the Sony PS1 days. I played a bit of the first one, just after Marmy got me a PS1, and she came home to find all the lights in the apartment on, Mukey and myself curled up on the sofa (feet tucked up, of course) eyes intent. It was The Licker, that sneaky motherfucker, that had us freaked out. Alas, the games never continued for me; I do not have the attraction to the standard type of Japanese video game.

This is also a Milla Jovovich vehicle, through and through. This takes the young hot, ex-model and turns her into a kick-ass zombie-killing machine. I admit freely -- I bought into it entirely. And she doesn't even enter the franchise based on one of the existing characters, but as an entirely new one, Alice the ex-Head of Security for Umbrella Corp. Those blue eyes are dreamy.

Locationally based, this edition of the movie series is great. This is one of the few examples of applying a video game feel to a movie, and have it work. Moving from room to room, the characters fight different examples of the enemy Umbrella has put before them. I suppose you could call it a dungeon crawl? Almost immediately half the security force sent in to quell the zombie hoard is lost to the laser grid room; one guy dying from shock? Dude, sure all your coworkers died, but you only lost fingers!!

Eventually they are picked off one by one, until only Alice and The Nice Guy are left. We end the movie with a nip-slip transition from the Escape from Research Facility into the post-zombie-apocalypse Racoon City which is where the games actually begin.

So, an entire movie as origin story.  Huh.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse, 2004, Alexander Witt (this was it, all he ever directed) -- download

From a rather fun room crawler that gives us an intro to all the fun zombie elements from the game, we jump directly into a proper zombie apocalypse story as the T Virus (blue goo that makes you a zombie) is released into Raccoon City. How will Alice, and her new friends, escape?

This is a terrible terrible movie. The acting is so unbelievably bad, I would almost say Uwe Boll was running the show. And it goes to show that a director has a great part to play in how well an actor does in a movie. The plot is all over the place, not really knowing what it wants, but to toss Alice into some cool scenes which don't make a lot of sense. I get that jumping a motor cycle through a stained glass window looks cool, but was there a ramp on the other side? So, the long dead can be infected by a virus? I am not sure that is how "animating dead cells" works, or does that also mean there are tons of shed skin cells out there acting all zombified, albeit microscopically?

The movie drags us back to a final fight scene in Nathan Phillips Square between Alice, Umbrella security and the monster that The Nice Guy morphed into after his allergic reaction to the Licker scratch. We had a momentary theory that maybe Raccoon City was actually Toronto, not just shot in Toronto. Seriously, what has Toronto become known for in the last few years? So, in an alternate world, it was named for the masked bandits that wander the streets and alleys after dark. Unfortunately, that is dashed when we hear them mention "state officials" near the end of the movie. Raccoon City is in an unnamed US state.

Again the movie ends with its own leader into the next, as the captured Alice (wait, wasn't she dead?) is resurrected by Mad Scientist 2 -- Jason Isaacs had a brief flash of a scene as MS 1; this is Iain Glen as Dr. Isaacs. Weird namey connection. Takeaway from this scene? Alice is infected with the T Virus and she is able to come back from the dead, as herself, and not a zombie. She escapes, but does she? Dr. Isaacs lets her go, but peeks through her now flashing umbrella symbol eyes. You'd think people would notice that.