Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rewatch: Resident Evil: Extinction & Resident Evil: Afterlife

Previous two here.

Resident Evil: Extinction, 2007, Russell Mulcahy (Highlander) -- download

Beyond the dungeon rompy fun of the first one, this is really the only entry in the franchise I truly enjoy. Truly, as in, not cringing at bad acting or shaking my head at the weird choices. Of course, it doesn't hurt that its a PoAp wasteland romp!

Apparently zombie virus plagues don't just ravage the human population but also lead to an ecological collapse. Through Alice's expositional introduction, we learn that the world has become mostly desert with bands of surviving humans gathering together for protection. Walking Dead meets Road Warrior meets just about every best bit from other PoAp movies, including Alice rooting the ruins of an already picked clean gas station. It also gives us here best getup for the entire series, including going up against the red dress.

Of course, the movie starts with an Alice Wakeup scene. After a disoriented, (again) dungeony walk through hallways and corridors, she is killed. Woot! Twist! Not Alice but clone Alice, taken by scientists and dumped into a pit of Alice clones all wearing the same red dress. Outside the world is all desert and a massive horde of zombies bangs against the incredibly durable chain link fence outside the entrance to yet another underground Umbrella facility.

This was probably the producers saying, "How can you do a zombie series if it doesn't have some passing resemblance to The Walking Dead. But it abandons that aspect a couple of movies later, so those producers were probably eaten. But the grimy, survivalist look and feel of this movie is the best esthetic they gave the series, IMO. Carlos and LJ are back, from the last movie, but Jill Valentine is missing. There is some comment of how Alice had to hide from Umbrella once she discovered that weird Big Brother umbrella overlay to her iris, once that identified her as being controlled by Umbrella. But she's back and ready to help out the survivors with her telekinetic powers. Those are new.

This movie separates itself from the others in the franchise in that even the bit part players seem to know how to act. You cannot discount good (OK, decent) directing, that I guess will do a scene until it looks and sounds right. Even a bad movie can have decent, believable acting. At least in comparison to later entries in the franchise.

Resident Evil: Afterlife, 2010, Paul WS Anderson (Pompeii) -- download

Original director, writer is back to helm the latest entry, and it is the sign of The End. Seriously, I wish the guy had just abandoned creative control and let the movies actually evolve. Unlike his wife Milla, the series does not age with grace.

Since the last movie ended with Alice allowing the remaining humans of her convoy to escape to Alaska, to find the source of Arcadia, the Last Safe Place on Earth, Alice dove into facility to confront Dr, Isaacs and discover her clones.  Her many many clones.  And this movie begins with that Clone Army (sans white Storm Trooper outfits [replaced by faux Trinity outfits of black pleather]) attacking the Umbrella facility in Tokyo. She is going to destroy the heads of the corp head-on.

If Extinction was Walking Dead and The Post Man, then this is WS Anderson's desire to put his wife in a Matrix ripoff. Seriously, the dude doesn't seem to have one original clue about him. From slow-mo bullet time shots, to dodging down a hallway full of automatic gunfire, craters being chewed out of the cement pillars as she jumps & dives her way through the hail. Dr. Isaacs was killed, albeit mutated Isaacs, in the last movie leaving us to hate Wesker, the Agent Smith ripoff who was played hologramatically by Jason O'Mara (most recently, Director Mace on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) in the last movie but is even more generic by Shawn Roberts (yes, I know you haven't heard of him). Wesker escapes from the facility, Alice Prime hides aboard his helicopter and after the ensuing fight, he injects her with Anti T-Virus formula. Alice Prime will be back to normal, tough chick Alice.

Opening Sequence Done.

The rest of the movie has Alice heading north to find the rest of the surviving humans in Safe Alaska. Alas, nobody is there, nothing is there but a bunch of empty planes and helicopters. Aaaand one leftover, wearing a weird red goo filled metallic silver bug. Ali Larter joins Alice and the fly south to LA, a ruined city overrun by the undead horde.

Really, this is the only good segment of the movie, as some surprisingly alive survivors (dressed like this all happened a few weeks ago, instead of years) hole up inside very very tall prison... in downtown LA?  Whatever. Remember, Walking Dead had a prison, so...

But the prison is not the place of interest, even if its the prime segment!

Scrrrriiiiiitch. The sound of a record player needle scratching across an anachronistic LP record.

If I am watching all of these, to enjoy them all over again, in order to watch them again for the latest, and possibly final entry in the franchise, then why are these words not .... fun ? Honestly, not having as much fun as I did the first time round. And if you see my words on the next entry, in its first viewing, by the time I got to that one, all the fun was drained out to be solely replaced by dumb.

WS Anderson can direct his wife, and that is about it. The rest is all pedestrian, repetitive, derivative drivel that I am having a hard time swallowing this time round. I think I now know why they are not on The Shelf.

This one ends on a boat, Arcadia was a crock and Wexler has coaxed everyone into the really clean interior to be subjects of even more experiments. Seriously, what is the end game of this corporation? If 90% of the planet is already a brain eating horde outside, with some small percentage mutating into even nastier things, then ... what? What is the point? What do you do when the rest are dead? Why experiment on the as bio weapons? Who is going to be the recipient of said bio weapon???

It ends on the boat with Alice freeing the survivors only to see a horde of whirly birds (Osprey helicopters) on the horizon. Key Next Movie.