Sunday, July 5

In Defense: The Apocalypse of Resident Evil

This post over at The Cheap Bin inspired me to write up this spiel.

Video games and I don't mix well. Time and again I have a tendency to buy systems, play a few games half-heartedly for a few weeks (usually with cheat codes at the ready), and then let it all languish as a dust collector as I move on to something else. My console investments have ended with the PS3 and that's primarily for its excellent Blu-ray performance. No more.

So I'm not an expert in the slightest in RE mythos, but having experienced the first game years ago I was greatly disappointed in Anderson's movie adaption. It's still baffling as to why those involved decided to completely alter a formula that launched one of the most enduring horror/survival game franchises in history. It's like if Kellogg's discontinued Corn Flakes for a few years and then re-introduced it with the same name but fashioned the actual cereal after Fruit Loops.

Extinction also doesn't sit well with my memory only relaying the scene where decaying crows attack the group's bus...or something. But then there's the middle child, '04's Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I'm not afraid and have no shame in admitting my adamant liking for this part of the (current) trilogy.

It surely has issues many find annoying. An abundance of showy camera tricks paired with frantic editing constructed around a wafer thin story with characters intersecting under the most threadbare circumstances. The first and third films also suffer from these problems, but there's a key difference--an unabashed campy monster flick sensibility. Something any movie with a cumbersome twelve foot tall leatherclad beastie armed to the hilt requires.

The story wastes no time and not fifteen minutes in we're already at city zombie meltdown. The all-too-brief siege sequences are like a dream come true. Many undead flicks, even Dawn of the Dead, have just teased the idea. Land of the Dead accomplishes this, but with far less finesse and soldiers that are more akin to office workers. Apocalypse offers the nearest glimpse of a moonlit undead commando battle in fiery city streets with a style that's ripped from your most awesome of rotting shuffler dreams. This aspect alone nearly commands a pass for the film if it wasn't so damn short. Hopefully the film adaption of World War Z will bring this pain to maximum potential with the Battle of Yonkers sequence.

Milla Jovovich still doesn't quite sell the feminine badass thing, probably from the liquid sex innocence exhibited in The Fifth Element. Thankfully, Sienna Guillory fills the Little Miss Zombo Ball Buster "gap" (innuendo hehe) and looks stunning doing it.

she's pale... *boing*

Lastly, Apocalypse flirts with a few bold concepts unlike its siblings. There's a running undercurrent of suicide solution being the only way out after all else has failed. A priest "feeding" a zombizied loved one flesh. The murder of a reporter by undead school children. A daughter experiencing first hand the cold blooded killing of her father. These things aren't explored to any critical extent, but it's nice seeing them injected quietly into such a brainless B-movie. Also zombie strippers, graveyard kung-fu, explosions, glass shattering, and shiny automatic weapons. Indeed.

In short, sit down with Apocalypse again and try taking it separately from the series. You might find yourself enjoying it more than ever thought. This all being said, I'm not particularly looking forward to an RE4, but the Japanese locale has more potential than a concrete bunker or a shitload of sand.


Thomas Pluck said...

Must agree. I have no idea why RE2 gets the brunt of the hate; the first one was boring, the third was watchable, but RE2 is certainly good dumbotainment.

Jeremy H. said...

okay, with first thoughts re3 was it didn't follow where the second... not that it would have too.. the girl was so important and then she is gone without mention... so from the three films re2 is my favorite...

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J. Astro said...

I think perhaps my biggest problem with the RE series is not so much the technical quality or the presence/lack of a few memorable moments here and there in any one of the entries specifically, it's the INTENT overall. I looooove cheesy movies, as do all of my fellow bloggers her and @ other sites. But Hollywood does not craft these things with love or interest, and they are not TRYING to make "fun, cheesy" movies. They are trying to make money. RESIDENT EVIL is pure commercialism all the way; violent enough to titillate a lot of teens with a.d.d., but not TOO violent so as to be decried by parents, or heaven forbid, to be taken fucking seriously. Those behind the RESIDENT EVIL flicks simply throw big gobs of cash at a no-talent dummy like Paul WS Anderson and say "go put asses in seats, Paul". And he does so, without worrying about creating real horror or even staying true to the property he's ripping off. With the kind of money they spend on a franchise like this, you'd THINK they could put on a quality show. But if all they can garner is the appreciation of a few folks that like the 'cheese factor', then look at it this way - that's some EXPENSIVE FUCKIN' CHEESE, man. It's money well wasted, and I'd rather see those dollars go to ten smaller, more innovative filmmakers who have the actual talent and nerve to put something REALLY exciting up there on the screen, instead of just a lot of fireworks and Milla Jovavich's skinny, poorly-scripted ass.

This approach to film-making results in a bunch of shitty, noisy spectacle and no actual effort, and as all the dummies pack themselves in line to see another Resident Evil pseudo-zombie film or another Michael Bay giant robot turd or another Mike Myers movie where he does a "funny voice", Hollywood keeps getting positive reinforcement and they end up thinking that this is all we want, and that is in fact all that we deserve.

So I'm not gonna say I begrudge anyone their right to like shitty movies, God knows I like more than enough of them myself... but I would also like to point out this: down the road, when *everything* is another 'Paul Blart' movie or a Will Smith-starring action vehicle or an Anderson video game adaptation, and Rob Zombie is re-making his own already-existing horror remakes, PART of the reason will be that people kept shelling out money for Resident Evil movies, and Hollywood learned from that example and figured it was better to just play it safe and keep putting mindless pablum on screens. And before too long, some total asshole of a fucking film exec is going to say..."Hey, remember that great old zombie classic from a few years back, that, whaddya call it, that Resident Evil? We should remake that!" you dare tread upon the staircase?

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