Monday, 11 October 2010
If this is the Afterlife then count me out
Resident Evil: Afterlife
I’m not a fan of this franchise. At all. I quite like the first Resident Evil movie if for no other reason than Milla was cute in it and that laser slicing and dicing scene was sweet. Apart from that it was not so much. The second one, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, was terrible on every front. The third, Resident Evil: Extinction, was not too bad but I can’t remember much about it…zombie crows maybe? And Ali Larter. Yum!
When film number four came out last month in the now obligatory 3D I really didn’t wanna pay good money to see it. I’d seen the trailers and thought it looked rubbish – highly derivative and ripping off The Matrix ten years too late. I had the strong feeling it would indeed be just as rubbish as it looked. But giving writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Alien vs. Predator, Death Race) the benefit of the doubt I sat down on Sunday and gave it a watch, hoping for the best (for free I hasten to add and not in 3D).
It was actually worse than I thought.
God I was bored.
Anderson has basically made a film with no story. And no characters. And no excitement. And no tension. And despite some nice photography, no style at all. Anderson thinks that style means aping The Matrix whenever he can. But in his mind that just means the endless use of slomo for jumping, shooting, dodging, hitting, rather than creating and filming skilfully crafted action sequences with real visual impact and coherent structure. But then coherent structure is almost entirely missing from this film, the bulk of which takes place in a grimy abandoned prison where Milla arrives and must help the stranded people inside escape and get to a ship in the harbour. And that's pretty much it. And when they do eventually get to said ship, Milla finds this bad guy from the movie's beginning (who she thought was toast) waiting to trap her. Now, I had no idea who this bloke was when I saw him at the start…only that he was doing the worst Agent Smith impression ever. Utterly cringeworthy. So when he comes back at the end I'm still baffled. However by then I'd long since given up caring about any of it and was reading a magazine. Out of the corner of my eye I saw shitty Smith dude and Milla have an equally shitty matrixesque fight while some other stuff happened to the lunk from Prison Break and cute Ali Larter. And then (thankfully) it ends...BUT with an obvious set-up for yet another RE film. Please God make them stop!
There is no story here folks, nothing. Land a plane in a prison, meet some very dull, one dimensional characters, get on a ship, have a fight, The End. None of the monsters are remotely interesting - except the big bloke in the shower with the axe, and that was ripped off from the vastly superior Silent Hill movie.
Now look, I don’t mind formula schlock.
Hell, I love me some quality formula schlock.
But this ain’t quality.
The script is basic back of a postage stamp stuff with no thought to originality, character or dramatic tension. Stuff just happens. For example the whole subplot about Wentworth Miller stuck in the Hannibal Lecter cell is not developed and goes nowhere. I thought they might pull a twist on us and try to introduce a cool badass anti-hero character such as Carpenter would do. But, no, he is exactly who he says he is - a charmless lunk. Milla, bless her, not the best of actresses, still looks the part, though age is slowly creeping up on her as it is to us all. Still, she can still kick ass and fire guns pretty good. Ali Larter is okay, reprising her role from the last RE, but everyone else is either awful or makes no impact at all.
I can’t stress how much I hated this. I was sooo bored by it. Unforgivable for any film. I couldn’t care less what happened to any of the so-called characters and I just wanted it all to end so I could watch something else instead, something remotely interesting. Paint drying for instance. Maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe it would have come across better in 3D at the cinema. I dunno, but I doubt it. A turd in 3D is still a turd...only closer to your face.
In the past I’ve been an apologist for the much hated (in geek circles) Paul W.S. Anderson. I like the first AVP movie. I love Event Horizon. But what with the rubbish Death Race and now this...Yikes! (0/5)