Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ripping Resident Evil Or Dreaming Of Milla Jovovich

Milla is back! You should think the posters speak for themselves. Nevertheless, critics still keep digging deeper regardless.
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I have to laugh when I see the swell of negatives rise over at Rotten Tomatoes [RT] concerning the film Resident Evil: Afterlife [2010]. Seriously? Why? Why bother? These critics line up year after year to rip the Resident Evil franchise. As of this writing, 36 Tomato Splats versus 10 Tomatoes combine for a whopping, impressive 22% rating. I'm right there with you Tomato guys. This is bloody Resident Evil people! What do you expect?
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It's a rather simple equation actually. Straight up, it is Milla Jovovich, as Alice, killing zombies. Simpler: Milla Jovovich + Zombies = Sexy babe killing Zombies. The more complex equation: Milla Jovovich + Zombies + Ali Larter= Two sexy babes killing Zombies. That's it! Throw a few cool creatures in for good measure. You see, I knew math was important. I don't need to see Resident Evil to know it and I'll bet some writers don't see it to review it. Do the critics think they are giving us anything new to chew on regarding the fourth installment in this thriving franchise by ripping on Resident Evil? I should think them smart enough to know better. Their zombie-like trance in savaging the film each arrival is ironic really. Milla is the sexiest damn zombie killer to grace the big screen. Add an irresistible Ali Carter to the mix and it's 3D time!
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Milla is the draw to the series. She's sexy. She's charismatic. She's all of that while managing to be one of the few beauties to infuse an action hero with unabashed, feminine sex appeal. Angelina Jolie couldn't pull it off in Tomb Raider [2001 & 2003]. Charlize Theron couldn't do it with Aeon Flux [2005]. Kate Beckinsale comes closest with the Underworld series. But Milla Jovovich reigns queen. She carries the weight of the Resident Evil franchise on her tiny Ukrainian shoulders like Atlas shrugging.
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Go ahead and throw everything you have at that freakishly hot sex kitten, because she is going to protect her husband, Director Paul W. S. Anderson [the man behind the Resident Evil series], like a bear protects her cubs [eww, bad analogy maybe]. Critics have attempted to nail the franchise dead from the beginning. Resident Evil [2002] received a whopping 34% at RT [79 rotten/ 41 fresh]. Resident Evil: Apocalypse [2004], a seeming riff on John Carpenter's Escape From New York [1981], earned a dismal 21% showing at RT [96 rotten/ 25 fresh]. Critics thought surely they had ended it the second time around where they failed the first, but like those nasty old zombies Resident Evil just kept on coming back unable to be terminated. The third installment, Resident Evil: Extinction [2007] arrived in all its Mad Max-glory Milla glory with a 22% rating at RT [70 rotten/ 20 fresh]. These critics can't be serious.
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It's become a bloodsport for these folks. Fortunately, for fans of the series like me, I want my Milla and the critics are going to have to pack a lot more heavy weaponry if they want Resident Evil to eventually be dead and buried. As long as Milla wants to do it and as long as she looks younger than Sigourney Weaver in Alien [1979] she'll keep on coming at us delivering testosterone-drenched actioners for the fanboy set- A sweaty, hot, ultra cool Milla Jovovich kicking ass! Period. Critics should go find another whipping girl because Milla doesn't care and neither do the fans. It's clearly okay for Sylvester Stallone and the male action heroes to get their two thumbs up for The Expendables [2010], but Milla's act is too long in the tooth. Have you looked at Sylvester Stallone lately? God love the man, but can anyone see a double standard here?
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It's absolutely laughable to see critics come up with their stale lines year after year.
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1. "Sad addition to a flawed movie franchise." [Not as far as I can tell - SFF].
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2. "The franchise has really run out of the little steam it ever had." [Really? Now? Run out of steam? In the fourth film?- SFF].
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3. "Derivative slow motion sequences, bad acting and an incoherent storyline." [Storyline!? Good enough plot line for Resident Evil bucko and Milla is just fine!- SFF].
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4. "Lacks tension, dread, angst, humor- you name an emotion, it's not there." [Feelings!? This is Resident Evil, there's no time for feelings! We're tryin' to survive here bub!- SFF].
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5. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five times? I don't think so." [Well then, you're not the brightest bulb are you?- SFF].
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6. "Ms. Jovovich is more decently clothed this time around." [Okay, I'll grant you, that is bad news- SFF].
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7. [Another perfect cliche] "It's boring. It's derivative. It's chaotic. It's a franchise that's been running on fumes for eight years. With this entry, the fuel gauge has finally hit empty." [Is that the best you've got? Zzzzz - SFF].
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8. "There’s nothing to be immersed in here but the blood, bullets, and globs of brainmatter flying around" [...and the problem here is...?- SFF]
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9. [The best negative of the bunch] "Like one of its lumbering undead, this video game franchise is hard to kill. The fourth entry is less about zombie mayhem than about progressing a larger story arc - if anyone still cares" [WE CARE! WE CARE! Of course we care - SFF].
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Finally, this would-be Tomato Spat turned Tomato gets it. "More of the same, but if you enjoy this kind of thing, that's not necessarily a bad thing." This gent actually gets it- simple but true. There's more, but you understand the general concept of the assault on Resident Evil. Problems with plot and character development? Will they ever learn? Good grief.
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As far as Director Paul W. S. Anderson goes, any plans of achieving the kind of greatness he once professed as a self-identifying fan and emulator of Director Ridley Scott seems to have fallen by the wayside. He's all style and very little substance, of which Scott is both. The promise of film ideas like Soldier [1998] and Event Horizon [1997] seem to be few and far between. But as style goes, this guy looks as sharp as a cranberry-colored nehru jacket.
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The criticisms of Anderson as a filmmaker are completely legitimate and justified, but substantive issues aside I am mesmerized by the visual flair of his features. Perhaps it's the MTV generation in me. I am completely in awe of his powerful visual hand and in that is reason why I adore the Resident Evil franchise despite its lack of true originality. Those who would cast me aside as a tasteless, unsophisticated cinephile, I simply don't care. Guilty pleasure? Hell no! I proudly embrace Resident Evil. Do I scream from the hilltops and tell everyone I know that I love it? Uhhhh, no. Okay, so I guess I care a little. But damn it, while you're among the living, have a bit of mindless fun and we'll see you again very soon Alice. We all know you can't keep a good zombie down!
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REVIEW UPDATE! Resident Evil: Afterlife kicked ass as expected. Milla kills Zombies! That's my review.
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Resident Evil: Afterlife: A.
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Okay seriously, I shouldn't say much here, because I'm having way too much fun with it. But there I sat with white buttoned shirt after work looking like one of those things from They Live, except I had the glasses. I happily munched popcorn and sipped soda and awaited the arrival of Milla. All in all, it is yet another outstanding entry in the Resident Evil saga. Mind you, it does not rank higher for me than any of the others, it simply remains another chapter in a much larger novel. While it may not be the strongest entry, which is certainly up for discussion it has its glorious moments of Milla slicing and dicing, plunging and shooting, stabbing and gutting. Yes, it's a good day to be Milla.
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Truthfully, I'm simply not sold on 3D. Resident Evil: Afterlife is stunning in segments. For its genre it easily rivals Avatar in effect thanks to those cameras. One sequence in particular witnesses Milla in slow motion literally charging the screen with bullets blasting straight through the heads of zombies and it is a sight to behold. The film opens with a rousing 3D display, settles down a bit [which had me nervous], but then progressively grows stronger as it runs toward a logical Resident Evil conclusion. Some sequences literally took my breath away. I think at one point, during the glorious Milla rooftop escape, I actually said to myself with a sigh through all the carnage. "I love you Milla." She's amazing and the ultimate la femme nikita didn't let me down.
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In fact, I actually enjoy when Resident Evil slows down for a bit of exposition to move the story ever so slightly forward. I wish the films were a little longer for a little more of it. This film was a little darker in spots. There's an almost grey hue to this particular installment and may not be my favorite shade of the franchise. I would have enjoyed a bit more zombie action and those new tentacled zombies are just freaky. They aren't original yet they'll scare the tar out of you! The Axeman is this entry's Nemesis and Larter and Jovovich have a lot of fun with the sequence. These two action females are the serious stars of the film.
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All of the complaints regarding Director Paul W.S. Anderson's riffing on other films is completely fair. There are elements of Blade II [zombies], The Matrix [bullet time slo-mo] and The Thing [splitting dogs] all in play, but there is still plenty of largely Resident Evil-styled set design pieces in place. There are plenty of leaps to make too, but this is Resident Evil. Characters survive horrific crashes walking away like characters from The A-Team, but our heroes and villains can't die now can they?
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There is no shortage of weapons and action. Alice says, "Girl's gotta come prepared," and does she ever. So, Resident Evil: Afterlife continues the incredible RE run with a full-on video game-styled chapter. It should blow you away. As for the 3D, as good as it is, I still can't wait to purchase a good, old-fashioned 2D Blu-Ray. My afterlife will then be complete. In the meantime, I'll continue dreaming of Milla.

15 comments:

J.D. said...

What an awesome defense of the RESIDENT EVIL franchise - easily the most eloquent one I've come across yet. Actually, you'd be surprised how many other fans of this enduring franchise there are out there. I've come across quite a few in the blogosphere strangely enough. And I think it boils down to this: these films don't pretend to be anything other than what they are. Plain and simple. In this respect they are critic proof and this is evident in the box office receipts this film (and the others) are racking up.

I really like these films, esp. EXTINCTION for its ROAD WARRIOR meets zombie vibe. Plus, the addition of Ali Larter was pretty cool. I'm looking forward to checking out this new one.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thanks JD for the big praise. I appreciate it my friend. Plan on seeing it in a few hours.

Unlike many, I do love each and every installment of the RE franchise. Each is visually unique. Unlike yourself and many others, I'm a pretty big fan of the Escape From New York nod of Apocalypse and that Nemesis project creature was as bad ass as I've seen a creature in a horror/sci-fi actioner in awhile.

Extinction- brilliant. So much light and space that it was so unique to the previous film. I enjoyed it very much.

The original. Classic! If you throw a monster called The Licker in there, you've got my vote.

Oh, and I pretty much dream of Milla.

Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein said...

Sci-Fi Fanatic gets his freak on! Your funny and heartfelt defense of the Resident Evil franchise was a hoot to read. I do check out Rotten Tomatoes for a general consensus of films before I decide on seeing films that I am "borderline" on. However, I never even thought to check out the reviews on Resident Evil: Afterlife because I knew no matter how negative the reviews were, I was going to see it. As a fan of sf, fantasy and horror films, I'm more surprised (and suspicious) when I read a positive review of such films. Horror movies (and Resident Evil's four films are primarily horror films) in particular are regularly savaged by non-genre critics, I assume, because they are predominantly visceral experiences, with less emphasis on character and drama than non-genre films. Fans of these films, "get" these films because they serve to stimulate our imaginations and allow us to escape into a complete fantasy world. For people who don't like sci-fi, fantasy or any of that "weird stuff" in their films, there is no argument that will encourage them to enjoy our beloved genres.

I did see Resident Evil: Afterlife this weekend -- IN 3D!!! -- and will be posting on it in my blog. However, it is taking longer than usual, because I'm also attempting to evaluate how the 3D affected my opinion of it. Based on your opinions posted here, Sci-Fi Fanatic, you are going to think Resident Evil: Afterlife is wicked cool!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Doc. Thank you. I just returned. I LOVED it. I look forward to your handle on it. I also look forward to your 3D opinions.

Please check out my updated input on the film itself.

I must tell you that I feel strongly against 3D. I am not a fan. I knew that I had to see this one in 3D because the techniques were used for it. I knew I wanted to experience it one time. It was impressive in spots.

Having said that, I almost feel as though I would enjoy this film as much as 2D experience and I look forward to my Blu-Ray to do just that.

I'll probably be wrong, but I have no interest in 3D films in general and I have no interest in purchasing a 3D TV.

I love technology too, but I don't think I'm going there. I really don't.

In fact, I would love to see this in 2D soon on the big screen, because I'd be happy to see it again and compare.

Thanks again my friend.

le0pard13 said...

Way to go, SFF! You articulated this perfectly. There remains a whole lot of love out there for our girl, Alice. Fans don't attend a Paul W. S. Anderson film for cerebral cinema, do they (hey, didn't I see the return of zombie Dobermans in the trailer?). Now that I have Machete and The Expendables under my belt, I must complete the triumvirate with another RE. It's great, too, that there's growing appreciation out there for SOLDIER and EVENT HORIZON. Thanks for this, SFF.

p.s., I must say that Jolie did acquit herself very well (action and grit-wise) in this summer's SALT. Believe it or not, I saw three films this season that had big spontaneous applause when the end credits arrived: TOY STORY 3, INCEPTION, and SALT.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Hey L13.
I hear ya. Yes, the dogs receive a similar splitting head effect a la The Thing.

Your point is well taken regarding Jolie. I was thinking miore in line with TV/Videogame adaptations, but I still love Milla best. : )

Will said...

'She carries the weight of the Resident Evil franchise on her tiny Ukrainian shoulders like Atlas shrugging.'

Greatest line. . .ever. THAT should be on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hey man. . .glad to see someone defending the franchise that has, for the most part, been consistent. I can't wait to see the fourth one. To me, 2/3 means a majority and Resident Evil, for the majority of the time, has been good. Even if four sucks, it's 50-50. . .I'll take those odds over the terrible franchises we seem to be getting lately.

But clarify one thing for me. . .I don't think it was reflected in your review: is Milla sexy? ;)

Hey, by the way, email me. I have to ask you about something.

secure immaturity at gmail dot com

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

HA! Thank you Will my friend. I kinda thought the line had a nice ring.

Did I mention I loooovve Milla. : )

But in case I wasn't clear. Yes, she is sexy. :D

J.D. said...

Hey have you seen ULTRAVIOLET? Milla kicks a lot of ass in that one and is her usual gorgeous-looking self. The film has tons of fantastically staged action sequences. Definitely worth a look if you haven't seen it.

le0pard13 said...

Just so you know, I recently tagged you with a movie meme.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

ha! You know. I actually haven't seen ultra Violet. It's in my queue. I believe it's by the Director behind Equilibrium which I enjoyed quite a bit. The fact it has Milla is more than enough. Thanks JD.

Cheers L13!

Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein said...

Hey, Sci-Fi (and Milla) Fanatic! If you love Milla Jovovich in the RE movies, you will L-O-V-E her in Ultraviolet! Yes, Ultraviolet is directed by Kurt Wimmer who also directed Equilibrium. I think Ultraviolet is an improvement over Equilibrium and not just because it stars Milla Jovovich instead of Christian Bale (though Milla is a darn sight prettier than Mr. Bale). BTW: You can watch Ultaviolet on-line for free at Crackle.com (http://www.crackle.com/c/Ultraviolet/Ultraviolet/2480344). Unlike many free streaming video sites, the image quality is quite good.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Always good to hear from the Freak Doc! Listen my friend, and brace yourself, because I'm going to sound like a true audio visual snob here and I'm sorry for that.

First, thanks for the tip on the download and for the thumbs up on Ultraviolet because you and JD have confirmed that film is for me to see.

But I must buy the Blu-Ray. I need Milla in pristine Blu-Ray. I expend the very best for Milla. : )

Honestly, I love Blu-Ray and I pretty much go that way when I can and I expend those dollars over time so as not to bankrupt myself. It is definitely one I am watching for a price drop! Thanks pal.

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff said...

What has always baffled me is that critics and reviewers continue to see movies that they KNOW they won't like. I have blog devoted to nothing but awful movies, and even *I* don't bother with movies I know up front I'm going to hate.

And it's the critics who keep reviewing films in genres they despise, or series they know they don't like, or actors they know they don't hate that cause the general film-going public to dismiss them and their opinions. It's obvious that they're going in with an ax to grind.

There are so many movies released that they have other choices to write about, one would think. Or their editor can find a stringer to assign the review to.

Oh... and as far as the line in that one review that Jovovich was better clothed in this one? I wonder if the reviewer would have written that if he/she had bothered looking through the credits. Eventhough the fashion line is long defunct, Jovovich/Hawk was responsible for making Jovovich's outfits in this film. But that could just be me being judgemental without really bothering to look at the review. Kinda like some of these critics when they supposedly write about films like this.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

What a terrific observation and point to make. Thanks Steve.

Ironic you should mention writers going into in to a writing assignment with "an axe to grind," given the latest villain is the Axeman. Perhaps Anderson was saying something when he ensured the fellow wielding the axe was killed. : )

Joking aside, I'm right there with you. I don't waste time with a huge percentage of films because they don't interest me. Romantic comedies generally, Spy Kids, etc..

But if your job as a writer is to analyze a film subject send someone open to the experience at the very least if not a fan and most of all if they are indeed a "hater."

And finally, you're right, these people write very cursory reviews. There is little if no substance to them. There is no genuine insight and therein lies the tragedy of it. I find I get much more out of film analysis from people like yourself and elsewhere right here on the blogosphere. You'd think the media or at least film writers would be worried about their jobs at this point.