animation – cinema – design

Kung Fu

Martial Arts really, but we’re putting some hard work into our naming conventions.

Somehow in the last week i’ve managed to watch the entire Resident Evil series.   And now you can read about it on my blog!

I saw the first two in the movie theater when they came out; and the second one was such a cinematic let down to me that I didn’t bother seeing the third one till Monday night; on a laptop.  Which was a shame really, it might be the best one.  The fourth one i caught in stunning ™ 3-D! this summer at the dollar theater  in Albuquerque.  The glasses were three dollars and I was not allowed to bring my own pair.

The movies are named in a collection of devastating nouns just to tell you how depraved they are.  Unfortunately they leave the taste of last month’s marketing in your mouth when you read them.  So from the top:

Resident Evil – ***1/2-

Any movie that starts and ends with Milla Jovovich  naked can’t be bad.  On the strength of that alone I’d give this movie three stars and call it a day; but it’s not a porno, so we’ll talk about the whole thing.  From the intro all the way to the first real zombie fight this movie is a great sci-fi thriller, and I think that’s what’s so great about this whole franchise, is that it’s “horror” in theme, and that lets it get on with some truly great science fiction.  The zombie fights are the weak points, and that’s okay once I know i’m in a sci-fi movie about a virus taking over the planet.  The story revolves around the T Virus, which kills the cells of the animal it infects, and then reanimates them with a thirst for genetic code.  The original virus turns humans into zombies, yes, but when they feed…  While I was in the zombie movie I was all “This sucks” and now I’m like “this is rad!”  Throw in a computer AI that wants to contain the virus to the lower levels of it’s top secret instillation and you’ve got B movie Gold!  The only MacGuffin is: why not just talk to the AI and find out what’s happening in the lower levels.  Why open it up at all?

Best Ending Ever?  No.  Second.

Empire has the best ending ever; because it ends on a note of hope.  This is noticed by the director and he makes up for it in the second film…

 

Resident Evil: Apocolypse **1/2 – –

Now the director (one of my favorites, have you seen Shopping?)is offered the chance to re-film “Escape from New York” and he takes a pretty good shot at it.  The film opens on the baddies we saw at the end of the last movie, as they open up the undercity (why? aren’t they waiting for the report from the last dudes who went down there?)  We follow several people as the city begins to shut down, and the first scene from pretty much any contamination movie which followed gets tested out.  Most notably Will Smith’s “I am Legend” strangely also a movie mislabeled into the zombie category.  We see the Umbrella Corporation evacuate their important people; all except our major plot point, who mystically escapes on her own for most of the film.  We have a fantastic ride with a tough cop whos’ character I never buy into; an unlabeled black man who never stands a chance, but for sure I thought that cowboy would kill him.  Some russian security contractors who speak better english than I do.  Though I realize this would not be hard to do.  And the survivor of “Project Alice” whom we are expected to believe is the same character that we watched during the last movie.

Through several twists and turns we get to watch the T virus turn into some wicked monsters and have some fantastic moral questions thrown at us; meanwhile Alice blows up a motorcycle in midair.  This stunt is a minor theatrical gambit, and is mediocre at best.  It somehow ended up being the centerpiece of the marketing campaign and by the time I saw it in the theatre I was really let down by it.  On the laptop the other night, it was just as unbelievable.  I blame the cop’s character, all her scenes (excepting the priest) were weak.  At the end the boss fight tears itself apart as the main players remember their true selves and everyone escapes.  Or so it seems.  Instead we get a better train wreck of an ending and are assured of a third film.  But this time the stakes are higher!  Alice is a clone of her former self, AND we get to see her escape from a facility that would, in other works, be a movie unto itself!  Hurray!!

Resident Evil: Extinction *** – – 

It’s Road Warrior Time!  Now with TK powers!  How awesome is that?  It’s awesome.

Easily the coolest of the Resident Evil movies, or just the one I hadn’t seen before?!?   The movie opens with the clone question again and we watch our heroine escape another lab…or do we?

Our major driving force is a convoy that’s touring around the southwest; with one of the russian guys from the last movie with them.  He’s still wearing his BDU’s and they surely must chafe by now.  He’s picked up a blond girlfriend by the name of “K-mart” and that relationship is in for some bumps that are never pursued by the director.  The convoy is being run by another video game character that i”m supposed to know about and care for, but I haven’t played the stupid games 😉

With TK powers come great responsability, and a trip to Las Vegas is in order after project Alice saves the convoy from the birds.  With the idea that the T-Virus will keep mutating out of the bag; our director really lets it rip.  Besides a new look for the dogs and the reasonable introduction of a Hitchcock plot,  new and improved super zombies, are on the menu as well.  We even get a look at the anti-virus that will try to keep it in check.  Not the best monster costume I’ve ever seen, but what a great blend of polyester and CGI!

As Alice helps her friends escape via Helicopter, she finds out that they’ve been experimenting on “her” and goes all sorts of combat hero on our villians.  What I really like about this series is the different types of guns they manage to place in different peoples hands.  As thought the post WWII standardization of the weapons industry really had worked.  But not so much that you don’t have to switch it up from action sequence to action sequence.  It’s actually as though the rule is: “If you make it out of this action sequence with this gun, you can have it the next time it gets dangerous.  Not you Milla.”

Since we’ve seen the first movie we dont’ need extended dialogue about who this shiny little girl is, and now it’s off to kill the scientist who’s been f*cking with super science.  At the end of that we’re left wondering if our heroine is the same woman we’ve been watching from the beginning; or just another clone of herself; and this plot twist introduces the “real” villian of the franchise.  The Chairman!

Tune in next year kiddo’s; as we take on the Umbrella Corporation head on!

 

Resident Evil: Afterlife ***1/2 – (*1/2 – – – in 3-D)

He might be a great director, but he’s no Poul Anderson (which took me down a whole other thought pattern) This movie opens fantastically and ends really well; but this midsection, like so many of us here in the united states, could use a little working out.

Starting with one of the best title sequences in action movies; we get to see the infection take hold in Japan.  Then it’s the same monologue we’ve heard before and some Japanese snipers having some fun with zombies.  But not zombies remember? T-Virus!  Something flying is killing us all!!!

Oh it’s just the answer to “how do you start a movie with the escape scene from  the Matrix, only better?  Throw in a plane crash for good measure; and make your unkillable TK person human again.  This first fight scene (and the ones after it, truly) did a bang up job fusing their live action and 3d models together and the change up in speed meant to show the physical power of the people involved did so better than both hulk movies (in a cyberpunk, not so over the top kind of way).

Then there’s just this middle part where real world TV makes an appearance, but who cares if no-one watches your video; I thought you were hell bent on revenge?  And how the F*ck am I supposed to believe that 6 months have gone by and nobody in this prison is having sex with the british girl?  And why are the tunneling zombies heads folding open?  no wait, I’ll take T-virus for $100.  Yes, and that could be a thing we could watch later on; because I didn’t see enough of it in that last movie.  I like to think that city rats are the reason the virus learned to dig.  Think about it.

The reaper dogs take the cake though, and why are none of my questions even mildly answered by the return to the Apple store?  Cool, death dealing glassware aside, why is the whole place so black and white when the entire rest of the series is a bunch of grey.  Could it be that the underlying message is that large corporate interests are black and white and uncaring of the individual while the real world is an enigma of grey moral choices floundered through by damaged beings so inured in their own survival they are unable to help each other?

From a B movie franchise.

 

I keep getting surprised by Dreamworks.

 

They’re like the younger brother who doesn’t f*ck up as much, stays under the radar, and always has a shot at the title.  Sure Pixar has all the awards; but this allows Dreamworks to keep taking shots at specific genre’s and the industry as a whole.    As Disney’s efforts on the 3d front continue to be both lite in the story pants and meh in the visual realm, Dreamworks is the bruising underdog of kickass feature animation.  I really hope they kick in teeth this year at the Oscars.

Another story about Po the panda.  This time it’s an evil peacock, and someone over at Katy Perry’s place missed an excellent marketing opportunity.  Dreamworks goes the distance in the action and animation sequencing.  The colors are really attractive with a changing palette during the entirety of the film, and their use of black and white within the frame is worthy of a graphic novel.  Well done!

I kept thinking that the movie was over, but it kept going.  This has happened to me on a couple of Dreamworks flicks and it makes me really happy to be sitting there expecting this to be a 90min wonder and having a twist or two bring it to 120 just ads smiles to my face.

****-

 

 

Holy crap go see this movie.

Log off the internet, no..wait; find a theater near you playing this unbelievable B movie, then log out of the internet, leave your job or loved ones, and go watch this film.

Amazing. That’s the word I have to use.
I am currently Amazed.

Have you ever seen a giant Cobra wrapped around the Liberty building?
I hadn’t.

Watched as low level hollywood actors fought for supremacy over their lines and situations (lines and situations written by some wicked good Korean writers)?

Could you ever guess how accurately some korean movie house would depict the LA scene? Friends with empty relationships, un-aprovable fashion worn without regret, Concern for others and how their lives relate to tyou…

IT”S ALL THERE!

Giant plot holes?
Invincible heroes?
Drastic measures?
Dudes riding velociraptors?
Car chases?
Snakes eating elephants?
Apache helicopters fighting with dragons?
Shoulder mounted rockets on gamerra?

ITS ALL THERE!

I am going to sit here in amazement. You go watch this movie and get back to me. If you hate it, I’ll fake my own death for you; but i give it the Dustin Sweet Guarantee (TM) that you will laugh out loud at least once, no matter your jaded level.

I think Stan said it best when he said “Holy Crap Dude.”

Rating: ****1/2

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