Thursday, October 07, 2004

Resident Evil: Apocalypse - No Life After Death

Zombies. They’re wandering into everybody’s lawns, like stray cats, making it impossible to enjoy the simpler things in life, like a brewski....oh, sorry. Wrong review.

Resident Evil (the sequel) is still a movie about zombies. Only this is a pure evil play, definitely a thumb’s down. Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a proper place for zombies (read my “Shaun of the Dead” review). But there’s more to this abomination than zombies. Like a poorly written, poorly directed movie with no intent, no cleverness, no joy in Zombieville.

You know, I used to have an attention span. Even after MTV, I could hold my focus for at least 30 seconds, maybe even more with really good material. But the Resident Evil people don’t think anyone’s got an attention span of more than 1 or 2 seconds, the average take in their movie. I realize the brain’s gestalt is supposed to put the pieces together as if they were a whole, but there’s either something wrong with my brain or with this movie (and I suspect it’s the latter). A million pieces of tiny little scenes stitched together still looks like a Frankenstein patchwork.

And the volume level is absurd. This movie’s idea of suspense is to blast a noise at the audience, let your wits catch up to you, then show you the visual. That may work once, but not for lengthy sequences. I can just imagine that the projectionist at Loew’s got the message from the producer: “Listen, buddy -- turn up the volume to about 300% and there’ll be a little extra in the Christmas bonus for you.” My entire body was aching for silence at the end of the film. Better the suspense build from the script, with proper sequencing, a story that progresses, and characters you care about.

Milla Jovovich is the star of this movie, a monster within a monster. They tried to make a star out of Milla several years ago (“Fifth Dimension,” “Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc”), but now she’s doing Resident Evil films. She does as well as she can with such merciless, staccato dialogue. She truly does have a presence that transcends film. The camera adores her.

The rest of the cast ambles on well enough, although I wonder why so many of them have Eastern European accents. The other lead character, a female cop, has a dynamite entrance, with guns blazing. However, dressed in a tube top and a short skirt, her gunbelt lashed to her naked thigh, it’s hard to take her seriously as a law enforcement officer.

There are one or two fantastic stunts, but they only last a few seconds. You could just imagine at the end of the scene where Milla drives her motorcycle through the church stained-glass window, the director yells, “Cut! Okay! We’ve shot our budget! Let’s bring back the bad dialogue, the bottle scenes for the next two hours, and the zombies!”

The proper punishment for the director and writer of this film would be to dump them in the backyard where the zombies roam, where their very creations can feast upon their uncreative bones. But we’d better smash their kneecaps while they wait for the carnage, so they can't get away. Those zombies are awfully slow.


At 8:55 PM, Blogger Wiersema said...

To understand the movie more, it would help to understand the concept of the game it was based apon. No, this isn't just some dumb ass zombie movies some crazy mothafucka's pulled out of their ass'. The movie is accually based from a video game. And so to keep RE fans happy they tryed not to stray to far away from the basic game sceame. Just thought you might like to know. Also i'm sorry about the spelling.


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