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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D


I awoke to the sounds of screaming and full-auto gun fire. It was coming up from the sublevel near the main complex entrance below our officers barracks. Wait, am I in the Umbrella underground facility? Could it be the small army of project Alice clones we've heard about... are they staging a super ninja incursion here... continuing their campaign of righteousness, seeking revenge for wrongs done to all of humanity by the supposed evil corporation with which I find myself inexorably intertwined? Will I make it through another day of this horrible zombie infested nightmare?

Oh, it's just my sons getting into it again. It is the morning after the release of the new Nerf Stampede tactical dart blaster and my sons are chasing each other around the foyer right below our master bedroom at 6:15 in the morning. Shrill ear-piercing, terror-inducing full-auto bursts of electric dart foam firing 18 round clips in all directions. It means I have to go corral these pint size commandos back to their quarters to jump start their elementary school day preparation for "picture day" and shake off the brain fuzz from getting just 4 hours of sleep.

Graphical treatment via ngx
You see, I was one of the few nutty zombies that went to the 12:01AM midnight premiere of the fourth Capcom video game inspired "Survival Horror" apocalypse themed feature length movie. Resident Evil: Afterlife is a bombastic movie extravaganza of undead horror, chock full of gun-blazin' action, featuring a lady on the run with a shady past, uncertain future and inexplicable telekinetic super-powers courtesy of the ultra evil mega-corporation she seeks revenge on. To join Alice on her unending journey of death and um un-death, her unlikely entourage punch their passports for a guaranteed one-way trip to a bad end, without hesitation, consequences be darned! Awesome, right? Yeah it is a messy, convoluted, hyper-stylized roller-coaster ride - just like the video games and dang fun to experience, especially in eye-popping 3D. So, in my usual 10 point review style, here are the top moments of awesome in Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D. Disclaimer: this is not a spoiler free review.
  1. Featuring Fan Service galore: starting with the first line of film, "Biohazard terminated." uttered by an utterly doomed sniper sentry guarding the impenetrable underground Umbrella facility in Japan. Biohazard is the original title from the Japanese Capcom video game.
  2. Chris Redfield is a brother reunited - joining his slightly amnesic sister Claire to form a butt-kickin' evil fightin' duo.
  3. Wesker as the original shady S.T.A.R.S. squad commander, turned Umbrella Big-Bad, gone mad with T-virus juice. Expect a big showdown, video-game boss battle showdown style.
  4. Obligatory lobby shoot-out scene! Featuring bullet evading slow-mo martial arts acrobatics and exploding walls. That security army never had a chance!
  5. Zombie upgrades! Horrific face grabbing mouth tentacles! Quadruple ICK!
  6. Lost rag-tag group of zombie survivors, featuring the pre-requisite set of character archetypes, each doomed by their own short-comings and the peril of group think. The famous good-hearted athlete, the altruistic wanna-be actress, the selfish movie producer, the naive executive assistant nobody, the loyal middle-aged everyman, the lost troubled soldier. They are all fodder for tragic ends, providing the another one bites the dust signature aesthetic doom and gloom for this film genre.
  7. Resident Evil gave in: No longer loyal to the Romero camp of "Zombiology" the zombies have learned to run, dive, swim and burrow in this movie. I guess their hunger pangs for human brains has intensified in the four years since the outbreak, and it's a challenge worth evolving for, undead or not, to find a decent meal? They still can't climb however, so I guess that's something. And where are all the Lickers?
  8. "It's a trap!" and "don't go in there" moments through out with scenes under water, in cramped tunnels, behind doors in pitch black places.
  9. Slow-motion rain, slow-motion gun-fire, slow-motion crashes, slow-motion fights; all borrowed from dozens of other genre, action and horror films that you will instantly recognize, now upgraded into shiny, shimmering jaw-dropping 3D.
  10. Ambiguous plot turns and no real ending - no safety is sure. No one is ever really dead - zombie, monster or human - unless their head is removed. This is most randomly proven by the huge unstoppable hooded juggernaut swinging the over-sized battle axe, transported into this film from the 5th video game in the series. Alas, our intrepid survivors live on to fight in another film.
So, you may think that this is a review of a bad movie. I think the film is a big sloppy wet kiss homage to the video games and most importantly the gamers, who are going to love the cheese, the bad dialogue, the clich├ęs, the scary action combo; all signature Resident Evil game elements. Regular movie goers are going to scratch their heads in disbelief at the twists and turns in the "story" but may enjoy the thrill ride nonetheless if they can unplug their brains. I enjoyed the film enough to watch it today with my friend Wayne Sutton. Here are a few of his comments:
  1. Yeah, Milla is awesome.
  2. More action!
  3. Deliver more on implied sexuality, you know!
  4. Don't slow down the story for no reason...
  5. But stop overuse of slow-motion during every action scene.
Here's the funny part of that last qualm. I think if you sped up the all of the slo-mo bits to regular speed, this 1.5 hour movie would run about 45 minutes. LOLZ! So this begs the question: does a $13.50 ticket (with that new $3.50 3D surcharge!!!) make any new film worth the cost? I'll save that debate for another blog post.

In my best Capcom video game voice: "Resident Eeeeeeevil."

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