I’ve always had what you would describe as being a strained relationship with the Resident Evil films. As a huge fan of the games the first film disappointed me by omitting any of the series’ well established characters. But overall it’s not a bad movie, and I generally enjoyed it, admittedly it would have been better if George Romero had been left on the project, but we can’t always have what we want.
Then they went and made a sequel, Resident Evil Apocalypse (2004). Shit! What a mess; it was just a bunch of random scenes linked together with the flimsiest of storylines. It was as if someone had said what would you like to see in the film? Written a bunch of set pieces, and then tried to fit a story around them. It was such a departure from the first film that I took an instant disliking to it. I couldn’t understand how they could take a horror game and turn it in to a caricature of an action film. It’s so over the top and ridiculous even I thought it was stupid, and I’ll watch any old shit. So I stayed away from the sequels Resident Evil Extinction (2007) and Resident Evil Afterlife (2010), until a couple of months a go. When I found myself sitting down to watch Afterlife, because I’m lazy and I couldn’t be arsed to find something productive to do with my time. The surprising thing was I liked it. So I watched Extinction next; and I like that one as well. So it was inevitable with the release of Resident Evil Retribution (2012) that I would find myself sat in the cinema with my 3D glasses on looking forward to seeing Milla Jovovich in the third dimension.
The one thing that strikes me about the Resident Evil films is that even though they are a part of a series Paul W S Anderson has no problems with ditching or just plain ignoring events and characters from earlier movies. Retribution is no different, K-Mart and Chris Redfield are no where to be seen. Alice doesn’t even Bat an eyelid that the girl she spent the whole of Afterlife trying to save is no longer around, although I’m sure they’ll both turn up in the next one. At the end of Afterlife we see a fleet of Umbrella attack helicopters flying towards the umbrella prisoner ship. Retribution kicks off straight from this moment. In the ensuing fracas Alice is taken prisoner and held in a secret Umbrella base (another one!) Where she successfully escapes and starts to cause all sorts of mischief while wearing Umbrella sanctioned bondage gear.
It turns out that Alice was broken out by Ada Wong, who has a team of mercenaries making there way into the facility to help them both escape. This team includes Barry Burton and Leon S Kennedy who looks like he’s channelling the spirit of a young Dolph Lundgren, and for some unexplained reason Luther West who’s gone from being an ex-basketball player to a trained soldier, because this is after all a Resident Evil movie and shit like this doesn’t need explaining, ever.
If you’ve seen the other films then you pretty much know what to expect, because Anderson hasn’t deviated from the formulae he used in the last three entries in the series. However this time he’s out done himself. This particular Umbrella facility is used to simulate T-Virus outbreaks in various cities, so we have Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Suburbia all represented and ready to be shot to shit by the cast. The action sequences are truly magnificent, and the liberal bouts of fisticuffs are well handled, we even get a car chase through the streets of Moscow. The effects as ever are top notch despite the use of GG blood. Overall there’s nothing new here; but I’ve come to love these films, and it feels good to catch up with Alice and the Zombie ravaged world she lives in.
The best way for me to describe it is; it’s Resident Evil 5. It’s the cinematic equivalent of Candy Floss, there’s nothing there; and what little substance there is, is bad for you. But it’s colourful and fun and a little won’t hurt you every now and again. Besides it’s got Milla Jovovich, and you can always go see Looper (2012) afterwards.
I guess the best thing to suggest for you to watch in this films place is any of the previous entries in to the series, but I can’t let you go without suggesting a classic piece of Zombie asshatery in Retributions place; so go watch Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) it’s shit; in an awesome way.
Stomm it’s Judge Drokking Dredd he doesn’t have a Cod piece and he keeps his Helmet on!!! I’ve been waiting for this ever since that Stallone travesty was forced on us in 1995, Rob Fucking Schneider seriously. But hey-ho lets forget that shit.
Dredd opens with a magnificent travelling shot that takes us through the cursed earth; the radioactive wasteland that covers most of the earth and into Mega City One, home to eight hundred Million people, one of the last bastions of mankind, and notorious shit hole. Mega City One as it’s presented in this film is interestingly low tech, it’s quite a departure from the city we find in the Stallone movie and comics. In Dredd Mega City One is an odd mix of shanty towns, slums, and the eponymous Mega Blocks, huge buildings that act as small cities in themselves.
Rather than describing it as a science fiction dystopia I‘m more inclined to attribute it to being an alternative view of the present; only a present in which the cold war resulted in Nuclear war. The most advanced piece of tech that we see in the whole film is the Judges Lawgiver gun and a character with bionic eye implants. Other than that there are no flying cars, lasers or robots, and it works, because the whole thing with this movie is that it’s been stripped down to its bare bones. It’s not epic, it’s not grandiose, its two judges fighting to survive against the odds. It’s an action film pure and simple.
Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson find themselves trapped in the Peach Tree’s Mega Block where most of the inhabitants are criminals out for their blood, while they in turn hunt down Ma-ma the ex hooker, gang leader, and drugs Kingpin that lives on the top floor. Yeah it’s just like The Raid (2011) only it’s not enough like The Raid! Don’t get me wrong I liked Dredd but when it finished I couldn’t help but feel like it lacked something, and having since watched other action films I’ve realised that it lacks punch, yeah it’s gory, explody, and shooty but none of it seems immediate it’s all a bit passive; like we are watching the action from a distance. A good action film puts you in the centre of a scrap. This just doesn’t have that emotional high that comes with a good action film. I’m a little disappointed but there is talk of this becoming a trilogy so here’s looking forward to the next two. It’s good and definitely worth a watch but it could have been better, if you want to watch something a bit more emotionally intensive then I suggest you sit down and enjoy The Raid.
!!!There will be spoilers, but the only thing that will really spoil this film is watching it!!!
So here it is the remake of Total Recall it’s been long coming and to be honest I’ve been looking forward to ripping into it only I didn’t think it would be quiet this easy. My problem now is I don’t know where to start. It’s like this movie was produced purely with the intention to piss me off, it pretty much contains all the tropes that make me hate modern films. However I don’t really even need to go into detail on those, instead I will just comment on its colossal lack of originality; this film borrows so much.
So let me begin by saying this film is essentially Bourne 2099, we find ourselves in the future the world has been devastated leaving only two areas of inhabitation where the entire human population is forced to live. You know like in judge Dredd, only they don’t call these two cities Mega city one and two instead they are the United Federation of Britain (England) and the Colony (Australia) The UFB is where all the elite and rich live while the Colony is where all the workers who keep the UFB running are located. The workers of the Colony commute to work everyday on a train that runs through the centre of the earth. (I’m not going bother to comment on that one)
Douglas Quaid our erstwhile hero lives with his hot wife in an old run down apartment in the colony. A quick side note. The colony is the best character in this entire movie, but that’s because it’s pretty much been lifted from Blade Runner, even Quaid’s apartment looks like a run down version of Deckards. Basically the Colony is a pseudo Chinese Japanese wonderland inhabited by pedestrians with paper parasols mired in perpetual rain, saturated with the colours of neon lighting. I can’t stress this enough it is a beautiful sight to see but only because It was taken from a far superior film.
So Quaid dissatisfied with his life goes to Recall after running into the obligatory girl with three breasts, Which is never explained but desperately needs to be. Because there are no mutants in this film, and there is no Martian colony so why do we have a girl with three breasts? other than the fact that one of the main things that people mention about the Original is; the girl with the three breasts. But I digress. Quaid goes to Recall to live out a spy fantasy, and it turns out he is Jason Bourne. So from now on we get the running, shooting, efficient fighting style, and quest to find out who he really is, that you get from one of the Bourne movies. Yes from here on things just go from bad to worst.
We have possibly the slowest ever car chase in the history of cinema, admittedly they are floating cars but they never seem to get any speed up, they just sort of plod along while the camera moves around trying to give the impression of speed, which never really takes. I’m guessing the only reason the cops didn’t get out and run up to Quaids car was the fact that it was floating several stories above the ground, because running would be a lot faster than the cars themselves.
Then Quaid finds his other self’s apartment (Huaser) where he activates a hidden hologram, by playing a piece of music on a piano, if it was the Moonlight Sonata I would have called Bullshit right there and then and walked out, because this is a puzzle lifted directly from the original Resident Evil on the play station. Basically what I’m saying is its ridiculous. Oh by the way the hologram of Hauser that Quaid calls up tells him that ‘This hologram can only answer specific questions’. Seen I Robot lately? Isn’t that how the film starts?
When Quaid is eventually led to the sans-belly mutant leader of the rebels. They hook his mind up to a Recall chair so they can access his memories and the information that he has. Turns out Quaid is a Mnemomic Courier (Johnney Mnemomic) because he had the Blueprints for all of the UFB’S robot army hidden in there, when they said he had information that could help the rebels they didn’t specify that it was blue prints, I thought it was going to be tactical information but no it seems someone who worked on this film is a fan of a pretty poor pre-Matrix Keanu Reeves film.
As a final kick in the pants to it’s audience this film never for one second leads you to believe that Quaid is still in a Recall chair, it asks you to consider it at one point when Quaids work buddy tries to convince him that he is stuck in his implanted memories waiting to be lobotomised. But there’s no subtlety to the scene and you know he’s chatting shit. The original film had the set up that Quaid asked for the blue sky on Mars scenario in Recall, and that’s how the film ends. There is no such similar situation in this remake; essentially you never doubt that it is all real. Possibly the biggest mystique about the original is; did Quaid get the happy ending because it’s what he asked for?
So finally to sum up, this film takes a load of different influences, spits out Bourne 2099, and then treats you like an idiot.
Seriously Fuck this movie!!! Do yourself a favour, go out buy Blade Runner and the original Total Recall and watch them instead.
!!!Warning may contain spoilers!!!
I loved this film; it’s by no means perfect. Some of the older action stars deliver their lines a little woodenly; as if they are uncomfortable with being in front of the camera, the CG gore is back, and the in jokes are a little cheesy. But hell I don’t care because I got to see Arnold Schwarzenegger emptying hot lead into a crowd of mercenaries, the defining image of my childhood.
This is as close to a prestige action movie as you can get. All the greats are here and they all get involved this time. We get Schwarzenegger, Norris and Willis picking up weapons for the final throw down along with the regular Expendables; in an epic shoot out of almost commando like proportions, Which acts as a nice bookend to a movie that opens with one of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time. Its loud, it’s violent, and it’s dumb. It’s everything I’ve always wanted. Also it’s good to see a total lack of that shit bag Bourne series style of fighting that has dominated cinema for the last ten years. Instead we get big guys, with big muscles, pummelling the seven shades out of each other, Jet Li doing some martial arts, and Jason Stathem doing a good impression of someone doing martial arts.
One of the best things is seeing characters grow, albeit in very subtle ways. We learn Gunner is a genius (Incidentally Dolph Lundgren has a Masters in Chemical engineering in real life), Lee Christmas likes girls who cheat on him and possibly the best Hale Caesar with his culinary expertise and love for a nice cup of coffee while camping out (in the middle of a war zone). These idiosyncrasies really flesh out the characters and their relationship with one another.
Also I have to say hats off to Van Damme. He swaggers around like a corrupt decadent French aristocrat who regards people as nothing more than commodities for him to use. He has very few lines but the way he moves and looks at people tells you straight out; he just doesn’t care about you or anyone but himself, an absolute master class in action film villainy and no English accent for a change.
If you haven’t seen this yet go see it, if you have go see it again, because this is a film straight from the golden age of action cinema transplanted in 2012