Friday, September 10, 2004

Resident Advisor

Today I met a friend and we went to go see Resident Evil: apocalypse. Now, despite the near universal lack of anything approaching quality or substance, I cannot but admit a certain affection for the Zombie genre. I'm not really sure what it is that's so attractive, but for the life of me I can't help seeing the walking dead. And, when you throw in Milia Jovovich, well...

Anyway, the chance to see it came up, so I took it. I don't normally go to movies on opening day, but we caught an afternoon show. Not that I think there would be lines for this one or anything, but you never know. Even though we caught the matinee, it was still seven bucks for a ticket. I've noticed a general increase in the price of admission, and we actually went to the more expensive theatre in nearby Union City. I prefer that theatre because it has stadium seating; that is, seats on elevated levels. At a modest 5'5" it takes little to block my view, and to make matters worse I often have the misfortune of sitting behind some rotund NBA reject. An extra fifty cents or even a dollar seems a reasonable price to assure that I'll be seeing the movie and not someone's misshapen rear profile. Unfortunately, in this case, stadium seats simply afforded me an unobstructed view to a dismal offering.

The movie itself is surpassingly dull. Sure, they can make you jump by blaring a sound effect loud enough, but there is no surprise. Rather than concentrate on a meaningful plot, interesting characters, or even novel effects, the RE:A people relied on tired and familiar horror cliches. There is really nothing worth paying attention to at all, save perhaps the delectable trio of female "actresses," and not only are they of interest to but half the audience (give or take), the movie eventually robs them of even that appeal. Or, at least, diminishes it.

Milia plays the invincible hardcore woman warrior with a stiffness indicative of rigor mortis, her few attempts at dead pan humor somewhat less amusing than the emergency broadcast system. She was supposed to have been altered by Umbrella, but you never get the feeling that her flat performance was influenced so much by thespiatic integrity as incompetence. They do show her nude at one point, but it seemed to me an oddly emaciated body. She looked kinda like a skinny man with no shirt.

There was a reporter girl, cute in the way they are all dolled up like that, but aside from that largely unremarkable. Her character has a surprising amount of screen time, and her dialogue if forgettable was nonetheless considerably more interesting than that of nearly anyone else's. As far as the plot goes, she really adds nothing and her sole disnction came in opposing splitting up (though, of corse, they do anyway).

Perhaps the most attractive of the three women was the girl who played Jill Valentine. She was definetly very cute, and her clothing, if somewhat inappropriate for a police officer, left little to the imagination. Unfortunately, she was severly disappointed in the dialogue department. The line "fuck me" featured prominately, and though it was a suggestion not entirely without merit, I think most of us had hit on the idea already by the third or fourth time she said it. As far as the plot goes, Jill was more important than the reporter. Valentine, a member of STARS (Special Tactics and Rescue Squad) was supposed to be integral to their escape efforts, though she's the one who decides the group should split up. She also has to deal with that most predictable of problems, a friend infected with the zombie virus. All in all, a shallow and unremarkable performance, but one of the better ones probably at that.

Aside from dismal main characters, the movie has all the other shortcomings you'd expect. An unrealistic plot, a supposedly organized and well equipped military losing to shuffling corpses limited to the speed of crippled slugs, a dumb monster boyfriend for Milia, a heartless and mindlessly evil corporation, and an over reliance on so-so effects and predictable jokes. The comic foil, this time a loud mouthed taxi driver, is once again a high point, and this type of character is quickly becoming a saving grace for these kinds of movies. Even so, they are certainly incapable of carrying the movie on their own, though fortunately none of them have been expected to.

So, all that being said, take my advice. Skip a second trip to Racoon City.

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