Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) Review

I think ‘Resident Evil’ is a fair assessment of the situation at this point. The sixth live-action film in this franchise since 2002 which hasn’t actually been able to achieve a modicum of quality since that first installment – and that’s being generous – ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter promises to sever all ties with a franchise that feels as though it has just sort of always lingered in the background. Or at least I thought it did.

Apparently these films are actually fairly popular, and made on a pretty small budget that lowers the margins for success drastically. Some may sneer and suggest that the only audience these movies manage to attract are those that play the video games. As someone familiar with games, I can tell you that for one, people that play the ‘Resident Evil’ games feel very little connection to the movies in general as they actually have very little to do with each other besides the general theme of the undead. Secondly, I know plenty of people that genuinely enjoy these movies and have no idea that it was even based on a game series because they exist in such separate spheres and feature such minimal crossover. Although I dare say once one learns the origins of the films, they wouldn’t be too surprised.

Milla Jovovich is back as Alice (but we’ll just call her player one) and the film opens with her wandering around the brownest Washington D.C. I have ever lain eyes on, more on that later. In a sequence of events too mundane to recall she finds herself face to face with the Red Queen (Ever Anderson), whom people may remember as the artificial intelligence from the first movie way back when, perhaps Paul W.S. Anderson wants to tap into some nostalgia from the only film in the franchise with somewhat mediocre reviews, who knows.

Alice is told that Umbrella, the evil corporation that released the T-virus, has an airborne cure to the disease that must be released within 48 hours or the last bastions of humanity will be destroyed. The last bastions being 4,000 people, down from the initial 7 billion. This all seems to be too little too late and with the Red Queen being the A.I. Of Umbrella why did she just decide to tell Alice this now? Why exactly is 48 hours the deadline, will all 4,000 die at once or is it sort of a slow burn thing, because then surely if she succeeds and say, 40 hours pass won’t that leave under 1,000 people left? If you aren’t prepared to leave your money in your wallet then you have to at least leave your brain at the door, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.

Alice leaves and is pursued by Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glenn) and Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) in what is essentially a lengthy chase scene spattered with action sequences that would love to be ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ or even ‘The Road Warrior’ but just don’t have the patience or the care to do so. These scenes are cut together so fast that actually interpreting what is going on becomes its own challenge, which was already made difficult by the fact that everything for the first half of the movie or so that is set outside is the same damn shade of brown, making for one of the most visually uninteresting films of recent memory.

Later on Alice meets with other survivors and unfortunately I can’t remember for the life of me who they were other than one of them was played by Ali Larter. I only know that cause a portion of the back of my brain whispered ‘ooh that’s the annoying girl from ‘Final Destination’ which is hardly a ringing endorsement. When the film finally moves into some interior settings in it’s latter half it does certainly start to look better despite the contrived action sequences and the ever-nauseating editing still being a huge problem.

With all of this said, I did find ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ to be one of those movies that just happens to you, and is never ferociously boring. As much as I hated aspects of its production, I can’t say I truly hated the final product and perhaps that’s because it at least moves at a relatively impressive pace, as shown by how quickly 48 hours is supposedly condensed into a film that’s under two hours. There is plenty of action and in fairness it does have sufficient variety in its action in theory, though this is cheapened by the fact that this variety is chopped up into indistinguishable chunks due to the editing. It’s like a stir fry. Put as many ingredients in it as you please by all means but after 2 hours on a high heat it’s still going to be a black cess-pool that you could have sworn looked better when Nigella did it.

Faint Praise for what is ultimately the second-best in 15 year series of disposable computer-generated shooting galleries. Let this be the true end, I’m tired of this evil taking up residence on our screens and in our heads.

4/10

If I Stay (2014) Review

We’re back, just as I was beginning to forget what a bad movie actually was, R.J. Cutler bombs the red carpet with “If I Stay”. A movie starring  Chloë Grace Moretz where one thing happens that is worthy of note. The plot is just about there enough that it could have flourished as one of those short films they show before a Pixar movie, but I guess a movie where most of the cast is comatose throughout wasn’t a hit with younger audiences. “I have it!”, says R.J. Cutler, “You know what this depressing plot needs? An equally depressing run time” and so from the depths of the malignant Hollywood money barrel comes “If I Stay”. The latest film about comas that accomplishes the esteemed and highly sought after achievement of making you envy the Sleeping Beauty played by Moretz herself.

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Lucy (2014) Review

“Lucy” didn’t last long before I began to re-evaluate my expectations.

“So this is a movie about a girl who uses 100% of her brain to get really smart? Is Luc Besson treating us like idiots with this banal flashback of a rat walking into a trap on purpose? Maybe he is trying to tell us how dumb we are right now… but later on the film will get really smart as Lucy (Scarlet Johansson) gets smart?”

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) Review

There are no surprises anymore. Not here, anyway. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” returns us to the Autobots and the Decepticons as they battle it out to save planet Earth. Megatron (Hugo Weaving) thankfully isn’t the sole antagonist this time but that hardly makes things what the suits call “interesting”. Shia LaBouef is back as Sam Witwicky, the focus of the film despite his inescapable irrelevancy. I suppose I should say something like “I loved the special effects!”. I also love tea, but God forbid you serve without milk.

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The Punisher (1989) Review

One of Marvel Comics darkest characters, Frank Castle AKA “The Punisher” is unlikely to be back on the screen for a while due to the success of the family Marvel movie. He doesn’t have the star power to attract viewers, and if it isn’t appropriate for parents to bring their kids too, who will see it? The Punisher is a character that will only succeed on the screen if he gets out of comic territory and instead goes for a gritty story similar to how Christopher Nolan managed it with Batman. This rendition of the character — the first of three so far — is dark, brooding, and yawn inducing.

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Starship Troopers (1997) Review

In my review for “Speed” I wrote about how not all movies need to have deep characters and spectacular artistic direction to be great. “Speed” is the perfect example of a dumb movie which is just superbly done, and masterfully embraces what it is. It has no pretense of being more grand than it is, which paradoxically makes it far greater. “Starship Troopers” has fallen into the trap, it’s a dumb movie that tries to be smart and then stumbles over its own dumb limitations. Did you notice my subtle repetition? Felt quite forced didn’t it, sort of like the satire “Starship Troopers” attempts to sandwich between its own buns of stupidity. Hopefully my opinion has been hammered home sufficiently by now.

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Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) Review

Here it is, the fifth and the last of the original “Planet of the Apes” franchise. “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” is an utterly useless exercise and finally drags the series down to the levels of the truly terrible, instead of the simply unremarkable. I can’t tell you how much I really wanted the series to go out with a bang. Literally, I thought this could potentially be a film that perhaps lacks in good characters and cinematic competence, but makes up for it in just pure large scale visceral carnage between the two warring factions of the apes and the humans. Regrettably, I report to you that “Battle” is neither. There is nothing worth talking about here, but I can be quite artistic with wasting my time.

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