Final review of January. Final (?) chapter of the Resident Evil franchise which began 15 years prior. It seems this month, which is usually relegated to dump slots for the studios has, in addition to its usual role, begun serving this year as the franchise test for long running, often lamented, or forgotten franchises. We had Underworld, xXx, and now this. To their credit each of them have been able to maintain their original star, despite waning bankability as a name. Technically Diesel is still bankable, but only within known franchises. His forrays outside of his own franchise have not done well, even if they were fun. Granted the franchises he is in (Furious, Guardians of the Galaxy) might as well print money. Jovovich is not so lucky, and I was surprised to find she hadn’t been in a major project for a few years. So this makes her first major on screen appearance in almost 5 years, again as Alice.
So should this movie have been put down before it started?
The film is written and directed by the man who started it all…and somehow continued it all – Paul W.S. Anderson, not to be confused with critical darling Wes Anderson. Paul, is also the one who…gifted us..yes thats a good word, with the Death Race remake and AVP: Alien vs Predator and Pompeii. Conversely, he also gave us from the directors chair, Soldier and Event Horizon. In my review of Pompeii I covered that I find most of his bad movies guilty pleasures. Actually, they aren’t bad – they just aren’t cinematic masterpieces. Which is acceptable, as some movies are there to help you escape. It’s why, despite critical and audience appraise I won’t see Hidden Figures. The story is incredible, the acting incredible, the pain very real. The history more relevant than ever, but I often find myself in the movie to escape the real world and real world scenarios. Even with that need for escapism I expect, and so should you, a certain level of quality and care.
There’s something of that here. I get the impression, unlike Uwe Boll, he isn’t doing it for a paycheck. There’s a passion here for this world and this universe he’s crafted over six movies. Granted, from a writing standpoint he’s retconned (Retroactive Continuity adjustment) multiple elements of the story between 2002 and 2017 and this is no exception. The first 8 minutes of the movie, yes I checked my phone, are literally retelling and adjusting the story accordingly to bring everyone up to speed – much like the last two Underworld movies did. I wonder if anyone is planning to see this who hasn’t watched the others though? The plot is about as thin as cheese cloth, but unlike the past several films when it comes to our heroine herself and her arc – there’s caring involved. I was pleasantly surprised to find that her arc was brought full circle and while she’s still a killing machine – she is not a totally invincible killing machine. I won’t say there’s a lot of complexity but there is a much slower focus as the movie progresses.
Now….while the storytelling and pacing of the movie are surprisingly richer than I thought, the um…camera work for fights and monsters. Yeah, so that was a choice. It is next to impossible to see what, if anything, is going on for 90% of the fights and creature shots. I understand that the budget is lower, I understand you have a grand vision, but I would caution you to to figure out how to make more practical. If you can’t make it look good – figure out another way!
From an acting perspective – it’s Resident Evil 6. None of the performances are going to really help the careers, buuuuuut – they won’t hurt them either. Everyone is absolutely serviceable from an acting standpoint. Why am I not spelling each and everyone of them out? If you’ve seen the franchise you know why – if not, well…I won’t say more. There’s one call out however, and it isn’t Ruby Rose. It’s our new Red Queen as played by Ever Anderson. Yes, that is her name and yes, she is the daughter of the director and Milla who have been married since 2009. She actually does a good job as the homicidal AI and brings a surprising element to her. So nicely done there as she still had to have the chops to pull it off on her own, even with her father as the director.
I rather enjoyed Fallout: Raccoon City. It was a good wrap to the franchise if they keep their word. It is not a good movie, it is certainly not a bad movie – but I found I was not rolling my eyes through it. Some of the effects are good and the chances taken with the characters actually work surprisingly well. It bothered to care to set a good pace and when it goes practical does so nicely. There was real tension and some of the camera work was not horrible.
This probably comes in as the 3rd best of the franchise for how it looks and feels and the overall effort put into it.
Not a bad way to end January
Should you see it?
Do you like the franchise? Yes. Just…not in 3-D
Otherwise – no.
Will you buy it?
Yeah, I have the others so might as well. Beyond that no.
I really hope this is the last one. Please?