Movie Review of Resident Evil 5: Stultification

resident evil 5 poster

Aiming for the middle of a swastikapus.

I wasn’t even sure what installment of the Resident Evil franchise this was. I have seen more Resident Evil movies than I should admit, which is all of them. I have no idea why I have seen all of the Resident Evil movies and I actually told my husband I would never willingly watch another one after this. I am not sure what it is about me but I tend to watch some very terrible movies. I guess I’m a horror slut and will pretty much watch anything with a haunted house or a zombie in it. The fact that I sat through Resident Evil: Retribution proves that I have a high tolerance for suck that Im not proud of.

The original Resident Evil seemed, well… original. The rest of them, not so much. Here’s what I looked up online about the Resident Evil series:

1. Resident Evil (2002) The T-Virus, or zombie-makin’ virus, escapes a top secret Umbrella Corporation facility by accident. Protagonist Alice has to escape the underground facility.

2. Resident Evil Apocalypse (2004) T-Virus reaches the outside world, Alice has to rescue a little girl from a junior high school, and Umbrella Corp. blows up Raccoon city with nukes.

3. Resident Evil Extinction (2007) Alice gets superpowers from genetically bonding with the T-Virus and a group of survivors decamp to a survivor stronghold called Arcadia.

4. Resident Evil Afterlife (2010) Alice becomes human again because of the evil machinations of Wesker, Arcadia turns out to be a trap.

5. Resident Evil Retribution (2012)

Which brings us up to date, unfortunately. The absolutely stunning Milla Jovovich, even though she looks exactly the same as she did 10 years ago when she starred in the first Resident Evil movie, could not save this epic stinkburger. Milla Jovovich truly needs to move on. This movie doesn’t do her future career in cinema any favors. The beginning is a shootout scene with Umbrella Corporation that we watch playing out backwards, meaning bullets fly back into guns and people fall back onto the great big oil tanker the battle takes place again. The backwards theme turns out to be entirely appropriate and symbolic, unfortunately. My husband said that the backwards stuff was “cheap teenage boy effects”. Uh, that pretty much sums up the whole movie.

Rolling out the bimbos: Dragon Lady, Gimp Suit, and Blue Balloon Bosoms.

Rolling out the bimbos: Dragon Lady, Gimp Suit, and Blue Balloon Bosoms.

Alice, after all her tribulations, is still being targeted by Umbrella as Baddie No. 1 after all these years, though who could possibly give a fart considering the human race is almost extinct and Umbrella itself serves no purpose as the whole world is overrun by zombies.

Which brings me to the problem of Resident Evil’s logic. If all humans are extinct, there are no people left to spend money to flow into Umbrella’s coffers, and isn’t that what corporations are all about, money? Why chase after an enemy of the corporation when the corporation has no assets or promise of assets ever again?

After a narrated recap by Alice herself, we learn Alice is trapped in an underwater facility in Siberia. One of her many clones is living out a simulation of suburbia where she sports a terrible blond wig with horrific bangs. She has a cute family and a deaf daughter. Of course not 5 seconds can go by before her idyllic lawyer foyer is being trashed by slobbering zombies. Several yawns later, the plot of Resident Evil: Retribution is spelled out by one of the characters — because surely a movie of this depth and breadth needs the monologue equivalent of Cliff Notes — by a dragon lady named Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) who has perfect asymmetrical hair and possible double eyelid surgery. The whole movie’s plot is that Alice needs to escape to the surface. That’s it. There’s no more. Sorry. There are some people who are set to rendezvous with her in Fake Moscow or thereabouts. Fake Moscow, Fake Tokyo, and Fake Suburbia USA are all installments in the underground antechamber from which Alice must escape. They are global in the way Epcot Center is global — nobody would be convinced that these sad, dippy looking scenes were actually shot at international locales, even if they actually were. The whole movie is so video tragically game-ish that the DVD should come with a joystick. I know the franchise was based on a Capcom video game, but do we really need squares around various locations and people’s heads? Glowing letters? The only thing missing was a Mana bar. Oh wait, and a plot.

Alice flits from boss battle to boss battle. The little deaf girl from the beginning scenes clings to Alice, thinking she’s mommy. At one point, the little girl asks Alice “Why are you dressed in S&M bondage wear, mommy?”. So Alice tromps through zombie Epcot Center sometimes with the little girl in tow. It’s a small world after all. Old, dead characters from the previous movies are brought back under dubious circumstances. New-old gimmicks are introduced, such as zombies with four-pronged hydras for mouths that I will call swastikapus because they look like a cross between a swastika and an octopus. Another boss, encountered in Fake Moscow, I think, has its brain outside its head, yet another tragically apt metaphor for the film.

Her butt is the only thing worth watching in this movie. Sad.

A frenemy of Alice’s, Jill Valentine, has a spider-jewel thing between her ample bosoms that robotically controls her brain, this lady ends up being the final boss battle. Her character is so boring and her acting so wooden, they had to dress her in a skintight catsuit as they were otherwise out of options. Wesker, the evil big cheese of Umbrella Corporation, is a dime-store villain in dire need of a black mustache to twirl and a maiden to tie to some railroad tracks.

He’s not just the president of Albino Hair Club for Men, he’s also a client!

Milla, please extract yourself from these awful, plotless films, you’re far too good for this! Oh wait, I just read that she’s married to Paul W.S. Anderson, the director. The hell? Awkward…

Movie Review: Breaking Down Breaking Dawn

I finally saw Breaking Dawn.  Obviously, I’ve seen it very late in the game–it came out months ago.

The fact that I’m a vampire author needs to be put aside here.  The Twilight series, as much as it shares the vampire romance genre my book Forever Fifteen occupies, is as different from my book as night and day. Though they share certain ideas, my book has almost nothing in common with Twilight save the first books being set in high school, so let’s move on.

If I saw this thing on sale for $4.00 at Rampage, I still wouldn't buy it.

Breaking Dawn is, hands down, one of the worst films I have ever seen.  I have not and will not read the rest of the Twilight books, even though I own them.  I enjoyed the first book, but I found the reading of the second to be incredibly tedious and not worth my time.  I needn’t explain my philosophy that my life is too short for bad books.

CAUTION: SPOILERS

Breaking Dawn begins by falling flat.  In an obvious concession to the primarily female audience, the first minute of the film features Jacob tearing off his own shirt, as if the director was trying to throw us a bone because he knew how terrible the rest of the film would be.  Vampire Edward and human Bella are getting married, a plot point that cannot stand on its own if you haven’t seen the other movies.  A painful, drawn out ceremony has a constipated-looking bride looking nearly as pale and fragile as her milquetoast vampire fiancee.  Like many women of an older generation, I do not find Robert Pattinson attractive.  He has always appeared to me to have been hit in the face with a shovel.  The wedding is as dull as dishwater with Bella wearing a schizophrenic dress that is 19th century butt-cleavage couture from the back and Forever 21 super-sale rack from the front.  The whiny teenagers marry, with Jacob the Werewolf inserting some contrarian whining at the reception.

Off to the tragic honeymoon in Brazil.  The weird, no-questions-asked nature of Bella’s parental relationship is spotlighted when Bella refuses to tell her own father where she’ll be honeymooning with her new husband.  Daddy doesn’t know his little girl married a vampire to begin with, so it’s just another glaring hole in the plot to diminish our suspension of disbelief in the whole Twilight construct.  Once in Rio, there is an odd, 80’s music video scene of Brazilians dancing and making out in the street.

Shovel Face and Skeletora play chess. Riveting.

Finally, the scene that supposedly we’ve all been waiting for arrives.  Bella’s precious virginity, the object of grandiose, cultish suffering on the part of Edward and the entire Twilight audience, is finally about to make its final exit.  Bella freaks out, appears to be constipated, and brushes her teeth messily before meeting Edward in the ocean for a watery rendezvous.

After they do the deed, the hotel room is trashed and Bella’s got two bruises that could be hickeys.  Edward vows not to touch Bella again, even though they’re married.  Edward is unable to resist his wife and they do it again.

All seems normal until Bella realizes her period is late.  This is where we first encounter, face-on, the inherent colonial racism of Twilight.  Edward begs an Indian woman (assigned to clean the trashed honeymoon suite) to tell him what to expect when you’re an expecting vampire dad.  She knows because she’s Indian, right?  And Indians are ancient, right?  Honestly, I’m old enough to remember horrible commercials where laundry detergent was praised as an “Ancient Chinese Secret” by the Asian equivalent of Uncle Tom.  Those commercials have nothing on Twilight’s depictions of native peoples.  Also, another gaping plot hole presents itself.  Vampires who have existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years, have no answers as Bella calls the Cullen coven?  Never in the long existence of vamps has a vampire accidentally impregnated a human?  I find that hard to believe.

The most anorexic and pale Kristen Stewart ever, which is quite an accomplishment.

Anyway, Bella is with child and the predicament is HORRIFYING.   She goes home and pretends she’s in a spa in Switzerland to her credulous father and mother.  Meanwhile, she’s two weeks going on ten months pregnant.  The baby is eating her from the inside out.  Kristen Stewart, who already looks anorexic in her normal state, is CGI’d to look like an Auchwitz resident circa 1943.

There is no semblance of a plot in Breaking Dawn until the movie is past the hour mark, when Bella is actually pregnant.  I felt this was not a forgivable movie sin.  Jacob spends most of his time acting like a beta male to Edward’s non-alpha, running around with the motley collection of “Indian” werewolves.  Obviously in the minds of the Twilight casting department, Native peoples include anyone with dark skin and dark eyes, be they half-Asian, Hispanic, Brazilian, Israeli, etc.

MORE SPOILERS.  The movie becomes grotesque and cringeworthy, though slightly more exciting as it nears its finish.  The starvation CGI was good, but I’m not sure the same team worked on the werewolves.

Stay tuned for the next release of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance.

As in past Twilight movies, the werewolves were very video-gameish.  Their movements were herky-jerky and overall too exaggerated and fast, about on the same par as the thrown together CGI of the Nature Channel.

Bella’s baby, Tresseme Hair Product I mean Renesmee, is a ridiculous giant-eyed CGI creature who fixes her eerie, enlarged cornea puppy-dog gaze on Jacob.

As a lame consolation prize for losing Bella, Jacob is bonded to his ex-girlfriend’s infant in a creepy montage tailor made for a breed of lonely bachelor who spends all his time surfing certain password protected virus-infested pay-per-view channels of the internet.

Speaking of profoundly disturbing aspects of BD, the soundtrack is klunky and jarring, featuring the whiniest indie bands of the Repetitive Jackhammer School of Musical Styling.

The first and second Twilight movies had quite a few redeeming qualities, in my opinion.  Watching the last two films brings to mind a fruit that is rotten and maggoty  in the center–there is little of value here and I wish the story could have been resolved in a better way, with better writing, a better director, and a better special effects team.

Boredom + Tai Chi = The Last Airbender

Disclaimer: I love movies. Even bad ones. I love going to movies and eating the popcorn. Life is good.

Who knew a movie about the magical powers of air could be so dull and heavy? Kicking off in a speculative Arctic future where humanity has devolved itself into four tribal factions based on the elements, Last Airbender quickly morphs into the over-budgeted Star Trek episode should have never become. Two white kids (who are somehow Eskimos) trying to hunt a baby seal uncover a giant ice-ball where they find the messiah of their particular universe passed out next to his flying pet beaver, who also happens to be his personal airbus. Rodney kept on calling the flying beaver “the mop with a face”, but both of us felt it was a direct rip off of Falkor from the Neverending Story.

The tedium was mildly relieved by underachieving special effects, that is, until the epileptic-seizure inducing panning anomalies made us look around to ascertain whether or not we were sitting in the 3D version of the movie. We were in the 2D version, and yet every time the camera panned from angle to nauseous angle, it was like watching a 3 year old’s first attempt at a YouTube film production.

Which leads me to M. Night Shymalan. I want to like him. Sixth Sense was one of the greatest movies ever made. Unbreakable, not so much, but it wasn’t horrible. The Village was pretty good. What happened to this guy? Last Airbender is Disney pablum masquerading as sci-fi. I sense a great deal of marijuana was responsible in this movie and not in a good way.

The kids go on a quest to the opposite Arctic pole so Airbender kid –Aahn is his name and it makes me think immediately of the red bean paste in mooncakes–as they “liberate” various tribes by doing tai-chi. I’m serious, unfortunately. All element bending is preceded by entire tai-chi routines, the kind old people do every morning in mainland China to the sound of a tinny loudspeaker. There is a face-off Lord of the Rings style between the fire people who are villains and the water people. There is no character development except for the Fire Overlord who does little else besides insult people, bringing up old grievances and injuries in a whiny voice. The quasi-Japanese feng shui gave me a stomachache at every turn, but the yin and yang fishies swimming in the pond were almost cool.

Thank goddess this badly-directed, overwrought P.O.S. was edited down to 1 hour and 40 minutes, because more exposure would have likely caused some sort of brain damage.