Now stupid in 3D!
It seems that Paul W.S. Anderson views himself as a bit of an auteur as he directed, wrote, and produced the fourth entry to this lifeless franchise. External feedback matters, and we can clearly see that there was no one present to smack Anderson with a rolled up newspaper when his ideas got too stupid this time around.
The plot in these movies has always been paper thin, but this time around it is simply non-existent. We spend the first twenty minutes watching all of the Alice clones attack Wesker’s compound in Tokyo, and then we basically start the whole movie over, and then start over again about an hour in. This is basically three short ideas smashed together for no real reason. The acting is as dreadful as the writing here, and there is simply no point or purpose to any of the events.
I guess things like continuity don’t matter to this series—shocking. As the desert landscapes from the third installment are more or less abandoned to a more standard postapocalyptic paint job on all of the sets and features. Aside from the character of Claire making a reappearance, this may as well could have been a sequel to the second installment. The film seems to be gasping for air.
The terrible and forced monologue at the beginning of the film reappears, and I am starting to respect the franchise for quadrupling down on this terrible way to start a film. They may as well transition to “previously on” segments at this point. Another forced feature is the recurring Umbrella Corps. Logo plastered all over the place. I think they are trying to remind us that yes, this is indeed based on those games.
To transition to the games for a moment, at the time of this film’s release the fifth numbered installment of the game series had been out for a couple years. Resident Evil 5 is a fairly divisive entry (I actually enjoy it), but one thing that cannot be denied is the series complete transition to the action genre. The guise of survival horror is simply gone, and now it is straight action through and through. Oddly, the story of Resident Evil 5 could have been easily translated to a brain dead action slab, and it could have more or less fit into the film franchise’s canon. Yet, they decided to only take some of the character designs and leave the rest by the wayside. I’m not saying the videogame narratives are particularly good, but they are at least by definition in the Resident Evil universe.
An odd decision the filmmaker’s made was to include Albert Wesker as a major antagonist. Wesker is a nearly omnipresent threat in the videogames, whether through direct conflict, pulling strings, or making us deal with his idiot son (a la Resident Evil 6—I really should review the games). Wesker becomes Neo from the Matrix in Resident Evil 5, and can dodge bullets and jump around like a coked up circus monkey. The film decides to take this, the most absurd aspect of the game, and make it a center point. (They also take the brain control devices that make sure to reveal cleavage when applied. I think a photo may help…)
Wesker is recast from the previous film, and neither actor does a decent job. Why not hire someone who will at least attempt to mimic Wesker’s growly voice? The attempts at filling the character roles who exist are done about as well as kids on a playground “Oh Oh I’ll be Chris because I like him.” Don’t get me wrong, I think Wentworth Miller is a decent actor, but here he is just collecting a paycheck. If the characters clearly don’t give a shit, why should we?
Aside from the stupid plot, bad characters, and laughable acting, we are also treated to some of the worst action sequences ever. Cheap, forced CGI, bad choreography, and hacksaw editing are all present once again, but it seems worse this time. I would not be surprised to learn that all of these scenes were shot in one take. Can’t wait for the next refried turd. 1/10