It was a slow week for movies, so once again I find myself reviewing the latest Resident Evil Gong Show. For those of you who can’t keep track of their random vaguely threatening compound word naming scheme, it’s #5 in the series, which is based on a series of zombie video games. 5 picks up from where 4 left off, but if you haven’t seen it, don’t worry. They recap. A lot.
Alice must fight her way through various global outbreak scenarios in order to escape the Umbrella Corporation’s secret underwater testing facility.
The Resident Evil series is known for nonsensical plots that are somehow both overcomplicated and simplistic, stupid viruses that do things viruses don’t really do, and for prominently featuring a mindlessly evil corporation with a propensity for pasting little pictures of umbrellas all over everything. Number 5 is more of the same.
The Resident Evil movies are action movies that think they’re horror movies. Real horror requires the monsters to be hidden and things to be quiet so tension can build. Action throws the monsters in your face and screams at you to shoot them, which is the entire purpose of both the Resident Evil games and the movies, which have somehow made over 700 million dollars over the years, despite being terrible.
A giant monster! Aaaah!
This movie begins with an unintentionally hilarious slow motion battle in reverse that connects movie 4 with movie 5. Airplanes strafe the supposed safe haven ship belonging to the resistance. The explosions suck people backward through the air, pinwheeling their arms and legs like they’re auditioning for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This is supposed to be bad ass, I guess, but mostly just looks silly.
I’m hearing The Blue Danube right now.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) is captured by her former friend turned evil person Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and wakes up in a testing facility. She’s now a suburban housewife with a random husband in a suit (Oded Fehr) and a deaf kid named Becky (Aryana Engineer). There’s no reason for Becky to be deaf and she speaks and understands everyone in the movie like she’s not deaf, so I’m not sure why they threw that in there. It would have made more sense if she was blind, then at least she wouldn’t have to see how creepy her mom is.
Mommy, let go. You’re scarier than the monsters.
Anyway the suburban stillness is shattered after about 2.5 seconds by zombies, and soon Alice and Becky are on the run with their neighbor Rain, a hilariously non-bitchy version of Michelle Rodriguez.
OMG, a GUN!?
They’re trying to escape the facility, which features mock-ups of major global cities where Umbrella tests its bioweapons. They’re aided by another assassin named Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) and Albert Whesker (Shawn Roberts), a weird guy in a leather coat who always seems to be in control of things no matter what nonsensical direction they’re moving in.
Yes that’s right, I’m responsible for this too. AND your cable bill! Bwa ha ha ha!
Because Umbrella is the world’s most dunderheaded multinational, they’ve built an undersea base without any maintenance corridors or anything Alice and Team Girl can use, so they have to go through all the virus testing city mock ups to meet up with Team Boy, a group of operatives led by Leon Kennedy (Johann Urb) who came to rescue them. Team Boy also features Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), Alice’s one friend from the last movie who managed not to die, because Resident Evil makes most of its money off character recognition. You won’t see Chris Redfield this time, though. I think Wentworth Miller realized he was too talented for these movies.
Look everyone! It’s the floppy hair guy from the Resident Evil 4 game!
Team Boy and Team Girl are being chased by the members of Team Evil, which consists of Evil Jill, Alice’s fake husband, a bitchy version of Michelle Rodriguez, and a bunch of guys in masks. They turn on all the virus scenarios (like you knew they would) and suddenly there are dead Nazis in Moscow, giants with burlap sack faces and nails through their heads in New York, and banana peel faced zombies in Suburbia, which the Umbrella Corporation seems to think is the name of a major world city.
Okay everyone, don’t forget to slap umbrella symbols on everything as we go.
Without actually ever blinking. It’s really frikkin creepy.
Characterization is one of the major flaws in these movies. The characters are all blank and stupid, especially Alice, who takes the entire movie to figure out that the giant glowing red thing on Jill’s chest is what’s making her evil. The dialogue mostly consists of characters pointing out the obvious in a voice devoid of all inflection, passion, and proper speech flow, like Paul W.S. Anderson recorded a sixth grade remedial reading class reciting the script. There’s one particularly hilarious moment when Alice and Leon are arguing over whether or not they should go after a captured teammate that sounds like two robots having a disagreement.
ALICE: I. Think. I. Should. Go.
LEON: I. Think. You. Should. Not. Go.
So obviously, don’t go see it if you can avoid it. It’s just as bad as the rest (though the first one wasn’t too bad). You can’t even ask for your money back afterward, because after five films, if you didn’t know what you were signing up for, you deserve to be ripped off.