Saturday, July 29, 2017

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)








DIRECTOR:
 Paul W.S. Anderson

WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson

CAST:

Milla Jovovich
Ali Larter
Iain Glen
Shawn Roberts
Eoin Macken
Ruby Rose
Fraser James
William Levy
Rola
Ever Anderson
Mark Simpson
Joon-Gi Lee

PLOT:

After the events in Washington DC, Alice awakes to find that she is the last survivor of the battle against the undead. Believing that she was betrayed be Albert Wesker when he promised to fight alongside her. She decides to return to where this entire nightmare first began, The Hive in Raccoon City. She decides to stop the Umbrella Corporation once and for all before they gathered their forces of the undead and kill the last remaining human survivors.







Resident Evil: The Final Chapter comes after a long four-year wait since the release of Resident Evil: Retribution. The supposed end of the 3D Resident Evil trilogy and overall film series has finally arrived in cinemas. While going into The Final Chapter, I can't say that I was completely sold on the film in the build up to its big release. I was going into this final chapter with a lot of trepidation and fear. This was the first Resident Evil film where the promotional material for the film really wasn't a big selling point for me.

First came the terrible teaser trailer. While the trailer was action packed, gritty and had a lot of brown and earthy colour correction done to it, they decided to use Gun N' Roses - Paradise City for the entire trailer. So what we got was a Resident Evil trailer with a loud bombastic 80's hair band rock song over Alice beating the shit out of hordes of zombies. To most horror fans, I'm sure they were all creaming their jeans but for me, this put me off completely. I get the other films have had similar trailers, I think the song choice killed it for me.

Then came the terrible first few posters. We had these awful Hunger Game inspired posters which eventually make sense once you watch the film but like moments throughout this series where Paul W.S. Anderson lifts scenes from other better films, these posters were a little too familiar and felt like they were directly inspired by the much better Hunger Game films. It seems Paul W.S. Anderson takes his inspirations from a lot of other places and tries to incorporate them here and they aren't always successful.

Once I sat down and started to watch The Final Chapter, I found myself enjoying it. The movie starts off extremely quickly. We are thrown right into the action. Alice uses an army vehicle to bring down a Kipepeo. It's a great way to start the film and the rest of the movie is pretty much just as action packed. The movie never really slows down from the opening scene, right up until the credits begin to roll. I'm still shocked that this movie was only made for forty million as this is full of action, explosions and a lot of zombie and creature carnage. A lot less it seems than the previous two entries in the series.

The movies standout action scene that deserves a mention is a scene where Alice evades two huge armored vehicles on a motorcycle after a huge fight on top of one of them as thousands of zombies are in pursuit. This is a highway sequence that would have Michael Bay busting a nut. We also have a really well done moment where they catapult barrels of petrol onto the hordes of zombies below. I found a lot of the action scenes in the film were a lot of fun. Speaking of Michael Bay, I think Paul W.S. Anderson can make four large-scale action horror films to Bay's one overblown budgeted film. That takes some talent.

Another major element of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter that played well for me was how they brought the series full circle. I wrote a tweet where I stated that Paul W.S. Anderson at least deserves a round of applause for trying to bring the series full circle and for the most part, he succeeds. I got tweets back where people chewed me out and that's alright. Everyone has their own opinions. This is a series that at times is messy and inconsistent but I was surprised and somewhat satisfied. I went in and thought they would mess it up and I think he tried to do it justice. It's not perfect but it worked in the context of his vision for this series.

Visually, I think Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is decent. The entire look of the film felt like Paul W.S. Anderson watched Fury Road and went and hired the colour correction team. The creature effects looked great. I think the gore and blood are also neat. We have a few grisly moments that had me wanting to jump up and cheer. A zombie having its face impaled on a metal spike, Ruby Rose being sucked into a huge turbine and she is completely obliterated and someone having their stomach blown out by a grenade. Not the goriest film in the series but a vast improvement over Apocalypse.

The problems I have with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter falls back on the fact that the ending of the film completely negates the title. If I've learned anything from a genre movie calling itself 'The Final Chapter' it never is. I also would have loved to see Alice have a happy ending. After fifteen years of putting Alice through the hell, I would've loved to see her get that happy ending and even though it seems positive in the end, the last sentence seems to state otherwise. I get that this is a Resident Evil film but would it have killed them to have her live out the rest of her days with Claire and the rest of the survivors sipping vodka?

Lastly, the acting as always is solid from Milla Jovovich. If you can count on Milla Jovovich to do anything, it's giving us a badass female action hero while making us empathize with her. I want to see her survive every single time. I want to see her safely make it out of this horrible thing she has taken on. People underestimate Milla as an actress. I stand by that comment. She isn't Meryl Streep but if you look at every performance as Alice, she has a vulnerability even when she is the most powerful thing on screen. I think Milla is underappreciated in her time.







DEATH TOLL:
 108 (Estimated) + 1000's of Zombies Are Set Ablaze.

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A boy dies and turns into a zombie.
- A gondola full of people are eaten by a zombie.
- Someone is suffocated with a plastic bag.
- Someone is sucked into a huge turbine and obliterated.
- Death by pen, ice-pick, and decanter.
- Someone has their guts and stomach blown out by a grenade.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach.
- Every zombie on the planet dies.
- A zombie has its face impaled on a metal pole.
- A creature is decapitated.
- Lots of zombies are shot.
- A zombie is squashed.
- Human bait is shot by a machine gun.
- People are blown up.
- Someone is shot in the face.
- Someone's leg is completely crushed in a doorway.
- Two bioweapons are killed by being stabbed in the face.
- Someone falls to their death.
- Someone is bitten on the head.
- Someone has their fingers slice off.
- People are mauled by Cerberus.
- Cerberus are gunned down.
- A hand is cut off with a knife.
- Many people are eaten and bitten by zombies.
- Zombies are blown up.
- Soldiers are shot dead and in the head.
- A fish tank full of Alice clone heads.
- A flying creature is blown up and decapitated.
- A decomposed and obese zombie tries to attack Alice.







Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a fun ride. While the final isn't my favourite in the Resident Evil franchise, I think it was an enjoyable way to end the series. The movie has its fair share of problems but for the most part, I liked the conclusion. I think everyone involved tried their best to bring the story full circle. Not always successful and I still have questions about certain characters but as an enjoyable, action packed, zombie movie that has seen it's share of downs, this is a guilty pleasure sort of film.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)








DIRECTOR:
 Paul W.S. Anderson

WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson

CAST:

Milla Jovovich
Michelle Rodriguez
Sienna Guillory
Bingbing Li
Aryana Engineer
Boris Kodjoe
Johann Urb
Kevin Durand
Oded Fehr
Colin Salmon
Shawn Roberts
Robin Kasyanov

PLOT:

Alice awakes to find that she has a perfect life. She has a loving husband and a beautiful daughter. A massive contrast to the last decade of her being on the run from the Umbrella Corporation and battling the undead. When all hell breaks loose and the system shuts down, Alice soon realises that she is in one of Umbrella Corps. hologram testing facilities. A program that was created to show what damage the T-Virus can do in major cities. Alice also discovers this perfect life is fake and created by Umbrella which makes her seek revenge.







Resident Evil: Retribution begins straight away. Retribution starts off exactly where Afterlife had finished previously. We see that Jill Valentine has come for Alice and all the survivors on the Alaska safe haven. The film opens with an extremely gorgeous sequence that plays in reverse to reveal the damage that Jill Valentine and the Red Queen have done to what we all believed could have been salvation for Alice. A lot of casualties and large-scale devastation seems the only fitting way to begin the fifth film as the previous installment was the loudest and most bombastic yet.

As with every single Resident Evil film, we get the introduction by Alice. You know, the computer screens showing snippets of all the scenes from previous films? She is here to keep reminding us of past events as if the fans are silly and don't remember what happened a few years ago. Still, the introduction sequence has become one of the most noticeable aspects and a staple of the series even if they have become a tiresome way to give new viewers of the series a go at catching up on a decade of movies without ever having to commit to six hours of Resident Evil.

The next scene is my favourite moment in the entire film. Alice wakes up to the perfect life. She has a husband, Carlos from Extinction and a young daughter. She has a lovely home in suburbia and everything seems to have turned around for Alice. It's quite a sweet moment. We see what could've been had Alice not spent the better part of a decade battling the undead and Umbrella. It's one of those rare moments that give this series this sense of emotional vulnerability. We see a life that Alice would be perfect for but know this will be absolutely shattered. It's a scene that becomes extremely sad as you want to see Alice be happy.

The scene ends up feeling very reminiscent and inspired by Zack Snyder's brilliant and visually haunting Dawn Of The Dead opening scene. We see suburbia on the brink of chaos as Alice tries to flee with her young daughter while zombies are attacking all her neighbours. It doesn't feel like a coincidence as some of the shots feel almost identical. The set up of the camera on the car right down to Alice running out onto the front pathway to see the devastation that the virus has had on the neighbourhood. It's a goregous scene but it's not original by any means.

Retribution compared to Afterlife is a much more enjoyable entry. It feels like an improvement over the last film. It doesn't feel like its filler for the most part. It seems like Paul W.S. Anderson had a clearer vision and the 3D isn't the big gimmick of the story this time around. The movie does go from one big action set-piece to another but the story in between all the action feels more weighty. It feels like the stakes are once again high in Retribution. The addition of bringing all the characters back from previous films is also a nice little touch to the story.

The movie isn't without its problems, though. Retribution has several moments that deliver the cheese. There is a scene where Alice and a group of survivors are in the Russian hologram and we have hordes of undead zombie soldiers. It wouldn't be so silly if we didn't already seen these in the zombie horror comedy, Dead Snow. It feels like it's taken directly from that film. It's made even worse when the zombies are seen driving tanks, jeeps, and motorcycles. It feels even out of place for a Resident Evil film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and doesn't come across as scary but more laughable.

The acting in the film is solid from all involved. Having basically the entire cast from previous films was a stroke of genius. After the 3D gimmick was used in Afterlife to success, how could you possibly top that, add the character from previous entries to bring back fans you may have lost when you got rid of previous characters that they were attached to. It was great seeing Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr return. Even Colin Salmon was a neat addition. It was fun to see him not die immediately in a laser grid.

Lastly, the direction from Paul W.S. Anderson is great. You can hate him for the quality of his films but I can't in good consciousness say that the man is a terrible filmmaker. He may not make Oscar winning films but he has a good visual eye and can deliver some standout action as well as give us some solid camera work. That may come down to the help of his cinematographer, though. All in all, I think this was a better-looking film than Afterlife and Apocalypse. I think using Russia, Tokyo, Alaska, and New York as settings also gave this movie some more visual flare.







DEATH TOLL:
 125 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Two pilots getting coin bullets to the face.
- Civilians are shot to death.
- Civilians are killed in an explosion.
- Zombies are shot.
- Someone is slashed and killed by a Licker.
- A Licker is hit by a car.
- A zombie is knocked over a banister and is impaled on a piece of wood.
- People are bitten by zombies.
- A zombie is smacked in the face with a baseball bat.
- Two executioner zombies are shot in the face and blown up.
- Nine guards are executed by being shot in the back of the head.
- Lots of zombies are shot in the head.
- Zombies are hit in the face with chains.
- A guy is sliced up the middle by a zombie with a chainsaw.
- Someone drowns by being pulled under water by zombies.
- Lots of broken bones.
- Someone is killed by having their ribs broken and heart crushed.
- Someone is repeatedly shot in the body and face.
- People drown when a huge underwater facility floods itself.
- A Licker is blown up.
- A Licker is shot in the head.
- Zombies riding bikes are killed by being run off the road.
- A zombie is hit with a grapple arrow and pulled into a bench.
- Russian war zombies are mowed down by bullets.
- A Licker picks up a guy and bites down on his head.
- A Licker is crushed by falling debris.







Resident Evil: Retribution is an improvement over Apocalypse and Afterlife. The story in the latest film feels meatier than the previous entry and the emotional stakes are much higher in Retribution. The acting is solid for the most part, we have a lot of enjoyable set-pieces and the movie looks great. The movie has its issues, though. We have some extremely cheesy moments and scenes that feel directly lifted from better zombie films. Still, the movie is a fun action zombie film. Go to watch the returning characters take on Alice and you should have a good time.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)








DIRECTOR:
 Paul W.S. Anderson

WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson

CAST:

Milla Jovovich
Ali Larter
Wentworth Miller
Kim Coates
Shawn Roberts
Spencer Locke
Boris Kodjoe
Kacey Clarke
Fulvio Cecere
Sienna Guillory
Norman Yeung
Sergio Peris-Mencheta

PLOT:

Alice is still on a mission to bring down the Umbrella Corporation and Albert Wesker. After she discovers that Alaska isn't the safe haven she originally thought it would be, she flies to LA to take refuge with a small group of survivors who are living in a prison surrounded by the undead. When Alice soon learns that it isn't Alaska the prison that's a safe haven but a large carrier ship off the coast of LA, she and the remaining survivors must try and make it to safety alive.







When I decided to watch and review the entire Resident Evil series before Resident Evil: The Final Chapter made its way into theaters. I was talking to a friend of mine about how I felt about each Resident Evil film. Telling him which ones I enjoyed and which I didn't. I explained to him how I would've been happy if they had ended the series after Resident Evil: Extinction as I felt it was a nice way to go out on a high point after the disappointing sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

The reason I bring all this up is, before writing my Resident Evil: Afterlife review, I read a rather interesting and in-depth interview with Paul W.S. Anderson about the Resident Evil series. I know the guy cops a lot of hate as a film director but I'm not exactly one of his detractors. I liked Mortal Kombat, I loved Event Horizon, I even love the first Resident Evil. I also enjoyed his first film Shopping and the remake of Death Race. The guy makes loud, silly action movies as well as fun genre movies. He's clearly not Orson Welles and probably never will be. He even mentions that this is the stuff he enjoys making and he won't change.

In the interview, he also went onto talk about how he always planned on making two Resident Evil trilogies. The first three movies and a second trilogy which would all be shot in 3D. I am not a huge fan of 3D. I don't enjoy the format all that much. I'm a sucker for the 2D experience and will always choose that over 3D if possible. But this was a big revelation for me as I now got why I have always felt that the first three movies always made much more sense to me and I wasn't crash hot on Resident Evil: Afterlife or Resident Evil: Retribution when I first saw them in theaters.

Resident Evil: Afterlife is another situation where I felt like the Resident Evil series went sort of backward after the previous installment. After seeing all six films in the franchise, I can now safely say that Afterlife is my least favourite film in the series. Apocalypse was messy but I still felt that it was just a little more entertaining than Afterlife. I think Apocalypse is ahead due to Nemesis being the big villain of the film which gave a sense of nostalgia as was seeing Jill Valentine even if both characters were underused and the final annihilation of Raccoon City.

I think the biggest issue with this film is that the 3D element was used more as a gimmick than a way to propel the story forward. Yes, Afterlife has a story at its core, but for me, it just wasn't as entertaining as the first three films. Every bit of this movie's promotion was a way to state that this is the best 3D technology in the world. They even dropped James Cameron's name to try and get butts in seats and it worked. The 3D is well done but that's all it is, all style and not much substance.

This movie feels like it has the weakest story of the bunch. It feels like it's all filler. Alice goes from one set piece and situation to another but there doesn't feel like there is much emotion or heart in the film. This feels like the coldest entry of the series. As I said above, it has no real substance. Many would argue that the rest don't either but for me, this would part one of a two-part final like Mockingjay or Deathly Hallows if I could compare it to anything. The movie is just there to give way to the next two entries.

I found myself not caring for any of the supporting characters either. Every single one of them minus Chris and Claire Redfield. Alice is still the heart of this film but even she is just here to be a kickass heroine who is stuck trying to save all these terribly written supporting players who I didn't care for. The film again is all about the action and spectacle and less about anything else. I think this also plays a major part in the performances as well. A lot of the acting wasn't that great. I think Wentworth Miller is completely wasted as is Kim Coates. They could've taken his villain to darker places but he is there to chew the scenery. Standouts are Milla and Ali Larter.

The 3D in the film is great. This is an extremely polished looking film. It feels like all the budget went into the special effects. As I stated above, it's now clear that Paul W.S. Anderson wanted to do a trilogy in the third dimension and he succeeded. The movie is very nice to look at. We have a lot of slo-mo as well as some gorgeous looking cinematography throughout the film. I can't fault any of the visual effects or the camera work in this film. Paul W.S. Anderson deserves at least the credit of creating a well-made action, sci-fi film.

Lastly, when it comes to the action in the film, this is top-notch. The shower attack scene with Clair and The Executioner is standout. It's probably one of my favourite moments in the entire series. We also have a neat showdown between Alice and hordes of zombies where she loads a sawn-off shotgun with coins and the carnage is fantastic. The movie continues being a bloody and gory affair with lots of exploding heads. It's just a shame all the action removes all tension or any real decent jump scares from the film.







DEATH TOLL:
 186 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A zombie attacks a man on a public street in Tokyo.
- A lot of zombie head shots.
- A rooftop full of zombies is blown up.
- Hordes of zombies plummet over a building.
- A crowd of zombies is splattered by a plane propeller.
- A piece of glass is kicked into a zombie Doberman.
- Many Umbrella Corp. soldiers are shot and killed.
- A security general is shot in the head.
- Soldiers and Alice clones are blown up.
- An Alice clone is shot through the chest.
- Majini zombies are shot in the face and head.
- A Majini zombie is stabbed in the face.
- Someone is shot in the chest with lots of blood spray.
- Someone is sliced in half.
- Two soldiers are stabbed in the stomach.
- Two soldiers are sliced through the stomach with a sword.
- A soldier is stabbed in the head with a sword.
- Groups of soldiers are decapitated and killed with ninja stars.
- Blood pouring out of someone's mouth.
- A sniper is killed by a flying creature.
- Two zombie Dobermans heads split open.
- People are pulled into holes by Majini zombies.
- A woman is grabbed and bitten on the head by a Majini zombie.
- The executioner zombie is shot with coin bullets.
- The executioner zombie's head is blown up.
- Someone is stabbed in the head.
- A zombie Doberman is riddled with coins.
- Zombies are ripped apart by bullet coins.
- Someone's head is blown out and they're repeatedly shot.







Resident Evil: Afterlife is sadly the worst film in the series in my opinion. The film is gorgeous on a technical level, the score by Tomandandy is also fantastic. The film has a few solid action set-pieces but it's all style over substance and I know that in a Resident Evil film, that's alright but for me, I think Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Extinction had more heart and emotion than Afterlife and a lot more substance.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)








DIRECTOR:
 Russell Mulcahy

WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson

CAST:

Milla Jovovich
Oded Fehr
Ali Larter
Iain Glen
Ashanti
Christopher Egan
Spencer Locke
Mike Epps
Jason O'Mara
Linden Ashby
Matthew Marsden
Joe Hursley

PLOT:

Set years after The Hive and Raccoon City disasters, the Umbrella Corp. had tried to contain the T-Virus from spreading but were unsuccessful. The virus had escaped and consumed the planet. Earth is now a barren wasteland. Alice who is traveling alone across the Nevada desert comes back into contact with Carlos and his convoy. They learn that there is a safe haven in Alaska where the infection hasn't yet reached. They will try and make their way to safety before all their resources dry up or the undead kill them.







After the wasted potential and ultimately disappointing Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I was left pretty worried about the future of the Resident Evil series. By the time that Resident Evil: Extinction was announced, I wasn't very excited for it. My red hot anticipation for the series had turned lukewarm by that time. Apocalypse left me pretty cold with the whole idea or the series continuing. What was essentially a survival horror series had morphed into a toned down action film with zombies.

Once the trailer for Resident Evil: Extinction was released, I began getting a more excited for it. While the movie still looked heavy on the action, the trailer offered more in the way of zombie carnage. It looked like the team behind the latest film were trying to steer the series back into a direction that gave us more of the survival horror element. It looked a lot more intense than the previous sequel. It looked like the stakes were higher and as the tagline for the film had stated, all bets are off.

After watching Resident Evil: Extinction, my faith was somewhat restored in Resident Evil again. While not as good as the original, I felt it was a vast improvement over Apocalypse. Extinction isn't perfect, it has its problems but compared to the last film, I thought Russell Mulcahy and Paul W.S. Anderson were a better fit than Alexander Witt. Resident Evil: Extinction feels like a more well-rounded film. I think the three years off gave Paul W.S. Anderson time to craft a better story.

With Resident Evil: Extinction, I think they had learned from the mistakes they made on Apocalypse and tried to rectify them. Extinction is a much more violent film. I think after the success of the Dawn Of The Dead remake, they went for it with the blood. This is a much bloodier film than Apocalypse. A lot of the gore and violence that is thrown at the audience is top notch. We get a lot of zombie attacks, some seriously mean-spirited moments and most of the major players meet their end.

Visually, I think Resident Evil: Extinction is an extremely slick and polished looking film. Russell Mulcahy is a much better filmmaker than Alexander Witt in my personal opinion. Extinction is probably my favourite film on a visual level. While the film is set mainly in the desert, the film looks fantastic. The cinematography and camera work in the third film is a vast improvement over Apocalypse. Long gone are the blurry zombie shots and erratic camera work. This feels expertly handled.

The action set-pieces in Resident Evil: Extinction are a lot more intense this time around. We have an infected crows attack scene that feels like a large-scale homage to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. The Las Vegas strip zombie attack scene is bloody and brutal, the suicide oil truck explosion is devastating and an early scene involves Alice being almost gang-raped by a band of roaming thugs but she turns it around on her captors and uses zombie Dobermans to her advantage. I thought the action sequences were excellent.

The biggest issues that I have with Resident Evil: Extinction is the fact that we start to get more glimpses into Alice's powers which become more clear as the series goes on but in the film, this seems to be the movie where they are sort of in between and it feels uneven. It's clear from Apocalypse that Alice is able to make people bleed from every orifice but here she can create force fields to prevent others from being burnt alive or levitate entire fields of rocks and motorcycles, yet they don't seem to be used ever again. A little inconsistent with what Alice is capable of as this badass action heroine.

Another element that I was disappointed with was the fact that the villain is the Tyrant. He is another major boss from the game series. He's not exactly on Nemesis level of being hard to defeat but he's a scary boss when you come up against him in the games. Here he is given all of three minutes of screentime before he is killed off. I think the Tyrant deserved a much bigger and better role, just as I think Nemesis deserved the same. Here they are merely used for the fans of the games but are left with nothing to do. They are more laughable than threatening.

Lastly, the acting is better than the first film. I think as the stakes are higher in Extinction and major characters from the series are killed off, the film has a lot more heartache and pain. This in turns gives Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, and Ali Larter the chance to branch out and deliver more emotional performances. I think even Mike Epps was much better in this film as well. I hated him in Apocalypse but there is a scene with him and Ashanti which see's him give his most emotional performance I think I've seen and he owns it.







DEATH TOLL:
 200 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- An Alice clone is shot in the stomach.
- Lots of dead Alice clones are shown dead in a ditch.
- Bloody human bones shown all over the floor of a pit.
- An infected crow is shown eating a zombie's eyeball.
- Lots of exploding zombie headshots.
- Lots of zombies are mowed down by guns.
- Zombies throats are sliced with large blades.
- Lots of infected crows are burnt to death.
- The Tyrant is cut into cubes by a laser grid.
- An oil truck explosion wipes out a horde of zombies.
- A zombie Doberman's neck is snapped.
- A zombie Doberman lands on a metal pole.
- Four people are mauled by zombie Dobermans.
- A zombie has an arrow shot into its head.
- A dead body is shown hanging in a closet, covered in flies.
- Two zombies eat a scientist in a lab.
- An Alice clone has her neck ripped out.
- Zombie crows peck people to death.
- A zombie is blown away by a machine gun.
- Zombies are run over and splattered by a truck.
- The Tyrant smashes his claw hand into someone's eyes and face.
- A zombies stomach is split open.
- A kick to the nose smashing the bone into someone's brain.
- A zombie Doberman is electrocuted.
- Someone is shown being eaten on a deserted highway.
- A zombie has its skull ripped open by a large spinning spike.
- Blades are slammed into zombie's necks and heads.
- Zombies split up the middle with blades.
- A blade to a zombie's face.
- Bloody zombie bites.
- Someone falls to their death and splats on a metal structure.







Resident Evil: Extinction is almost on par with the original for me. The movie is one enjoyable ride. Extinction returned the series back to more survival horror roots, the gore and violence are handed out in bucketfuls, the movie is more emotional, the acting is at a series best and the movie is gorgeous to look at thanks to the hiring of Highlander director Russell Mulcahy. The biggest issues feel like inconsistent story beats and terrible use of the films villain the Tyrant. Still a return to form for the Resident Evil film adaptations.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)








DIRECTOR:
 Alexander Witt

WRITER:
 Paul W.S. Anderson

CAST:


Milla Jovovich
Sienna Guillory
Oded Fehr
Jared Harris
Thomas Kretschmann
Mike Epps
Sophie Vavasseur
Sandrine Holt
Matthew G. Taylor
Zack Ward
Iain Glen
Razaaq Adoti

PLOT:

After the tragic events that took place in The Hive. Alice awakens to find that the T-Virus has escaped the underground facility and been unleashed upon Raccoon City. The military is sent in to try and contain the zombie epidemic. The Umbrella Corp. also has their own sinister plans to stop the virus spreading by wiping Raccoon City off the map. A group of survivors must band together and escape from Raccoon City before it's too late. Little do they realise that they've also activated the Nemesis program which is sent into eliminate Alice.







When the first Resident Evil ends with the character Matt being dragged away by the Umbrella Corp. and taken into the Nemesis Program. I was so hyped to see what they would do with the character. Nemesis is one of those big baddies that feels almost undefeatable in the game. It was an excellent way to keep fans like myself excited about the future of the film series and I was looking forward to seeing what they would do with the next movie in the franchise.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is where the film series moves away from the more horror elements of the games and heads into a more action orientated setting. Apocalypse is really the catalyst for the series turning away from horror into a vastly more action sort of feel. A sequel was always going to be bigger and more epic as the virus is no longer contained. This is clear from the final scene in the first film. Moving out of The Hive and onto the streets of Raccoon City really does lessen all the tension.

Rewatching Resident Evil: Apocalypse for the first time in years and I can't say my experience is a positive one. While not the worst film in the Resident Evil franchise, this is a far cry from the first film. The sequel has a lot of stuff to enjoy about it but you can see where the sequel falls short. Apocalypse has a lot of problems and this falls back on both the choice of replacement director Alexander Witt and Paul W.S. Anderson's writing. I'm sure Paul W.S. Anderson had a lot of input while on set but this is one messy movie.

What Apocalypse gets right is that after the modest success of the first Resident Evil film, a lot of the movie is vastly improved on a visual effects level. Where Paul W.S. Anderson may have been restricted by budget constraints on the first film. This can clearly be seen in the creature effects, Apocalypse is vastly superior. The Lickers look much better, Nemesis looks awesome, the zombie Doberman's are also improved and we have a lot more special effects being used to enhance some of the bigger set-pieces. The city being wiped out by a nuclear missile is a standout moment.

Another element of the film that is still solid is Milla Jovovich as Alice. Being that this franchise revolves around her character, she is still the heart of the series. I love seeing Alice take on Nemesis. A big nostalgic element for me is seeing Nemesis in his full get up, blasting away at S.T.A.R.S members never got old. Both elements, though, feel like a double-edge-sword in the sequel. While they are a lot of fun and a high-point of the second entry, they also bring into question a few negatives about the sequel.

With Alice being front and center, this limits the character time of Jill Valentine. While we get a few glimpses of Jill Valentine being handy with a gun, her character feels like she is given less screen time and moments to really shine. Every moment she has, see's Alice come in and save her. Jill Valentine is one of the major players from the games and sadly, Sienna Guillory is left to stand on the sidelines so Milla Jovovich can be the star. I'd have loved to see Jill Valentine be a major player as her character is an integral part of the video games.

Having one of the scariest and most unstoppable villains like Nemesis in the movie, I wanted to see him as the major threat. While he has a few scenes within the film where he poses a threat to Alice, he really is underused. He gets limited screen time and basically turns good towards the end of the film. This is not what I wanted to see as a fan of the game. A wasted opportunity. Where the Silent Hill film adaptation turned Pyramid Head into a completely scary and menacing figure who tore the flesh off people, Nemesis was sadly almost comic by comparison.

Alexander Witt who takes over the directing duties from Paul W.S. Anderson is a capable action director and can clearly do big-budget action movies. Early on in the film, I was digging some of the cinematography and camera shots but this quickly descends into some extremely terrible choices by him. There is polished camera work in the bigger set-pieces but his choice to go and use that awful blurry and disjointed 'Zombie POV' during the attacks was horrible. The editing was so frantic as well. It made a lot of the fight scenes feel unfocused and choppy.

Lastly, the gore, scares, and tension are basically non-existent in the sequel. We have a few moments that hint at what could've been but I feel maybe the producers and studio wanted to see the movie make big bucks so they toned down the gore. Compared to the first film, you can feel that this movie is cut in a way that makes the violence and gore, less impactful. The movie also suffers from being scare-free. This movie doesn't have an ounce of tension or suspense. With a major villain like Nemesis in the movie, the sequel should've been terrifying.







DEATH TOLL:
 120 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A Licker attacks a scientist who is entering The Hive.
- Two guards are killed in a car accident.
- News footage of zombie attacks.
- Zombies are shot in the head in a police station.
- A woman is bitten by a zombie and jumps off a building.
- Hordes of zombies are shot.
- A lot of people are bitten by zombies.
- Lots of zombies necks are broken in a graveyard.
- A zombie is hit by a car.
- Nemesis is crushed by a fiery helicopter crash.
- A Licker is blown up by a motorcycle.
- Someone is eaten by a Licker.
- A priest is feeding his zombie sister human remains.
- A Licker is shot in the head with a shotgun.
- Twelve S.T.A.R.S members are mowed down by Nemesis.
- An entire city is wiped out by a nuclear bomb.
- Many people are eaten by zombies.
- Nemesis is impaled on a piece of metal.
- Lots of soldiers are shot.
- Zombie Dobermans are blown up.
- A zombie cook has it's neck broken.
- A soldier has his neck torn out by zombie Dobermans.
- Someone is electrocuted.
- Someone is thrown out of a helicopter and breaks their ankles.
- Someone is impaled by flying shrapnel.
- A weather lady is eaten by zombie school children.
- Someone breaks their finger back into place.
- Nemesis has his ankles shot out.
- Someone is seen bleeding out of their eyes and nose.







Resident Evil: Apocalypse has its moments. The film is bigger, the action set-pieces are grand and we have a lot more creature feature effects. Milla Jovovich is still the standout and holds the story together. Sadly, with all those elements, they aren't enough to drag this movie into the fresh for me. Some terrible directing choice by Alexander Witt, not enough Jill Valentine or Nemesis and Mike Epps playing the worst character in the entire series makes this sequel feel very inferior to the original.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Resident Evil (2002)








DIRECTOR:
 Paul W.S. Anderson

WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson

CAST:

Milla Jovovich
Michelle Rodriguez
Eric Mabius
James Purefoy
Colin Salmon
Martin Crewes
Pasquale Aleardi
Heike Makatsch
Jaymes Butler
Jason Isaacs

PLOT:

When a virus is purposely released into a secret underground facility called The Hive. The computer program known as 'The Red Queen' that controls The Hive has to shut down the facility to prevent the virus from escaping into Raccoon City. A military unit is sent in to shut down the computer but little do the unit realise that all of the staff and animals of The Hive have turned into blood-thirsty zombies.
 







Growing up, I sadly never owned a Playstation. I was more of a Nintendo kid. So my first taste of the Resident Evil games was when I acquired a Gamecube. This just so happened to be a month before the first film was released in Australian theaters. I was lucky enough to play the first game and fell in love with this series. Where some people simply consider Resident Evil a zombie survival horror game. I saw a much darker story about a worldwide corporation who was testing viral weaponry on their employers. A company trying to cover up some extremely dark secrets. Something which I imagine happens in the real world.

Playing Resident Evil, RE: 0 2, 3, and 4. The entire Resident Evil series held a special place in my heart. I still have so many memories of being in high school and inviting my friends around to play the games with the lights on because we were all pretty terrified. This is a series that still holds a lot of nostalgia for me. So when I heard that a film based on the game series was about to be released just after playing the game, I was excited to see what could be done with the premise and that it would hopefully live up to the games.

Being fifteen at the time of the film's release. I went into the movie very hyped as I was with a group of my close friends who were also fans of the games. At the time of watching the film, I came out of my screening and loved it. I got lots of zombies, I got zombie Dobermans, I got a Licker as the final monster and I got the Umbrella Corp. being the core evil entity who for the most part, delivered when it came to being a sinister and secretive organization who are trying to cover up the outbreak.

Over the next fifteen years, I have revisited the original Resident Evil several times and still find that I thoroughly enjoy the film adaptation. Watching the entire series again in preparation for The Final Chapter last week, I still find the original Resident Evil is my favourite film in the series. While the film doesn't come close to any of the games, I still think the film is a lot of fun. It's an action-packed, sci-fi, zombie film that has some solid visuals and tries to incorporate enough elements from the games to make a fan at least enjoy it on a guilty pleasure level.

What Resident Evil gets right, is that out of all six films, the original feels like it's closest in tone with the games. Yes, the original film looks very clinical. It even has a futuristic sci-fi, action feel to it all but when compared to the rest of the series, I think this is the most grounded and confined. This feels just as much a survival horror and zombie film as it does a sci-fi action film. I think we get equal doses of horror and action. I think as this series goes on, we sadly see the action take the front and center and the horror gets pushed to the back.

While Resident Evil isn't exactly scary, I still found that the film had an eeriness and sense of dread to it. I think the film also has a few solid jump scares that are well structured. I think Paul W.S. Anderson was trying to make a solidly scary film with the first film. I'm sure the guy had plans to expand the universe into what we see today from the very beginning but with the first film, I feel like he tried to make a real survival horror movie. He could've gone all the way and made a really dark, scary, and gory film but I'm hoping when they decide to reboot this series, we get a movie that is much more in line with the game.

The biggest issues that I have with Resident Evil all fall back on the fact that I wish the movie was more dark and scary like the game. Being a fan of the game, it's hard not to wish for a film that was closer to the experience that I had while playing the game. I think I would've loved a lot more time in the deserted mansion. Some of the visual effects in the first film are also a little cringeworthy but I think on a budget of 30+ million dollars, the film still looked pretty good for the time. They sadly just don't hold up when compared today's standards and improvements in visual effects.

The acting in the film is solid for the most part. This is Milla Jovovich front and center and kicking all kinds of ass. I think she is still a pretty underrated actress. I think doing a lot of action films like the Resident Evil series has people disregarding just how talented an actress she is. She is still a solid dramatic actress and I believe her whenever she shows a vulnerable side. Michelle Rodriguez is Michelle Rodriguez and you know what, I'm still loving the whole tough chick schtick that she has built her career on. I think it suits her perfectly.

The supporting cast or better known as all the men who play supporting characters to two bad ass chicks are also good. Eric Mabius who eventually becomes Nemesis in the sequel is good in this film. I don't see much of him anymore. James Purefoy as the villain of the film is great. You love to hate him when it's revealed. He's made a career of playing the bad guy and it works for him. Colin Salmon as the military unit commander has the best death scene in the entire series and Martin Crewes who plays the computer expert is also decent in his small role.

Lastly, I think it needs to be noted that I like that Paul W.S. Anderson tried to inject a lot of Alice In Wonderland influences into the story. The Red Queen, the lead is named Alice, each character being based on a character from the original story. I really enjoyed this little twist on the story. Also, I must mention the score by Marilyn Manson and Marco Beltrami. I loved the score in this film. It's industrial yet has this extremely creepy electronica vibe to it. I'd love to see Manson compose more film scores as the man is extremely talented.







DEATH TOLL:
 48 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A lift full of people plummets to their death.
- A woman is decapitated by a lift.
- An office full of people is gassed to death.
- Dead bodies are shown laying all over the floor.
- Three people drown in flooded locked room.
- Fingers and someone's head is sliced off with a laser.
- Someone is cut in half by a laser.
- Someone is sliced into cubes by a laser.
- Lots of zombie bites.
- A zombie's knees are shot out.
- Zombies necks are snapped.
- Zombies are shot.
- Zombies are shown half their face missing and rotting skin.
- A licker is electrocuted and burns alive.
- Someone gets an ax to the head.
- A licker attacks and bites someone.
- Zombies are shot in the head.
- A soldier is eaten by a lift full of zombies.
- A zombie has its head smashed in with a desk ornament.
- Zombie infected Dobermans attack people and are shot.
- A licker rips someone from out of a train compartment.







Resident Evil isn't a perfect film. Going into this movie as a fan of the games, it's hard not to find problems when trying to compare the film adaptation of the games. Over the last fifteen years and continuous rewatches of the film, I have grown to appreciate this film for what it is and that's a stylized sci-fi zombie flick. The movie is polished, has some fun action set-pieces and some solid performances from the actors. While it lacks the intensity, scares, and gore of the games and has a few dated visual effects, it's still the best film in the series until someone has the balls to reboot the series and give us a true Resident Evil movie.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Little Evil (2017)








DIRECTOR: Eli Craig

WRITER: Eli Craig

CAST:

Evangeline Lilly
Adam Scott
Owen Atlas
Bridget Everett
Sally Field
Clancy Brown
Donald Faison
Chris D'Elia
Marcus Terrell Smith

PLOT:

Gary has recently married the woman of his dreams, Samantha. Samantha comes with some baggage and has a young son named Lucas. Lucas is quiet and reserved. Now that she is married to Gary, she is hoping that Gary and Lucas will get along as he's now his stepfather. When strange things begin happening around Lucas, Gary believes that his new stepson may, in fact, be the antichrist.







From the director of the critically acclaimed and much-beloved comedy horror Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, comes his second film Little Evil. When the poster art was originally released by Netflix, I immediately got the impression we were looking at a parody of the classic horror film The Omen. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work that much out. I've always been a fan of the original Omen, but unlike a lot of other horror fans, I wasn't a huge fan of his first film. I find comedy horror to be a dime a dozen, and I just didn't get it. Maybe, in time it'll grow on me.

I won't beat around the bush. Because I didn't find Tucker and Dale vs. Evil the laugh riot that everybody else had, I was a tad bit worried about Little Evil. I'd assumed the comedy would be in the same sort of style as his first feature film. I was hoping that if I didn't enjoy it, I'd at least like the gore because I thought Tucker and Dale at least delivered on that front. I hate having expectations about a film before seeing it, but it is a fact of watching a movie. Anyone who says they go into a film with an open mind one-hundred percent of the time is a liar.

After finishing Little Evil, I was left somewhat disappointed with the final film. I have brought it up countless times that I have a hard time with the comedy horror genre. It's comedy in general. It's probably the hardest genre to impress me. These sort of films need to ride that fine line and get the balance right, or otherwise, they end up feeling uneven, or they feel more like one than the other. It's a balancing act, and I think this sadly saw the comedy outweigh the horror. It wasn't by a little bit; this is jokes every minute and more than not, they didn't land for me.

What I think Little Evil gets right is that this has a lot of heart. Going into a film that is a send-up of The Omen. You think this will lack heart like the film it parodies. The Omen was dark. It saw a lot of dark themes explored. The ending is also a complete bummer. So I went in expecting this to take the piss, be mean-spirited, and that was the end of that. What I wasn't prepared for was the emotion and sentiment involved. I found myself invested in the family dynamic. I didn't want to see this kid die like I did with Damien Thorn. This kid just needed that male figure to get through to him. He needed that evil heart thawed out. For the most part, this is pretty cute.

The acting was solid for the most part. I have always enjoyed Evangeline Lilly since first seeing her in Lost. I think she holds her own against Adam Scott. I found myself connecting more to her character Samantha. I thought she had a lot of the best jokes between her and Adam Scott. She plays coy and nonchalant as her tyke is clearly the one behind these gruesome murders, accidents, and acts of God. I also enjoyed Owen Atlas as Lucas. For his first feature film, he does a solid job of playing the creepy, evil kid. I hope he continues to work as I'd like to see what he does next.

The supporting cast is also great here. Bridget Everett steals the show as the butch lesbian work mate of Adam Scott. She really does get all of the best one-liners here, and if I was laughing out loud at all, it was her performance. Sally Field comes in for a minute in a surprising guest turn as a child protection agent named Miss Shaylock. A nice little nod to Mrs. Baylock from the original Omen. I thought the highlight of the film in terms of comedy comes from the therapy scene where a bunch of stepfathers talk about their evil children. A funny take on the AA meeting idea.

Visually, I found the film to be very reminiscent of Edgar Wright's work. A lot of the camera work, editing, and transitions into new scenes felt almost identical. I don't know if Eli Craig is inspired by Edgar Wright, but it had him written all over the way this thing was shot. It has the quick action montages, the fast-paced editing into new scenes. I was honesting expecting to see a cameo scene from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost walking out of a pub or something. That's how similar the film felt on a visual level. I hope he wrote Edgar Wright a cheque.

Lastly, we come to the gore and violence. I think the original The Omen is far more bloody and violent than this movie. There are scenes where people die, but a lot of them are quickly cut or all aftermath shots. I think had this ramped up the gore and bloodshed; we may have seen this lend itself a little more to the horror and balance out the comedy. I do sort of admire that they at least tried to provide us with a few death scenes that gave a nod to the original Omen. Still, sue me for wanting a ton more of the red stuff.







DEATH TOLL: 4

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A woman is pulled off of a spiked fence.
- A clown at a party catches on fire.
- A man is sucked up into a tornado.
- A man repeatedly whips his back with a Cat o' Nine Tails.
- Earthworms pour out of a man's nose.
- A priest is punched in the face and falls into the pits of hell.
- It begins raining blood.
- A man falls back and hits his head on the side of a bathtub.
- A dwarf is impaled on a piece of wood.








While Little Evil is endearing more than it is evil, it still fell short for me. A hilarious supporting turn from Bridget Everett, some great chemistry between the three lead actors, and a great therapy session scene aren't enough to save this comedy horror film. Light on the horror, minimal on the laughs. I think I'd prefer to just stick on the original Omen than watch Little Evil again. I'm sure this will find it's audience but it wasn't for me. Keep an eye out for a supporting turn from the great Sally Field. Worth streaming on Netflix for that alone.
 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Dark Tower (2017)








DIRECTOR: Nikolaj Arcel

WRITERS:

Akiva Goldsman
Jeff Pinkner
Nikolaj Arcel
Anders Thomas Jensen

CAST:

Idris Elba
Matthew McConaughey
Tom Taylor
Jackie Earle Haley
Dennis Haysbert
Claudia Kim
Fran Kranz
Abbey Lee
Katheryn Winnick
Nicholas Pauling
Jose Zuniga

PLOT:

The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, who is also known as the evil and powerful Man in Black. Roland is determined to prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower which holds all the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, Roland must defend the tower from the Man in Black in a battle of Good vs Evil.







It's common knowledge and a thing of legend about the troubled production history of The Dark Tower movie. Getting this onto the big screen has been filled with many ups and downs. In 2009, J.J. Abrams had the rights and bailed on it for fear of messing it up. The rights were nabbed by Ron Howard back in 2010. After budgetary concerns, budget cuts, and years of development hell. It looks dead in the water. We finally got a movie adaptation after poor test screenings and reshoots. It looked set to fail.

My partner is a massive fan of The Dark Tower universe. I waited to watch the trailer with him when it initially debuted online. I wanted to get an idea of what a fan of the books thought of the movie trailer to one of his most beloved and cherished novellas. After he had watched the trailer, the footage was met with disdain. Frankly, he wasn't impressed and upset with the footage. Apparently, it looked and felt nothing like the book series. I thought nothing of it as I didn't have that same love for the series. I've only read several of Stephen King's more horror-themed novels.

When I went into The Dark Tower, I had no preconceived notions about what I was to expect from the movie. I was well aware of the backlash from critics and the die-hard fans of the novels, but not being one of them, myself. I went in with an open mind as I had no previous attachment to the series or this sprawling universe. I just hoped for a fun, action-packed horror movie that would at least do a decent job of keeping me entertained for an hour and a half.

After watching The Dark Tower, I was left with so many questions. Not because I'm not a fan of the books, but because the story felt convoluted. The eight novels span 4,250 pages. I have to assume there is a lot of backstory for each of the characters that play an integral part in this first chapter. My partner had said that after watching the movie, it's like they've taken elements from each of the eight books and thrown it into a blender. You can tell you have a monumental mess on your hands when a story feels like it says a lot but somehow still feels like nothing at all.

The movie runs at a short ninety-minutes. I assume had they given us another thirty or forty minutes of running time to flesh out the characters and their backstories. We may have had a story that made more sense to an audience who are unfamiliar with the novels. What transpires in this lean ninety-minutes is a maniacal villain in black who has the power to command the death of people by just saying the words, a boy who can see monsters, and a gunslinger who is handy with guns and out for revenge. There is no real history of the Dark Tower. We get no exposition at all.

Tonally, The Dark Tower makes no sense either. The film is part science-fiction meets western. We have elements of horror and comedy. There is a ton of action meets big-budget spectacle. The most uneven aspect is the comedy. The jokes that Roland has with the kid over our world and the weird things he doesn't understand feels like that T2: Judgement Day dynamic, only there is no chemistry and it's just not very funny. It feels bizarre to watch. I have to wonder if studio interference played a big part in the debacle that is the movie adaptation of The Dark Tower.

The things that I enjoyed were all the references to other Stephen King stories. The Pennywise circus being located in the forest. Cujo being led along by a family. The kid pushing the Christine Plymouth Fury around in the bedroom. We see a photograph of the Overlook Hotel. These little nods felt like a game during the movie. I was looking out for sneaky hints in every scene. I thought this was a nice touch in world-building that we sadly won't see if the box-office and critic reviews have anything to do with it.

Visually, I think the movie looked well made. Based on the poster, I thought we would get an Inception type of world. This was more reeled back in scale as the budget was slightly minimal when you think of how much gets spent on comic-book movies these days. I thought that for a basic sci-fi action movie. The action and visual effects were pretty good. Not groundbreaking by any means but enough to give us something to enjoy in this otherwise extremely messy production.

Lastly, we come to the acting. I've heard many people complain about the entire cast here. Idris Elba is a solid actor. Sadly, with the screenplay that he has to work with, it feels beneath his talent. Matthew McConaughey is in the same boat. He's received the most maligned reviews but I believe that is due to him being underdeveloped as is his powers. He comes across like he's chewing the scenery and I actually began to enjoy the silliness on display. I thought the biggest upset here was Tom Taylor as the kid. I have no idea who this actor is, but he was miscast. I don't know the character either, but his performance was wooden. That may be down to the fact the kid is written as angsty and devoid of personality. I just didn't enjoy his performance at all.







DEATH TOLL: 46 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A little girl is strapped to a seat and has her mind warped.
- A man is burned alive by the Man in Black.
- Two kids have a punch-up in the school cafeteria.
- A man stops breathing and dies when commanded to by the Man in Black.
- A woman is turned to ash.
- A woman is made to answer a question and bleeds from the nose and dies.
- People are killed by demons with swords.
- A monster pierces a man through the shoulder.
- Groups of demons are shot dead.
- A drops dead at the command of the Man in Black.
- Two people are made to fight to the death in a deli.
- A man is stabbed in the chest with a sword.
- A man is pierced with a shard of glass through the hand.
- A woman's face is burnt.
- Many henchmen are shot dead.
- A man is shot in the heart and head.
- A man is killed by having the Man in Black places his hands over his eyes.







As someone who isn't an avid reader of the sprawling 4,250 page, eight novel saga of The Dark Tower series. I can't speak for the comparisons of the movie to the novels. I can only go off my opinions of a guy who has just witnessed the film. At a very short hour and a half, this story is a disaster. With so much world-building to cram into this origin story, we are thrown into the middle of a story that feels incomplete. With little to no backstory, an uneven tone, subpar performances, and a short running time. We have the result of what feels like a rush-job. Sadly, the Stephen King connections and some well-done visuals can't save this bombastic mess.

Monday, July 17, 2017

68 Kill (2017)








DIRECTOR: Trent Haaga

WRITER: Trent Haaga

CAST:

Matthew Gray Gubler
AnnaLynne McCord
Alisha Boe
Sheila Vand
Sam Eidson
Eric Podnar
Lucy Faust
Hallie Grace Bradley
James Moses Black

PLOT:

When a young couple steals $68.000 from a sleazy john, things don't go as planned. 








When I went into 68 Kill, I thought I was about to witness a horror movie. I had also purposely kept away from watching the trailer or any clips for the film. Knowing only the cast for the film and seeing the poster. I had initially thought this was directed by Richard Bates Jr. as he's worked with both the two leading actors AnnaLynne McCord and Matthew Gray Gubler on his three films. I was shocked to learn that he actually had nothing to do with this movie and this was just a reteam of these two actors.

I quickly discovered that 68 Kill plays like a violent, erratic, crime thriller with lots of pitch-black comedy thrown in for good measure. Some of the moments that happen within the movie could very well lend this premise to the horror genre, but I thought it was funnier than anything else. The closest movie that I could compare this with is Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation in both tone and visual style. The movie is like a blood-soaked road-trip into hell.

When it comes to the story, I don't think 68 Kill will break any new ground. The plot is pretty simplistic. Chip and Liza, a couple decides to rob the sugar daddy who Liza has been sleeping with for money. It turns out that she is much crazier than Chip initially believed when she brutally murders the sugar daddy. It just so happens that a young woman working for the Sugar Daddy witnesses the entire thing. Chip not wanting to hurt the young woman kidnaps her and takes off with the money. Liza, crazier than ever pursuits them both.

This is incredibly fast-paced, and it never once stops moving. It's the winning aspect of the film. From the very first moments that the story begins, it has this energy that feels unstoppable. The entire thing looks and feels frenetic. I think AnnaLynne McCord as Liza is what helps this along. She's playing a white-trash psychopath who loves to murder people and wants her money. She is always looking to mess stuff up. You can bet when she's around, things will blow up, and shit will hit the fan. She is a brilliant companion to Matthew Gray Gubler's Chip who plays this sappy, downtrodden, loser.

The violence is also standout here. If you want bloodshed and murder, you'll get it by the bucketloads. 68 Kill is one violent little crime film. People are stabbed, shot, have their throats slashed, women are brutally attacked with machetes, and people's arms are blown off with a shotgun. While some CGI is used to enhance the violence, which I'm not a huge fan of, this is mostly practical, and for the most part, it looks great on screen. Just don't go in expecting this to be scary as this is funny, not suspenseful.

The issues that I have with 68 Kill all fall back on the movie being a little repetitive. While I'm a big fan of all the bloodshed, carnage, and gore. It sort plays itself out. It becomes so over the top that it borders on being silly by the end of the movie. I also wasn't a fan of the subplot of the serial killer brother who likes to dissect and murder women. It begs the question of why the cops weren't ever investigating it. All seemed very convenient. It was another moment in this bat-shit crazy film that you shouldn't really ask questions about as you'll never get a straight answer.

Another issue that I had with the film is that we get a character into the mix who we believe to be a new love interest. She is kinder than Liza. They build her up to be a possible love interest with a romantic subplot for Chip. They then kill her off in such horrific fashion. It was a moment that I found incredibly cruel. I think because every single character minus Chip was bonkers and evil, her character felt like this happy ending and when she is killed, its disappointing to see her go out brutally.

Lastly, we come to the performances. The standout for me is AnnaLynne McCord as Liza. This girl does crazy well. Watch Trash Fire and Excision to see her deliver some excellent whacko performances. Matthew Gray Gubler as Chip is also great in his role. I think he plays the loser well and is sexy enough to have you feeling sorry for Chip. Alisha Boe as Violet is the light in a very dark tunnel, and lastly, we have Sheila Vand as a goth girl who dishes out some brutal punishment. I actually thought she played evil very well. A solid cast that relish in the madness.







DEATH TOLL: 12

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Men and women have their throats slashed.
- A woman is stabbed in the side of the face with a hunting knife.
- Snuff footage of a woman being dissected is seen on TV.
- A man's arm is blown off with a shotgun.
- A woman is sliced down the chest with a machete.
- A guy is beaten with a golf club.
- Women are is shot in the throat and face.
- A man pisses out blood.
- A man is shot dead.
- We see shots of blood-soaked money.
- A man is shot in the chest.
- A woman is shown with her intestines pulled out.
- Two women are dragged into a room, and one is brutally murdered.
- A man is shotgun blasted in the penis.
- A man is hit in the head with a machete.







While 68 Kill is not a horror movie, this is a bloody and bat-shit crazy dark comedy about $68.000 that's gone missing. Filled with unsavoury characters, over the top gory violence, gratuitous sex, and some solid laughs. This is one hell of a fun time. The movie won't break any new ground, but as a sordid tale of white-trash, that is sure to offend many. Will it be seen as a classic? I doubt it, but I still recommend this movie to those looking for some absolute insanity.