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September 10, 2010


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That Fuzzy Bastard

For the record, the fucked-up Dobermans are a mainstay of the games, and there too they are never as scary as they were in the first game (which is famous largely for its ridiculous dialogue and the moment when THE DEAD DOG LEAPED THROUGH THE WINDOW! cf. Flaming Carrot). Ditto the Flytrap-face zombies and the scythe-wielder.

In fact, my big problem with the RE movies has always been that while they're pretty awesome, playing the games is so much more awesome, and actually comes with a little more brain candy to go with the eye candy. Which can make the movies seem kinda redundant, except as a way to watch Milla Jovovich kick ass in nicely art-decorated faux-Kubrick environments, which is not the worst thing to do with one's life.

But I'm gonna see it anyway. Maybe this time in a theater, if I can get super-high somewhere nearby beforehand.

But when do I get my dream directors collaboration, in which Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil), Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia) and Paul Thomas (Bad Wives) create an epic of gunfights and doggy-style sex with oddly stylized dialogue?

Dan Coyle

The games have been around since 1996, although in recent years they dropped the "evil corporation" angle. Mainly because they realized with all the bad behavior the corp got into, SOMEONE would notice, and eventually its leaders were arrested and the company dissolved, and the series focus turned to terrorists stealing their bioweapon work.

In any case, video games have pretty much flown under the BH radar. I know if Schlicter or Nolte played Alpha Protocol, where the main character's spy organization is revealed as working under the orders of the "Halbech" corporation, they'd go ballistic. And it'd be fun.

The first two movies try to sort of follow the games, although after that it becomes... well, this.

Ali Larter's kinda funny, she is. I can't help but like her.


This may be the most generic movie I've ever seen; not a character, line of dialogue or plot point you haven't seen/heard dozens of times before. The one-sheet ahould be white with a blue stripe.


Since my mind is currently focused on television comedy, when I read this:

"The zombies here have these weird-ass Venus Flytrap things that pop outta their faces"

I thought "Venus Flytrap? From WKRP?" Then I remembered that a Venus Flytrap is an actual thing, found in nature.

James Keepnews

Yeah, yeah, her name is Alice, I've forgotten everything (except La Jovovich's memorable turns in films like THE CLAIM and DUMMY -- I rather wish she respected her acting talent as much as I do), Ali L. is awfully game in those Absolut Grindhouse ads, and whatever. My only intent here is to raise Fuzzy's Flaming Carrot one Reid Fleming.

Chris O.

That's part of what is great about this blog and comments. I didn't click on a RESIDENT EVIL review expecting Daffy Duck, Count Floyd and Bob Burden references.



Jeff McMahon

Re: Big Hollywood, somehow I ended up on the email list for the 'Free-Thinking Film Festival' but I think it's strange that almost all of their film lineup consists of polemics.

Kent Jones

"What's the deal with this Ali Larter person?"

GK, you've obviously never seen HEROES. Actually, I kind of like her on the show, playing not one, not two, but THREE twin sisters

Glenn Kenny

@ Kent: Wow. Just thinking about that idea is kind of exhausting. Clearly I owe her some further attention. But really, she was kind of ornamental in this context.

Kent Jones

Did I say "THREE twin sisters?" Quarter to five and I can still use another cup of coffee.

The Free-Thinking Film Festival...the title sounds like it came right out of the Rove playbook. "And always remember - use progressive language to attack progressive ideology. It really hits 'em where they live."

I looked at the website, which is absolutely delightful. Here's an especially choice nugget from their mission statement: "We celebrate the efforts of risk-taking documentarians whose work espouses the values of limited, democratic government, free market economies, equality of opportunity rather than equality of result, and the dignity of the individual, all underscored by a healthy and patriotic respect for Western culture and traditions. Although there are a lot of courageous voices in the non-fiction film industry producing thoughtful pieces of art which reject cultural relativism, central economic planning and American culpability for all that ills the world, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the listings for most art house cinemas."

So right. I've had just about enough of these pro-central economic planning documentarians. Let's give unfettered capitalism a chance, for god's sake.


When the Left uses phrases like "free-thinking" and "we think for ourselves", it's just as ironic, no? Because if "we" think for ourselves, that means those others DON'T think for themselves, the proof being that they don't think like us. Etc.

Kent Jones

Of course you're right, bill. But in the context of current national politics, only a right-wing reactionary would think of inventing something called The Free-Thinking Film Society (based in Canada, by the way).


Mmmmm....not sure about that "only". Depends on what you mean by "current". Today, okay, fine. Two years ago, maybe not so much.

Stephen Bowie

Seconded (thirded?) on the Larter cult. Ornament is fine. One of the reasons I gave up on HEROES around the beginning of Season 2 was the annoying way of splitting up the narrative so that only half or a third of the storylines would be covered in each episode. Probably a way of cutting costs by only paying the stars for, say, 13 episodes instead of 22 ... but it translated into consecutive Larterless weeks, and that was the death knell.


The Right hails Pixar as a great modern capitalist/American success story whilst simultaneously complaining that its films are riddled with liberal troupes. I'm confused!


Per the "Venus Fly Trap thing:

It's a reference to Resident Evil 4 game, in which the T/G-Virus is replaced with a parasite (aptly called "Las Plagas.")

The parasite's third form allows a host's head to explode in a really awesome manner and be replaced with a whirling dervish of doom. In other words, people's heads explode to give way to a bulbous thing that's basically an organic Cuisinart.

Likewise, the Big Motherfucker With An Object is a nod to a sub-boss in Resident Evil 5. He's basically just a dude with a big infection that makes him mutate.

Aka: these bits are fan-service.

Glenn Kenny

@ lichman and the other vid-game mavens—The loss of use of my 50-inch plasma has had residual side-effects even I would have been unable to predict. Had the thing been working I might have actually boned up on the game a bit. Or not. I shoulda called Tom Bissell...

@ Bill and Kent: I'm somehow reminded of a rather unpleasant conversation I had recently. Actually, it was more like I was on the receiving end of a lecture from someone whose "advice" I had had a bellyful of, and who concluded his erroneous suppositions by saying, "You can think for yourself, you know." The only response I could make to him was "So everybody keeps telling me."

Jeff McMahon

From seeing the previous Resident Evil movies, it seemed to me that the presences of Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory, and Ali Larter existed in order to take some of the pressure off Jovovich from having to carry the movies by herself.

Also, in the third movie, they used some kind of digital face-youthening on all of Jovovich's closeups, which was incredibly distracting. Is it back this time? Maybe more subtle?


Fast moving zombies: Las Plagas virus, a giant leach like thing that is orally (usually forcefully) administered that attaches to the Modula-Obligata and old-factory sensories of the brain. The host remains mildly human in appearance though self-mutilation is common. They have one goal, Spread Las Plagas. They do retain some of their original intelligence, but the parasite give them strength and massive jump abilities.

Big Grim Reaper Dude: (AKA: The Executioner) This is what happens when someone the size of an 7' wrestler is infected with Las Plagas.

Corporate Smug Evil Dude (wit powers): Albert Wesker, Genetic anomaly grown in a lab by Ozwell E. Spencer (Co-Founder of Umbrella) to breed a new kind of human-race. Became power hungry. Has the T-Virus, Veronica Virus, Plagas 2 and eventually Ouroboros virus. All keep each-other in check... though he needs regular shots of an altered virus strain to keep the T-Virus from taking over.

Hope that gave some insight.

Charles Webb

@Glenn - I reviewed RE: Afterlife for Twitch and I kind of come away from the franchise with the same feeling as you - they're mostly thrill rides, but man I can't wait to jump on each time.

I'm sure it has something to do with knowing that Jovovich is being kept in steady work. It's weird, for an actress who has appeared in so few films that I actually like, I extend a LOT of goodwill her way and hope that she keeps on keeping on. Maybe I can't shake that residual Fifth Element/Dazed and Confused affection (and maybe I don't want to).

As for all of the in-game references: yeah, I'm a fan of the franchise, but I'm convinced at this point that there's a checklist somewhere of fan service elements that need to be met, regardless of how they impact the movie.

As always, thanks for the putting together interesting thoughts for movies that might not always deserve them.

Dan Coyle

Well, looks like Nolte was able to give it a pass: http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/jjmnolte/2010/09/10/resident-evil-afterlife-review-more-of-the-same-thats-a-good-thing/

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