Thursday, 28 July 2011

Resident Evil: Afterlife


Possibly my favourite video game of all time is Resident Evil 4. Stupidly, it was the first game I bought for the Wii, which has meant that every single game since has been a bit rubbish in comparison (it doesn't help that quite a lot of Wii games are on the poor side). The greatness of the game comes down to being based around a great story.

Which brings me to the Paul W. S. Anderson's Resident Evil film series.

Great stories these do not have.

The first one wasn't too bad. I enjoyed it for what it was. But then we got another. And another. And...

Part of the problem is the film sequel rule: each one must be bigger than the previous. So they started with an underground facility filled with zombies. Then a city. Then the world. Then...

Ah. Stuck now.

If you've infected the entire world what do you do next? You're stuck in a corner now. Zombies in space? No, that's too ridiculous even for this film series. Um... If you'd had any sense you wouldn't have gone down this route in the first place, but you've started now and the audience expects something bigger and better.  

Of course the people making the films don't really care about this problem. Actually, they don't seem to care about anything related to plot. The latest one, Afterlife, is more about Anderson playing about with 3D than anything else.

Ah, that's it - make it in 3D. You could even advertise it then as being a bit like Avatar. Yeah. Genius!

Okay, so it's a film based on a video game. It's not supposed to have a great story. But this isn't something like Street Fighter. The games have a decent story. In fact you could probably stick the cut scenes together from the games and make a decent film (they actually did this for RE4).

The films have drifted so far from the games now that you can never go back to the source material and make them 'good'. The only way would be a reboot. But they're not going to do that. The films make too much money. There's another sequel on the way!

And yet, I don't mind. Unlike something like Transformers which goes on for 3 agonising weeks (or thereabouts), the RE films last 90 minutes. They have the sense to grab the audience, entertain them for a bit and then let them go again. No bum-numbing here.

Sure, the product isn't fantastic. The plotholes are huge and numerous. There could be so much more done with the franchise, and that's truly disappointing. But it doesn't bore me to tears or make me want to poke my eyes out either.

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