I saw the most recent Resident Evil movie this week.
Tl;dr — I enjoyed it a great deal, though not as much as I have enjoyed some of the other movies. It’s worth seeing if you are a fan of the franchise or if you want to see some fantastic fight choreography blend of practical effects, wire-work, and digital effects.
SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR THE FRANCHISE.
SERIOUSLY, I’M GOING TO TALK ABOUT ALL OF THE MOVIES, HERE.
There are two things that I love deeply about the RE franchise. I love the fight choreography. I love Alice’s relationships with the other characters.
The fight choreography is a matter of taste. I like a variety of different sorts. While NOT liking action-comedies, I rent Jackie Chan movies and then fast-forward to each fight scene. I love Ong Bak and its sequels. I also love most fantasy-based fight sequences, such as the troll-fight in Fellowship of the Ring.
The RE fights are not comedic, but they share a quality of found-object-weaponry with Chan’s work that I appreciate. The fights look organic, they have flow. The fight against the enormous monster in RE 4 is one of my favorites. This latest film has some great sequences, blending traditional stunt fighting with wirework and digital effects.
Digression: I was watching a scene in the current film in which Alice is almost-naked. (Honestly, nudity would have been far less eye-catching to me than wondering whether her napkin was going to slip off.) She is a prisoner, she is being tortured. And, on the third repetition of a torture bit, I found myself thinking, “Wow, Milla Jovovich looks amazing.” She does. She looks fit, of course, because she is in a number of professions — acting, singing, modeling — that require her to maintain her body at certain industry-prescribed standards. But she also looks real. She looks older than she did in The Fifth Element. Because she is older, of course. But Jovovich has decided to look that way, when she could hide it. She looks tremendously strong, and wiry, and amazing, but not false. I admire that in her.
I admire Jovovich’s acting in all of these films, honestly. She’s a tremendous physical actor. Not just the stunt work, but all the small moments. She is fantastic at carrying the emotion of a scene in her face when the dialog isn’t up to the task. (Which … happens.) And her body language towards and with the other characters is great.
Alice’s relationships with other people are, for me, the core of the films. After the events of the first film Alice is on a quest. And like many ring-bearers, knights, and Doctors, she does better when she has other people around her to keep her human. I can see her measuring each new person that comes into her life, assessing how much work they will be, what they can do for her, how much they will cost her. I find Alice to be most relate-able when she struggles with that calculus. When the smart survivor play is to walk away, but the ethical play is to stay.
Alice stays. She won’t walk away.
And this, this is the amazing thing that pulses at the heart of the franchise. Because Alice shouldn’t care. She really, really shouldn’t. She should be no more than the limits of her programming and endlessly copied, reconstituted personality. But she’s not. She transcends.
There’s a vid I love madly, by sisabet, about Alice’s refusal to be the victim she was created to be. It’s made from the first three films, and is set to the profane and NSFW song Get Low.” Watch on headphones or not at work, hmm?
And here’s the vid:
There’s the Alice I love.