Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’ve always had a soft spot for the Resident Evil movies. I’m not implying that they’re good by any means, but as guilty pleasures I consider them pretty watchable in a Spaghetti Western sense. You don’t expect logic or well-maintained continuity in the original Django or Sartana series any more than you do from the Stranger or Hallelujah flicks or any of the other lower-level pulp series of Italo-Westerns.
To me the six Resident Evil movies (2002 – 2017) can be viewed the same way – as unpretentious B-movies with a kind of relaxing sameness and stories that are so unchallenging you can chit-chat with friends or loved ones while they’re on.
Seventies chop-socky films are another example. You might watch them but you sure as hell can’t defend them from criticism.
Milla Jovovich’s Alice is, to me, the main reason to watch these films. She’s believable in the action scenes and deserves recognition for the way she kicks post-apocalyptic butt in SIX movies as the same character. No other leading female figure has matched that feat in THEATRICAL RELEASE, English-language films. Not Lara Croft and not even Ellen Ripley.
Sure, Alice may not rise to the level of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley but she’s certainly better than Scarlet Johansson’s rendition of the Black Widow. I always find Scarlet to just be imitating Jovovich’s performance as Alice rather than trying to actually capture Natasha Romanoff’s character.
I’m not a gamer so I’ve never cared that the Resident Evil movies don’t faithfully follow the video games they’re based on. I can’t imagine such a slavishly faithful approach being worth watching, anyway.
And I LIKE the fact that the Jovovich/ Anderson flicks are more action than horror. It helps the Resident Evil series stand out from so many other monotonous zombie apocalypse tales. Alice takes on other types of monsters, too, which definitely helps.
Some viewers complain about the “evil corporation” trope in the form of Umbrella Corp but c’mon, in an age when Silicon Valley techno-fascists exert such ugly influence and when bloated rich pigs like George Soros, Tom Steyer and the Koch Brothers seem to regard humanity as their serfs, what more appropriate type of villains to use?
So, to sum up: I know these movies are like Michael Bay’s output in a lot of ways but his movies have never boasted a charismatic lead like Milla Jovovich. Sure, the action is in no way realistic but in some of the movies Alice has super-powers from the T-Virus so it doesn’t require that much suspension of disbelief.
Even in the chapters where Alice is non-superpowered the outrageous action isn’t any sillier than the way characters FLY in assorted Martial Arts films.
If you’ve never bothered with the Resident Evil movies you may want to give them a shot sometime. The above trailer for The Final Chapter gives a fair idea of what to expect.
And below is another trailer for The Final Chapter with a little more zombie emphasis if that’s your thing. (The name Raccoon City is from the first video game so don’t blame the movies.) +++
FOR MY TAKES ON MORE RECENT FILMS LIKE THE LAST JEDI, SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY AND OCEAN’S EIGHT CLICK HERE
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