Since I’m still searching my conscience, mind, and soul, trying to find out what the crap I thought of Sophie’s Choice, I thought I’d just take the easy route and write about the film that I have a clear opinion about. And that opinion, boiled down to one word, is: Lame.
I feel like a don’t have a lot to say about this movie because I don’t remember much of it. I saw it maybe 3 or 4 days ago (I’m generally good at remembering movies several days after seeing it) and I barely remember what happened, because this movie has no substance. At all. If you took the action scenes from the second act of James Cameron’s Aliens and showed them without showing the 45 minutes of character development that endears you to those characters, took out the relationship between Ripley and Newt, removed the nail-biting climax involving Ripley’s battle with the Queen Alien, and most importantly, removed Bill Paxton’s incredibly subtle and moving performance (note the sarcasm), then you’d get a pretty good idea of what Resident Evil is like.
The main problem with the film is that it fails to make me care as an audience member. It gives me no indication of who these characters are and why I should be concerned for their well-being. After the film was over, I subjected these characters to RedLetterMedia’s Phantom Menace test, where you have to describe a character “without saying what they looked like, what kind of costume they wore, or what their profession in the movie was. The more descriptive you can get, the stronger the character.” It’s near impossible to describe these characters because Paul W.S. Anderson doesn’t bother to give us any idea of why we should care about them because these characters have no personality. The most likely exception to the previous statement is Michelle Rodriguez as Tough Marine Chick as her personality can be described as “tough.” Honestly though, I’m really sick of Michelle Rodriguez’s tough chick role which she plays in every single movie she’s in, and in this film especially, it feels incredibly forced. She acts more like a man than as a tough chick and it’s groan-worthy. There was also a point in the film where one of the main characters reveals his true intentions and betrays the other main characters (yeah, another one of those. I’ve touched on this trope before if you remember my Titan A.E. review). I can’t even fathom how poorly this is pulled off. Unlike Titan A.E. where you see the twist coming from a mile away because of how predictable the story and the characters are, you don’t see this twist coming because it comes out of nowhere. Since we don’t have any idea about who these characters are, any “shocking” information the film reveals about any of the characters becomes irrelevant because we have no idea what actions might be significant, in character, or out of character for them. It’s mind-boggling how much this movie lacks character development.
So the characters were a miserable failure, what about some of the other aspects of the film? Let’s talk about the action; after all, this is a zombie movie. Surely it must have some fun zombie-killing action. It doesn’t. What probably most baffles me about this film is how bloodless it is, especially for a zombie movie. The film is rated R, so there shouldn’t be any real restriction on what kind of gore they can and can’t show, therefore why not show it? Part of the point of making a zombie film is to show animated dead bodies being hacked up and mutilated in many ridiculous and creative ways. And the more blood and gore there is, the more satisfying it is to watch. Why is there so little blood in this film? It could at least have gotten a little entertainment mileage out of characters and zombies dying in horrifically gory ways, because for the most part the action scenes were dull as hell. This was partly due to the fact that I didn’t care about the characters, but I’ve seen movies with awesome, fun fight scenes where I didn’t care that much about the characters. The action scenes were executed lifelessly and completely by-the-numbers. This movie felt like a student movie. It looked professional, but felt like a student film in its execution and direction. You’re doing something wrong when you’re a student and you’re movie feels like a student film. When you’re a professional and your movie feels like a student movie, you need to re-think your career (unless of course you keep making lots of money at it, in which case, studios will keep giving you projects and your movies will continue to suck. Looking at you Paul W.S. Anderson!)
The film’s worst crime is that it’s boring. I can’t hate a movie for being boring, but I can’t feel anything else about it either. The nicest thing you could say about this film is that it is unintentionally funny at times. Most ridiculous death in the movie happens to the token black guy who gets diced by a lethal laser. (You know those apple slicers where you place it over the apple, then push down and the apple is sliced into neat, eatable slices? It’s like that.) There’s also a scene where Milla Jovovich round-house kicks a dog with no skin. Hilarious! Unfortunately, that’s the extent of the unintentional humor. The rest is lame and boring for the reasons I’ve stated above.
Final Rating: 5/10
So, it’s most likely Sophie’s Choice up next, but I’m also planning on going back to France with Paris Je T’Aime. Next review will be a surprise I guess. Fun times!