Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chris 2010 Viewings #43: Resident Evil 2 - Torontocalypse!

You will believe Milla Jovovich can run down the face of Toronto City Hall in Resident Evil: Apocalypse! This is the second movie in the series of motion pictures based on the video games of the same name. I am not a gamer, but my understanding of their attitude towards this series is that it sucks because they did not call it Biohazard like the original Japanese versions, and that the games have no Milla Jovovich character in them and that will not stand.

The sad thing about this is that you can't take Milla Jovovich out of the Resident Evil movies because, while these movies have many pleasures, not many of these pleasures actually have anything to do with being quality movies. The primary pleasure is always Milla Jovovich and whatever supporting female character the films give her kicking zombie dogs in the face and shooting many many many but never enough bullets. I don't have a lot of time for male action stars, but Uma in Kill Bill and Milla Jovovich in these movies make me understand why other people might.

Resident Evil is not the kind of movie I would ever have seen but for a recommendation. An acquaintance who is now a highly paid movie critic at a notable publication told me it was like a Dario Argento movie. I still think he is insane for saying that, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it for creative moments like people being sliced into cubes by lasers and then sliding apart, but mostly for Milla Jovovich kicking zombie dogs in the face.

These visceral thrills can get you all excited while you watch them, but they do tend to fade as the distance from your last viewing grows. So I didn't see any of the other Resident Evil pictures until I had a marathon this last weekend so that I could go see the new one at the drive-in. A visit to the Mustang Drive In in Guelph is an annual ritual for me and not much they showed this year had turned my crank so to speak. So a double bill of Resident Evil 4 and Piranha 3D not in 3D? That is the kind of thing drive-ins were made for.

Anyway this second installment begins where the first one ends, with Milla emerging from the death trap of the first movie to find the entire city around her descending into zombie madness. The city is called Raccoon City, a hangover from the game, and one which never fails to shake me out of the movies and say "oh right, this is based on a video game". In reality it is Toronto, and I will say this: if the mere sight of a Pizza Pizza sign gives you cravings, do not watch this movie unless you have cash on hand to pay the delivery guy.

The city has been quarantined by the evil Umbrella Corporation, to prevent the zombie plague from spreading. Milla meets up with a ragtag group of uninfected comrades including a woman in a Lara Croft costume who is almost as enjoyable to watch as Milla. Richard Harris' son, an evacuated scientist, gets in touch with them and tells them that if they rescue his left-behind daughter, he will get them out of town. It all ends with a rootin' tootin' showdown at Nathan Phillips Square, with Milla taking on snipers and a genetically mutated killing machine who was formerly a guy she knew.

I was not bored watching this movie, but I will not pretend it is any good, not even on the non-Milla levels the first one succeeded on. If it had not been shot in Toronto, I may not have enjoyed it as much, but it also probably wouldn't have looked so cheap and loaded with actors you see in Canadian Tire commercials and the like. So, a win-lose situation there.

I hope it will not spoil things too much to reveal that Milla survives and shows up in Resident Evil 3 as well.

1 comment:

MLClark said...

I did a triple take when I saw your name, and then the name of the film. I also have to laugh at the comparison to Argento you mention coming from an acquaintance -- really? Great morning read, thanks!