Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And if you complain once more, you'll meet an army of Milla

I've been to this particular discount theater before; I watched The Haunting of Molly Hartley and Changeling back-to-back and it only cost me like, two bucks. You have to buy your tickets at the concession stand, which means you get to stand behind the girl chatting away at the counter guy who's only listening to her bullshit in the off chance it'll increase his chance of finding out what it feels like to be inside her -- then eventually he'll notice you and charge you the $1 ticket fee + a $2 3D surcharge. What -- a 3D theatrical experience for three bucks?! Hot damn. Out-of-focus projections of scratchy film prints are the norm at these joints, but this place was showing Resident Evil: Afterlife in RealD 3D or whatever the fuck that shit's called. I'm assuming you've seen the previous 3 Resident Evil movies, as I have, so keep pace or don't. There be spoilers.

George A. Romero is right; when Zombie Armageddon arrives, it's gonna be us -- the people -- who are going to fuck it all up. But where he has it wrong is that it's not going to be because of class differences, or race differences, or the inability to forget that these monsters are no longer our friends & relatives and must be disposed with extreme prejudice. No, that's not what's going to lead to humanity's demise. You know what's gonna do it to us? No one's going to fucking agree on what to call them -- we're going to be too fucking busy having pissing matches over whether to call them zombies or infected or whatever the fuck you want to call them. While we fight over that, we're going to be too distracted to notice the army of Bad News slowly approaching us. Then it'll be too fuckin' late.

But it won't end there, because the zombies/infected/whatever are also going to be fighting amongst themselves on whether they should tear the living apart or eat them, and if they eat them, should they eat the flesh or the brains or both? And then some of the zombies/infected/whatever will be having arguments because one is shambling while the other is running and it's like Make Up Your Mind and What Kind Of Zombies Are We and I'm Not A Zombie, I'm Infected and The Fuck You Are, You're A Zombie and meanwhile you have the teleporting Fulci zombie laughing at all of them. 

So, the movie. The world's been taken over by whatever you want to call those creatures, and in the meantime, the underground headquarters for Umbrella Corporation in Japan is under attack by a group of Milla Jovovich clones. I'm looking at all of these Millas in their black skintight ass-kicking uniforms, shooting/stabbing/kicking the shit out of people, and I'm thinking to myself that while dying really sucks and I don't look forward to it (not anymore, at least), if I had to go -- well, being killed by a bunch of scowling Milla Jovoviches wouldn't be a bad way to go, especially in the Resident Evil universe, where you're very likely to get eaten alive by a pack of zombies/infected/whatever. I'd rather that the last thing I see before moving on to the next world (or eternal darkness, depending on your beliefs) be a lineup of hot angry Millas (Milli?) aiming their blazing MP9's at me, not a pack of asshole zombies.

These Millas, they were created at the end of the 3rd Resident Evil, and I don't know if they have souls and I don't care, but they sure as fuck are the same as the original Milla in every other respect, right down to the mannerisms and even the supposedly tough/funny one-liners. They're as human as human can get, minus the whole God Created Me deal (or not, depending on your beliefs). Being human beings, I'm sure they have needs, these Millas. And every available man in this post-apocalyptic world is either a zombie, a bad guy, a S.T.A.R.S. member about to valiantly sacrifice himself for the greater good, or Mike Epps. Pickings be slim. I guess what I'm trying to say here is, uh, I'm sure that in between sparring and shooting and training for future bad guy ass-kickings, they probably got to know each other very well. At least in my cut of the movie, they would. And shut the fuck up about me being lonely, I'm just saying. We should see that shit, it would be beautiful.

It doesn't happen, though. They all get blown up by some fuckin' Chad in sunglasses and long coat. Wesker's the name of this fuckin' asshole and he's probably a Gay, that's why he blew them up, because you don't blow up Milla Jovovich X 10, you just don't -- what you do is call up a couple of your bros, bring out the booze and crank up the Journey, 'cause it's Party Time. The only awesome thing Wesker does is shoot one of his own men in the head for committing the cardinal sin of questioning an order. I love when Big Bads kill their own men, it shows how evil they are.

It turns out that the real Milla, she's still alive and she almost takes the motherfucker out but she fucks up by trying to pull some "Any last words?" bullshit and you KNOW how that shit fuckin' works. There's a brief scuffle and it ends with Wesker the Chad injecting Milla with some kind of serum that neutralizes the T-Virus cells inside her, and whatever the fuck it is, it ends up sapping poor Milla of all her super-abilities and telekinetic powers. It allows Wesker to not have to worry about her fucking up his plans for World Domination, but more importantly, it allows writer/producer/director Paul W.S. Anderson to not have to worry about explaining why Milla's character doesn't just use her superpowers to get out of the many jams she's going to end up in for the next 90 minutes.

Paul W.S. Anderson is also married to Milla, and he even tried ruining her by impregnating her, but what I was left thinking about while watching all the Milla clones get shot, stabbed and blown up was if this was just an excuse to watch his wife die a bunch of times. I mean, even the happiest couples have their disagreements and maybe watching Milla #6 end up a twitching bloody mess on the floor brought a smile to his face as he remembered the time Real Milla didn't let him hang out with his mates (he's a Brit) because she's a wife and that's what wives and girlfriends do -- not let you hang out with the homies unless they're along for the ride. I'm not bitter, Stacy. I'm not. I'm sure he and fellow on-screen-wife-killing director Stuart Gordon would have quite the chat over a couple of pints (Paul's buying).

Anyway, Milla flies a Zero plane from Japan to Alaska, in search of the previous film's survivors (they left for a supposed refuge paradise called "Arcadia"), but upon landing, she finds nobody except for Ali Larter (also from the previous film). Larter can't remember shit because of some mechanical spider hooked up to her chest, and immediately begins fighting Milla, grabbing each other and rolling around on the ground, causing my special parts to feel funny. Because she's Ali Larter and not Muhammed Ali, Larter gets knocked the fuck out and Milla takes her along for a ride on her Zero. Usually when I see Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter flying, it's in my dreams and it's usually without the aid of an airplane and their destination is the city of Me. But in this case, they're flying to Los Angeles for whatever reason. They end up landing on top of a prison and hook up with the survivors inside, which comprise of an asshole movie producer, his bitch-boy intern, a Brit aspiring actress, the token Mexican Played By A Spaniard, some bald guy who I thought was the sports guy from Frasier but wasn't, and Wentworth Miller (whose full name is Wentworth Earl Miller III but was changed from his original birth name, Sir Fancy Britches Britchardson the IV).

The prison survivors are disappointed to find out that Milla and Ali are not there to rescue them, but are probably happy to see that the girl/boy ratio just rose up and gave the dudes better odds. Not only that, but what fuckin' odds! It's the end of the world and there's only 3 women with them, and they're all hot. Fuckin' A. You'd think these girls would stick together, forming some Girl Power shit, but it's all a front. When one of them ends up getting chowed down by the monsters, a minute later, one of the survivor girls is cracking wise again. It's like the poor girl never existed. Yet, when one of the guys is presumed dead, this same chick who was making her fucking stupid one-liners, she immediately gets borderline-weepy, proving once again the 2nd eternal truth that Women Secretly Hate Each Other. (For the record, the 1st eternal truth is I Don't Know Shit About Women.)

I forgot to mention another survivor; he's a basketball star and he's a likable dude for an athlete -- he's more Shaq than Kobe. He escorts Milla to the shower room and tells her that the prison has running water (even though it's cold) and I think this is probably his way of hinting to her that while she might look like Milla Jovovich, she currently smells like present-day Michael Jackson. I mean, she puts enough thought into her appearance to continue using make-up and get her hair done, but it looks like she only changes outfits between films. We're talking years here. That's something that I always think about when I watch these post-apocalyptic films, is how bad everyone must smell in these worlds. The survivors are not the lucky ones, if you ask me. 

Anyway, zombie/monster/Chad nastiness ensues, most of it in slow-motion and set to a driving tomandandy score. In addition to Wesker the Chad and the zombies, there's also these scary dudes with tentacle maws who like to burrow through walls and floor so they can get at you. If they don't get you, there's also a couple of those monster dogs that split open to reveal more teeth. Every monster in this movie has teeth to spare; there are jaws within their jaws. There's also this creepy giant dude with a makeshift axe/hammer deal; he's like 10 feet tall and doesn't talk and I don't even think you see his face in the entire movie. I wonder if Anderson forgot that he was making a Resident Evil movie and ended up dipping his toe into Silent Hill waters with that motherfucker, but it turns out that the creepy giant is an actual Resident Evil character. I don't know which game he was in, because I'm only familiar with the 1st one and part of the 2nd. What can I say, I was more into movies than video games at that point. I don't even know how true these movies are to the video games anymore, and I don't know if it even matters, because people are watching the shit out of them either way.

I remember looking up Army of Darkness in John Landis-lookalike Leonard Maltin's movie review guide; he complained that the movie became dull in between the set-pieces, which saddened me because it meant that Leonard Maltin was smoking crack. This is why when I met him in person at the American Cinematheque, I looked at him with pity as he happily held the door open for me as we made our way into a screening of Los Angeles Plays Itself. I regret not turning that screening into an intervention. Anyway, I bring up that review because I kinda feel the same way about the non-action stuff in this movie. If there were any fucks to give during the dialogue/character scenes, I couldn't find them. Thankfully, there's enough action to balance that shit out in the movie's favor.

This entry is a lot more Matrix-y than the previous films, with all the slow-mo and the 360-degree freeze-frame shit and some of the characters pulls some Agent Smith bullet-dodging shit. Now that I think about it, maybe the Resident Evil universe takes place in the Matrix. That would be a mind-blower. It amuses me to think that some 10-year-old kid (there was a little girl with her cholo father in the audience) is going to watch this movie, have his-or-her world rocked by it, and then years later he-or-she is gonna come across The Matrix (which he-or-she has never seen), pop it in, watch it, and then go "It was all right". What was Totally Fucking Awesome to you or me is going to be merely OK to him-or-her. I know this because it's happened to me with other classics I finally got around to, after having grown up watching the imitators and the inspired-bys.

Like the previous Resident Evils, all the going-ons are happened-befores -- we've seen some of these plot elements and scenarios in other movies of similar genre. Having said that, I had lots of fun with it. Sure, I've seen a hot chick in a leather outfit jump backwards out of a plate glass window and fall a great height while firing two automatic weapons before -- but this time it's two hot chicks, and they're both Milla Jovovich. The Resident Evil flicks were never the most original, or even the least original, but they're good fast times. Shit, the fuckin' games they're based on aren't exactly reinventions of the wheel, either.

Some of the action scenes feel like they were directed by Zack Snyder and The Wachowski Brother & Sister, and since I like those guys (and girl) and it's done well, I was cool with that. It's when someone tries aping a motherfucker's style and fails miserably at it that I have issues. P.W.S. Anderson's a ripoff artist, but he's a pretty good one. His movies have always been a decent night of entertainment for me, so I've no reason to hate on the guy -- except for Soldier, where Kurt Russell wins the EFC Award for Best Performance in a Piece-Of-Shit. I know it sounds weird to applaud a filmmaker for being adequate, but I feel a need to do so because this dude is straight-up HATED by so many. Don't know why, unless all the hate is for Soldier.

I'll go you one further -- I don't get the Uwe Boll hatred either. Yeah, I said that shit. I've seen, like, 3 of his movies before I learned my lesson, but while I didn't like them, I didn't think they were affronts to the artistry of cinema. Maybe it's because he made his Bad Filmmaker bones with video game movies, which are a risky endeavor unto themselves. If there's two things I've learned in this world, it's that you don't piss off a woman (sorry, Stacy) and you don't make a video game movie, because Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned or a geek disappointed. Maybe it's because his shit is so mediocre, maybe that's a bigger crime than outright incompetence; this would also explain why people happily worship Ed Wood and Tommy Wiseau, while wanting to disappear Boll and his whole family off the face of the Earth.

If people felt that way about me, I'd punish the world by making bad taste movies about fat girls and Auschwitz too; might as well play the Asshole card, which I suspect is Boll's game nowadays. This Kraut motherfucker is happily going to play the I'm A Shit Filmmaker Who Doesn't Give A Fuck part for as long as his name continues to be met with boos. And don't give me this shit about purposely making movies that suck because of some tax-shelter bullshit as being a reason to hate the guy. Unless you work for the German government or pay German taxes, you have no dog in that fight. Did you know Uwe Boll stole a fuckin' 35mm movie camera from a film school -- probably fucking over an eager film student in the process -- to make a movie? No? Well, that's because it wasn't Uwe Boll, it was Werner Herzog who did that shit. But I bet if you thought it was Boll, you were all like What A Fucking Asshole. There's a point in here somewhere, go look for it, I'm too lazy to make one.

In conclusion, I want to play video games and smoke pot with a bunch of Milla Jovovich clones.