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    Cut/Scenes: return of the lame game movie night – Evil sequels

    by Danielle Riendeau on Jun 26, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    After a slower game-movies news week, I decided it was time to resurrect the lame game movie night. You can check out older installments, but every lame game movie night is a double-feature review of two videogame film adaptations. This week, I survive the horror of Resident Evil’s two sequels: Apocalypse (2004) and Extinction (2006).

    Resident Evil: Apocalypse begins with a quick recap of the last film – Alice (Milla Jovovich) was an employee of the umbrella corporation, makers of the deadly, zombifying T-virus. She goes into the nightmarish Hive to investigate, only to find a horde of undead. She survives, along with one companion – he gets thrown into the “Nemesis program” while she gets bolted to a table for some kind of medical study (and genetic augmentation). Then we begin the second film proper, in peaceful, happy Raccoon City, which has the misfortune of being just above the Hive. Faster than you can say “corporate irresponsibility”, the T-virus gets out again, and the Alice finds herself in yet another survival horror situation.

    The infestation has spread to the general population of the city, mimicking the plot of the second game (to a degree), making for a somewhat less contained, creepier overall feel. Elements of the third game come into play when the deadly badass Nemesis shows up on the scene as a sort of giant Frankenstein’s monster with rocket launchers to spare. It’s hilarious to think that this atrocity was once Tim from The L word, but hey, movie magic works both ways. Our intrepid heroes – who include Alice, Jill Valentine, a few S.T.A.R.S soldiers, and a reporter – must find the daughter of a scientist to escape the city before it gets nuked.

    The film is much more average zombie-flick tripe than the first RE, which was a relatively fun thriller set in a super-contained puzzle box of pain. You know the drill – small group of survivors, a few wisecracking, sharp-shooting soldiers/cops, and a large cast of shuffling, maniacal beasties who really want some brains. It does play out somewhat like a videogame, with scenes organized almost like levels, centered on whatever enemy, obstacle or fetch-quest-y “mission” our heroes are dealing with at the moment.

    There are a few highlights, including one amazing scene where a character (LJ) is blithely driving around the streets, aiming for zombies. When he hits one, he yells out “GTA Motherf**ker! 10 points!”, then gets chased by a few zombie-strippers. Gaming in-joke, indeed. The action is relatively fun and fast-paced, and the acting isn’t terrible for this kind of movie. The main problem is that it’s all been done before – and better – in so many other zombie flicks, from Dawn of the Dead right up to 28 Days Later.

    With that in mind, I moved on to the final (as of yet) movie in the series,  RE: Extinction. This one starts off with Alice waking up once again… well, sort of. In an homage to the first movie, and a nod to the medical resurrection she went through in the second, it appears that the underhanded doctors of the Umbrella Corporation are cloning and testing new Alice’s. It seems as if the events of the last flick have resulted in a planet-wide zombie infestation, and Umbrella is trying to find a way to put the proverbial toothpaste into the tube. They experiment on the infected, trying to find a way to domesticate them and control them, or bring them back some semblance of human life.

    The few survivors of the zombie apocalypse – including Alice and a few of the sturdier characters from the last flick, have formed a sort of mobile army, constantly on the run and scouring the wasteland (the T-virus inconveniently turned Earth into a desert) for sustenance. At least this plot does something new (or, new-ish) with the usual zombie shtick. It’s a little more punk, a little more western, and perhaps even a bit more understated than the first two films, conjuring memories of Mad Max along with the usual Dawn of the Dead survival stuff.

    I must say that the RE saga is, at the very least fun, and steeped in rich lore – the films don’t do disservice to the game franchise. And it has to be said; the girl-power undercurrent that flows through the films is totally appealing. If only they weren’t so… predictable.

    Lame Game Movie Night Ratings

    Game factor: 9/10 – both flicks are bursting at the seams with the game’s characters, settings, and mythology.

    Pain factor: 4/10 – you’ll cringe at those requisite “it gets very quiet, then a zombie jumps out at you” moments, but it’s harmless entertainment otherwise.

    Best salve for the experience: Pet a cute little dog – just be sure it isn’t zombified and looking to maul you.

    Read [Evil in the Dark] Also Read [So bad they’re scary]

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    • JP Sherman from Santa Monica, CA said:

      I have to say, that I love your gaming movie nights.  They actually inspire me to go back, grab a few friends, a few pints and watch them in sequence again. 

      Love it!  I think I’m gonna have to plan a RE movie night.

    • Danielle Riendeau from Boston, MA said:
      Avatar for Danielle Riendeau

      Hey JP,

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the articles – and I have to say, out of any videogame flick franchise, the RE movies are the best for a night with a few buddies and brews.

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