A look into cinema, past, present, and future
By Bryan C. Kuriawa
Three years after Extinction, the Resident Evil video game franchise once more translates onto the big screen, and with the return of series director, Paul Anderson. Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself confronting the overly powerful Umbrella Cooperation and trapped with a group of survivors in zombie-populated Los Angeles. Their only link to the outside world rests on a series of broadcasts of safe-haven aboard a coastal freighter, codenamed Arcadia. Eventually the group realizes their only chance is to escape, yet any option must be weighed against their enemy, the reanimated dead. Despite the return of Anderson, Jovovich’s real-life husband, and the successful performances of Milla Jovovich and supporting cast-member Boris Kodjoe, this entry fails to find its purpose and success. Anderson is energetic and quite capable at action sequences, with several notably competent 3D sequences to his credit, if only the script and narrative could find any similar balance. The screenplay by Anderson lacks development and strands its cast and characters in a sea of clichés and uninterest. Overall, an unfocused action movie with much violence, yet no charm.
For Paul Anderson, Afterlife was to represent his return to the series, and following two years Anderson once more continues without concern into the fifth entry, Retribution. After being recaptured, Alice (Milla Jovovich) discovers her location as Umbrella’s research facility located underwater in eastern Russia. With the assistance of a non-Umbrella operative (Li Bingbing), they make their way to a rendezvous point where Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) and his team will take them to the surface. Soon, Alice realizes Umbrella has many tricks up their sleeve, and escape may prove a challenge. After the lackluster Afterlife, Retribution proves to be slightly superior to its predecessor, yet lacks much that could make a capable feature. Once more, Jovovich proves to be the better actor, with capable supporting performances from series veterans Michelle Rodriquez and Boris Kodjoe. Paul Anderson once again delivers the visual thrills through an energetic and fast-past direction, yet his screenplay feels similar to his last effort, introducing and reintroducing characters in an uninteresting fashion, some removed without being given a name. Overall, superior to the forth Resident Evil, with better direction and action, only to fail in other areas of cinematic value.
Taken 2 Preview: Recommended.
Four years ago, audiences thrilled to the action film, Taken by Pierre Morel, an English-language French production detailing the story of a C.I.A. operative (Liam Neeson) trying to find his kidnapped daughter. Under the reins of incoming director, Oliver Megaton, whose previous credits include Transporter 3 and Columbiana, Taken 2 is to be released October 5th. In this follow-up, Neeson’s character Bryan Mills, receives a visit from his daughter and ex-wife while on vacation in Istanbul, Turkey. Soon, Mills is taken captive by a group of gangsters working for the Albanian Mafia and its head, the father of a former gangster killed by Mills. After his wife is taken hostage and his daughter flees, Mills must stop these criminals without mercy. Since Taken, Neeson has appeared in multiple cinematic vehicles ranging in quality from the weak remake of Clash of the Titans to his acclaimed role in The Grey, earlier this year. With such an increase in his roles, the range in quality has been quite prominent, and Taken 2 feels middle of the road. It’s recently released trailer does show off the film’s action, yet distinguishing this film completely from its predecessor is necessary.