Tag Archives: Paul W.S. Anderson

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017, Paul W.S. Anderson)

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens, as usual (I think), with a recap of the previous Resident Evil movies. Star Milla Jovovich narrates; even after six movies, it always seems like Jovovich is just about to have a great scene as an actor in one of these movies and it never comes to pass. It’s not her fault–writer and director Anderson either knowingly trades on his viewer’s self-awareness, ignores it, or isn’t aware of it. Either he’s lazy, mercenary, or unaware, which is why Final Chapter ends up being something of a pleasant surprise.

Sure, Anderson doesn’t turn Jovovich’s Alice character into an action movie legend, but Jovovich does a good job as a lead in a wackily paced, often outrageous action movie. She navigates script weaknesses to keep scenes together. There’s a lot of lame, predictable exposition in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Stuff you sit and wish Anderson wouldn’t do, just because there has to be something a little less lazy.

Anderson does have a certain functional charm about his work, which is why he seems far more mercenary than anything else. He’s indifferent to his cast, whether they’re series regulars or not. Most of the film is either Jovovich getting into one ultra-violent, special effects sensation or getting out of one. While she’s incredibly successful as far as physicality goes, it’s like both she and Anderson are completely disinterested in character development. So I guess it’s a perfect combination.

Supporting cast is fine. I mean, none of there performances matter and no one really irritates besides Fraser James and William Levy. Ruby Rose is likable and memorable. Ali Larter is fine; she’s back from one of the previous entries and has almost no energy for this one. It’s like, the world’s ending… Resident Evil VI, straight-to-video or straight-to-hell. Only it works for the movie. She’s exhausted with survival.

There are some excellent action set pieces and a couple okay suspense ones and then a truly phenomenal suspense one. It’s a nice surprise–Anderson’s figured out how to make characters just sympathetic enough to get viewer investment without writing them good scenes or dialogue. It’s mercenary. And competently mercenary.

Oh. Iain Glen. It’s his best performance in the series. Except half of it is awful. He can’t do the maniacal villain, so as the story takes the villain through degrees of wackiness, Glen’s performance fluctuates. It’s a pleasant surprise on its own, as he’s usually atrocious in these things.

Good photography from Glen MacPherson, competent editing from Doobie White. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is about as good as anything called Resident Evil: The Final Chapter could be, which is sort of Anderson’s stock in trade. I mean, I’d definitely see this one again. I’ve been horrified at that thought for the last couple of them.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; screenplay by Anderson, based on the Capcom computer game series; director of photography, Glen MacPherson; edited by Doobie White; music by Paul Haslinger; production designer, Edward Thomas; produced by Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Samuel Hadida, and Robert Kulzer; released by Screen Gems.

Starring Milla Jovovich (Alice), Iain Glen (Dr. Isaacs), Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Eoin Macken (Doc), Shawn Roberts (Wesker), Fraser James (Razor), Ruby Rose (Abigail), William Levy (Christian), and Ever Anderson (The Red Queen).


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Mortal Kombat (1995, Paul W.S. Anderson)

I can’t think of another movie with such a dearth of acting ability. It’s another reason Mortal Kombat, specifically its financial success, is something of a milestone. Combined with the terrible CG, the movie’s box office achievement shows how little general audiences—specifically males—care about anything of quality.

I think Trevor Goddard gives the best performance. He’s supposed to be evil and dumb. I believed his character to be both.

For such a big movie, Mortal Kombat only has a handful of actors, supporting and principal. Robin Shou, Linden Ashby, Bridgette Wilson, Christopher Lambert and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa are basically the speaking cast (in addition to Goddard).

In another achievement, the film actually features a Lambert performance where he’s better than someone else. Tagawa’s exaggerated facial expressions suggest director Anderson told him to perform like a maniacal cartoon. It’s truly one of the silliest, bad performances.

The earnest attempts—from Shou and Wilson—are no better. Shou struts around with hair from an eighties band (all he needs is a hat). In fact, a hat would help, it might be able to act. Wilson’s even worse. Some of her problem is screenwriter Droney’s dialogue, but not all of it. She’s just awful. When the film follows her, it’s hard to believe Anderson and the crew were able to shoot the scene without giggling.

Ashby’s weak, also because of the script, but I suppose he’s better than Shou and Wilson.

Anderson’s got some decent setups, but Mortal Kombat’s still dreadful.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; screenplay by Kevin Droney, based on video games by Ed Boon and John Tobias; director of photography, John R. Leonetti; edited by Martin Hunter; music by George S. Clinton; production designer, Jonathan A. Carlson; produced by Lauri Apelian and Lawrence Kasanoff; released by New Line Cinema.

Starring Robin Shou (Liu Kang), Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Shang Tsung), Bridgette Wilson (Sonya Blade), Talisa Soto (Princess Kitana), Trevor Goddard (Kano), Chris Casamassa (Scorpion), François Petit (Sub-Zero) and Christopher Lambert (Lord Rayden).


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  • OTHER FILMS DIRECTED BY PAUL W.S. ANDERSON
  • OTHER 1995 RELEASES
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010, Paul W.S. Anderson)

    Anderson is clearly getting bored with the Resident Evil franchise at this point–even though he returns to direct (I imagine it was because it’s in 3D). Afterlife has three distinct beginnings, something I’m actually unfamiliar seeing. Having too many endings is one thing, but having too many beginnings… doesn’t happen a lot.

    The problem is Anderson closed the previous film with a cliffhanger he seemingly never intended to resolve. Here, he resolves that cliffhanger, turns the previous entry’s ending into a mystery needing resolving and then introduces the lone band of survivors for this picture (one can easily forget Resident Evil movies are zombie movies and need their bands of survivors).

    The survivors are fairly well-cast–Kim Coates has lots to do, Boris Kodjoe is good as an NBA star turned zombie hunter (Anderson clearly watched “Battlestar Galactica”). Of course, the movie’s got a big action finale and the two other beginnings, so there’s not much time with the survivors.

    Here Jovovich, the franchise’s glue, has to hold the film together against Anderson’s disinterest and Shawn Roberts. Roberts plays the villain. He gives the worst performance I’ve seen in memory in a theatrical release.

    The two other principle victims of Anderson’s disinterest are Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller, whose backstories highlight the film’s reliance of contrivance. Both are decent nonetheless.

    Afterlife gets real bad at times, but Anderson always wakes up to pull it through.

    It’s a shame he doesn’t give wife Jovovich writing worthy her considerable ability.

    1/4

    CREDITS

    Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; screenplay by Anderson, based on the Capcom computer game series; director of photography, Glen MacPherson; edited by Niven Howie; music by tomandandy; production designer, Arvinder Grewal; produced by Bernd Eichinger, Samuel Hadida, Don Carmody, Robert Kulzer, Jeremy Bolt and Anderson; released by Screen Gems.

    Starring Milla Jovovich (Alice), Shawn Roberts (Albert Wesker), Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Wentworth Miller (Chris Redfield), Boris Kodjoe (Luther), Kim Coates (Bennett), Sergio Peris-Mencheta (Angel), Norman Yeung (Kim Yong), Kacey Barnfield (Crystal) and Fulvio Cecere (Wendell).


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    Pandorum (2009, Christian Alvart)

    A lot of Pandorum is the best thing producers Jeremy Bolt and Paul W.S. Anderson have ever had their names on. It falls apart, after a weak open no less, at the end. The very end. It reminded me of Outland, the exit is so stupid. It totally invalidates the trials the protagonists went through for two hours. Very disappointing.

    The film takes forever to get going–I think it’s about a half hour in before we hear anyone talk besides Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster.

    Foster manages to apply his acting skills to what’s either a lame action hero role or a miscast character actor role. He turns it into something special, a self-reflective protagonist. He’s excellent.

    Quaid’s good too, especially considering he spends most of his time talking into a radio to Foster.

    What’s so nice about Pandorum, which is really just a b sci-fi movie made with modern special effects (in Panavision), is how it manages to actually have a surprise ending. It doesn’t set it up at all, it doesn’t hint at it at all–there’s some diversion going on, but the diversion seems a lot like it’s going to be the surprise ending. It’s great. Then it goes to pot with the exit.

    There are some good supporting performances–Antje Traue and Eddie Rouse in particular. The only bad performance is Cam Gigandet, who’s just godawful.

    Alvart’s direction is fine, but someone like John Carpenter probably could have done wonders with the script.

    1.5/4★½

    CREDITS

    Directed by Christian Alvart; screenplay by Travis Milloy, based on a story by Milloy and Alvart; director of photography, Wedigo von Schultzendorff; edited by Philipp Stahl and Yvonne Valdez; music by Michl Britsch; production designer, Richard Bridgland; produced by Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer and Martin Moszkowicz; released by Overture Films.

    Starring Dennis Quaid (Payton), Ben Foster (Bower), Cam Gigandet (Gallo), Antje Traue (Nadia), Cung Le (Manh), Eddie Rouse (Leland) and Norman Reedus (Shepard).


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