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 The Resident Evil Franchise

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Rust
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PostSubject: The Resident Evil Franchise   Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:30 pm

The Horror Fest thread made me do this. I'm a huge fan of the first Resident Evil movie, but I get progressively less thrilled with each sequel. And while I'll likely pick up Retribution when it hits DVD (Mainly because I own all the others), I've come to realize over the years and at various Internet haunts, I've ended up reviewing every single RE film out there, save for the latest.

So I've decided to share. The first two film reviews actually come from a retrospective I did earlier this year to figure out why I enjoy the first movie so much and why the sequels collapse under their own weight. That's why the first and second movie reviews differ from the third and fourth in terms of styling.

Regardless, Enjoy and feel free to drop your own thoughts on the franchise. Despite the lackluster sequels, I always enjoy talking about what is likely my favorite film franchise.


RESIDENT EVIL

Now I say I watch both it and Transformers: The Movie once a year, but actually it's probably been closer to two for the first RE flick. Regardless, I couldn't help but analyze the movie a bit more then my usual wont to figure out why it is still a dang good Zombie film and the others fall flat.

The Music, I think, plays a critical part. There's something about the original RE score..it's terrifying and hypnotic at the same time. It's also unique, I don't think I've heard a zombie film use these kind of visceral tones before. If I had to describe it, it almost sounds like falling and shattering glass but heavily modulated and filtered. There's something about the score that works.

The Pacing of the movie is also something that has slipped my mind as a appreciable factor. The Zombies don't show up until almost an hour into the film, something that is flat out unheard of in most modern zombie films. Mostly because "You came to see Zombies, so here's zombies!" mentality, but there's something to be said about the slow approach. For starters, we did get to meet the cast and watch them interact before things go south. It also helps that no one in the group is a certifiable bunghole (to start with, at least). The Humanization of the Umbrella Strike Team, watching them joke around, or the team medic assessing Spence when they find him on the Train...it's little moments like that help movies like these. Yeah most of the characters die rather quickly (With one room claiming half the cast), but it's nice to see them acting like Human Beings. Let's face it, these aren't the typical Horror Cast members where you can generally guess who is going to die first. Indeed, watching the film critically, none of these characters did anything remotely like your typical stereotypical horror trope. When the team walked into the Laser Hallway, they were told the defenses were down. About the other questionable action there was why bring the Medic along?

Speaking of characters, Alice and Spence provide wonderful audience filters. They were part of events but due to a nerve agent have lost their short term memories. This allows them to ask questions that would otherwise seem stupid for the sake of exposition, but without the awkwardness of like Matt, where you'd wonder why the Strike Team was being so free and loose with information. As far as the team was concerned, those two were cleared for that information.

Going back to pacing for a minute, another thing that caught my attention was how much this movie was structured and shot like a video game. The camera pan around Alice at the train on the end, all I could think of was "Cut Scene's over, now to segue back into the action". Even watching this movie a dozen times, I kept expecting the camera to zoom into Alice's head after it completed the rotation.

The Red Queen. "You're all going to die down here." is still an awesome line. Creepy Little British Girls are Creepy.


That's not to say the movie didn't have issues though. Let's face it, the Licker is a mediocre "Final Villain" (Plus the fact he never does his signature "Remove Head with Tongue" maneuver), and after their initial reveal, the Zombies cease to be a threat or even appear in much of any capacity. What were they all doing down in the Sewer Tunnels anyway? That's about as baffling as the high volume of Zombies hanging out in the underground of Williamete Parkview Mall.

Also, while the pan out shot of a decimating Raccoon City is fun, I feel the movie could have ended five minutes earlier with Alice beating on the glass to a empty control room and then the zombie walks by. Indeed, that almost seems like it was meant to be the last shot, but Paul Anderson decided to keep going with it.

I still say it's an awesome movie. Definitely helped make the housework go by a lot faster, and despite my knowing better, I have the urge to pop in Apocalypse to continue the tale. Matter of fact, I think I will. Heck, I might as well go through the entire saga again, watch each movie with a fresh perspective...and see if I can't find out where exactly the wheels popped off of this franchise.
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:32 pm

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE

The Music...is not there. I mean literally, outside a generic rock beat when Alice first turns up, the music never popped in a manner that let me even acknowledge it. That's not good, since the first movie's music really did help the ambiance of the film. But hey, you don't need a killer sound track to make a good movie right?

The Pacing is okay. It's a little jittery at first with the recap of the first film, but it quickly settles down into a nice scene by scene, act by act format. And while it's nice that there's down time between action sequences, it becomes rather formulaic by the end. Action Scene followed by Down Time followed by Action Scene...JUMP SCARE!

The Jump Scare. Used little to none at all in the first movie, this movie is littered with them. Now, the first one (Of Angela's car being hit by the truck from Resident Evil 2 - great homage, by the by) is great and catches me off guard to this day. It's well put together and shot. But the others? Eeeeh. You really do see them coming (Especially Zombie Dog jumping Nikoli, but more on that in a bit).

The Characters are definitely weaker this time around. The problem being we don't meet any of them until the crisis has happened so there's no chance to get to know any of them. Jill Valentine being chief offender. All we get is a little shot of newspaper clipping marking her as "disgraced" (Though never once is this mentioned in the movie by ANYONE), and she comes barreling in knowing exactly what they're dealing with despite the fact the rest of the Police and Population have no clue what-so-ever.

There's even her opening line of dialogue. "I told you, they're infected. Shoot 'em in the head."

Okay....so um...did the first game still happen here because that line combined with what happened in the first movie make no sense what so ever. It's only been 13 hours - and Jill's first sequence (as a pair of shoes) she's taking off classy looking open toed heels. But all the shots of Raccoon City have it being overrun by the Dead...I...I don't know what's going on!!!

I've heard the next Resident Evil film reveals that Jill works for Umbrella, and oddly enough after Apocalypse I hope that's true because there are some pretty huge gaping holes with her character in this movie that some elaboration is required. This wasn't that big a deal back when the movie first came out and it was still loosely tied to the video games, but now? Her character is just baffling.

The rest of the cast is barely worth mentioning. LJ and Carlos are just basically there (LJ being especially useless), and the other characters are obvious cannon fodder. Worst of the worst really was Nikoli, Carlos' buddy. Saves Jill and Angela from the Zombie Dogs, and takes the time in a hostile environment to fire off a parade ground salute...and gets eaten by Zombie Dogs for his trouble. And Jill just stands there and watches it happen/runs off because the script didn't call for her to do anything.

That really is the biggest flaw of Apocalypse. The main character here is Alice despite sharing the screen with Jill, Carlos, and the others. When Alice isn't around, they actually act like characters - when Alice shows up, they turn into mobile set pieces. In the final fight sequence between Alice and Nemesis, Carlos and the others are captured by Umbrella. After the fight, when Alice refuses to kill Nemesis, then they decide it would be a good time to use hidden blades to cut themselves free. Why didn't they just do that during the fight when the guards were all distracted? Nevermind how the heck LJ managed to get into the cockpit of the Helicopter before the Evil Scientist Dude when Carlos and Jill had just managed to free themselves.

Speaking of Umbrella and Evil Scientist Dude, there are things I hate, and things I love about it. For starters, Evil Scientist Dude actually starts out like a seemingly decent Human Being, this was good. He was a man sympathetic to the people but committed to preventing the spread of the virus. I could believe that and it would make a interesting conflict - as one group just wants out but he wants to keep people in to save more lives.

Indeed, his first scene where he wakes up Alice, its shot and he looks around in a manner that makes you wonder if he's letting Alice loose because he wants to, not because it's part of some elaborate scheme. And Umbrella actually makes a committed effort to get as many people out of the city as possible - committing ground troops to help shore up the Police Department and running screening checkpoints for survivors. I liked that, it made Umbrella seem human and believable and not deliberately evil. Even the lockdown of the gate and firing live ammo into the crowd made a cold hearted sense if they were serious about trying to contain the outbreak.

And then Nemesis happens, and the whole idea goes down the crapper in favor of Stereotypical Mad Scientist/Evil Corporation shtick. Indeed, Evil Scientist Dude just ceases to be a character and turns into a hypocritical one liner factory.

"Don't you realize how important you are to me?"
-followed by-
"You are such a disappointment. Kill her!"

And the always classic:

"If you want to hear me beg, I will not."
-followed by-
"No! Please!"

*Facepalm*

What a uninspired villain. But the other Evil Scientist Guy - the one who appeared briefly at the end of Resident Evil and becomes the Tyrant in Extinction - that guy I liked. It was a sense of continuity, not to mention I think seeing him again in Apocalypse (as well as in the first RE) helps establish a continuity between all three films so the culmination of him becoming Tyrant works better. We'll have to wait till I get to Extinction, but I'm liking that dynamic.


The Zombies? Were baaaaaaad in this film. Like, super bad. Horrible Film Editing Bad. The handful we got to see beyond flashing jump cuts and slow mo edited footage were decent, but even more then the first film, they just vanish during the film's second act and then all the sudden they all show up at city hall because...why not?


At the same time, a scene that always bugged me before has been redeemed in lieu of the sequels. The infamous graveyard scene where the zombies explode out of their graves in stereotypical fashion. Ignoring the fact that corpses in the ground are taxidermied, the fact the T-Virus was soaked into the ground to reanimate them actually helps make the "Dead World" of Extinction far more believable. If the Virus was already in the soil, a nuke wasn't going to keep it from spreading via the water table.


Overall? It was a subpar sequel. The action was lame and jerky, the villain had less depth then a 80s action film villain, and while the Nemesis makeup was awesome, Nemesis didn't really do anything in this movie. You could have removed him completely - or just revealed him at the end - and nothing of the movie would have suffered for it.

The worst part was how Alice went from a character into a Mary Sue. This is before she went all Parasite Eve on a guard at the end though. I just rolled my eyes at how blatantly they were making Alice steal the movie by shutting down the cerebral cortex of every other cast member when she got on screen.

Also, I have to say I am extremely disappointed in the ending to this film, but only in regards to the rest of the franchise. Apocalypse ends on a very sinister note - that Alice has turned into a T-Virus Monster that her friends may yet have to put down. It would have been a very sad but interesting way to follow this character only to have them become the villain of the piece by trilogy end.

It's a absolute shame that's not what happened.

Final Thought?

Jill Valentine. If you are going to bring Alice back and not eventually make her do a heel turn, then this character becomes absolutely worthless. Once Alice showed up, Jill basically vanished from the movie.

Final, Final Thought?

I can't be the only one there at the end, when Alice was scribbling on a pad with a pen, who thought to themselves "Lilu Dallas Multipass"



To prevent "Wall Of Text" Overload, I'll hold off on the Extinction and Afterlife reviews until tomorrow. As both were written just after I'd watched the films and are vastly more wordy.
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:39 pm

I have the first two on blu, and saw the first three in the theater.

Love the first one to death... it's the only one I ever rewatch. I should try and remember for next year and do a Res Evil theme and watch all 3.

I barely remember anything about 2 and 3, except that I did want to get them eventually (so they weren't all bad), but they were not as great as the original.

I heard bad things about 4, so I think my run with the franchise stops with 3.
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:01 pm

Cruel Angel wrote:

I heard bad things about 4

You.
Have.
No.
Idea.

Stay tuned tomorrow to learn more....
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:19 pm

The last one I saw in the theater was the one with all the Alice clones....Saw the last one on DVD. How is the new one?
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:00 pm

I hated #3 but liked #4 as a goofy action movie. The first one was still the best.
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:12 am

RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION
Originally Posted: January 1st, 2008

So it's no secret around these parts that I'm a big fan of the "Resident Evil" movie. The games bore me after a point, but I've always been entertained by the film and it's on par with the Transformer movie (Both 2007 and 1986 versions) in terms of movies I'll pick to watch over the giant stack of DVDs I've purchased and have yet to watch (Seriously, I let "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Casino Royale" just sit there while I watch RE for the billionth time).

It's also no secret I wasn't a big fan of the second film, which I thought turned a nice potential prequel for the game series into a mindless action film (Also getting kinda cheap with the Zombie effects and really stretching credibility, even for an action film).

I've just purchased the third film of the series: Extinction. Mostly because, despite my misgivings with the second film, I'm a huge fan of the first RE movie and I've really fallen in love with Milla Jovovich's "Alice". And since the last time I watched "Apocalypse" I was finally able to enjoy it for it's own merits as a mindless thrill ride I figured I might as well give "Extinction" a go.

At the very least, I've completed the trilogy. But will I like it?



First thing I have to say is I'm really getting sick of the whole "The world is dead/dying" Zombie Movie Cliche. Seriously, I think if I ever make a Zombie film, I'll have it set in a national park just for a change of the Mad Maxish Desert sequences.

And right off the bat, we get another Post-Apocalypse (HA! I get it now!) movie cliche: The band of lawless lunatics/cannibals. Did anyone else get the Cannibal vibe off these guys? Seriously, Zombie Apocalypse happens and the Cannibals are still running around. You'd think the competition for resources would tilt in the Zombies favor.

In any event, at least they got the cliches out of the way early in the film and I have to admit the whole Ghost Town vibe is eerie to a point.


Zombie effects still managed to go down the toilet. At least when the Super Zombies arrived there was some reasoning behind their ability to scale objects and rip off protective panelling. When the normal ones manage it, I start losing my suspension of disbelief. Especially when newly created Zombies are all gray like month old corpses. I miss the zombies from the first film - Freshly killed, still pink, and you could actually mistake em for living people if not for their eyes and shambling gait.


Alice continues her journey into turning this franchise into "Parasite Eve vs Zombies", and manages to Mary Sue the pretty nice Crow sequence extremely effectively. However, I do have to say I'm glad they didn't overhype this talent and gave it a pretty signifigant drawback. Keeps it from becoming too silly, and while I still don't like it, at least the Crow sequence signals the most blatent "lawl superweapon!" moment for the power. She does only use it three times in the film, once on accident.


Claire Redfield and Albert Wesker are two completely unneeded characters. Wesker especially - hiding underground you don't need friggen sunglasses.


Ya know, when they introduced the convoy of survivors, I knew they were serving em up for the chopping block. It's become pretty much standard faire in Zombie films. I wonder if I was suppose to be shocked, dismayed, or horrified that 99% of them didn't make it?


I was somewhat irked that all the alumni cast from the second film (With the consipicous absence of Jill Valentine and the Girl) manage to get snuffed out. However I did recall these movies are based off the Resident Evil games, and in those the secondary cast members are almost always completely wiped out.


Umbrella Corporation really needs to learn how to secure a goddamn rooftop. Seriously, Alice just barges into the tent, and a Super Zombie is wandering around up there - THAT NO ONE NOTICES.


Woohoo! Tyrant! Finally!


Booerns to how he's offed. Honest to crap here people - did no one play the friggen games? All I'm asking for is a Rocket Launcher death.


Aaand the movie ends on a pretty strange note. The World's got to pot, Umbrella still wants to make something of it (Honestly...), Alice has got an army of "sisters" to back her up in her attempts to destroy Umbrella...for what ends? Oh her blood can cure the infection...cure it of WHAT? The world's pretty much dead. And what happened to that 1% of the convoy that actually did manage to get away? Did they get to Alaska? Did it remain uninfected?


Oye.



The funny thing is: I actually did enjoy this movie. The remix of the original film's theme, the Digital Diagram (Which should have been used for more then the Umbrella Complex), The White Queen, the fact Alice couldn't use her Mary Sue Psionics whenever she wanted...

There's a lot of major points the movie drops the ball on. And really, if you go by merits of the story alone, this movie is drivel. Worse then drivel. But for whatever reason, "Extinction" managed to harken back to the first film just enough to make it enjoyable for me.


If you aren't a fan of "Resident Evil" or the movies it's based off of, skip this film. Skip it and don't give it a second thought. But if you like the games, or did enjoy the first RE film, do give it a go.

Cliches and jagged plot points aside, it "feels" more Resident Evil then the previous outings, and while the ending was possible the stupidest thing I've ever seen (despite the fact I had a huge grin on my face when I imagined what that kind of army could do to Umbrella), it generally is a statisfying outting.

I don't regret watching it. But if you aren't a fan, or can't stomach faux-intellectual action films (Which is what all of them are. They try to give each some sort of overreaching story, but in the end the story's fluff for action. They've just gotten worse at hiding that, thought not nearly as bad as Part Two)...skip it.

MODERN EDIT: I forgot to mention in the review that the convoy of survivors has been surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and not a single one of them can identify a person who is infected. Carlos is both understandable and maddening, because he's seen the infection before, but it's understandable he would deny it even to himself in LJ's case. But everyone else? No way.


Last edited by Rust on Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:13 am

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE
Originally Posted: March 11th, 2011

So. Resident Evil: Afterlife...

I'll be honest with you guys, I really had no intention of seeing this film despite my love for the franchise. The first movie is still awesome and I love it to pieces, but it was that love that carried me through two sequels already. My good will only goes so far.

Still, the last movie had its good points despite its flaws, so I suppose I might be pleasantly surprised by Afterlife. Still, finding it on sale for $10 less then a month after its release (Yeah, I've been putting off watching it for a bit), I figured what the heck? I've got all the others.


Opening sequence isn't too bad, but the slow mo busy walking street drags the whole ordeal out far longer then it should. At the same time, no one does opening credits anymore it seems, so heck if I won't take them when I can get them.

Props for calling back the first movie where the zombies look normal until they decide to attack.

...aaaaaand the Director/Writer's name is bigger then anyone else's in the credits. Hm.

So we cut to Tokyo's Umbrella Enclave where it was revealed Wesker was holed up at the end of the last film, with the Alice army launching a full on assault on the complex. Is it wrong the first thing I noticed is how immaculate all those vehicles looked despite four years of dissuse? This happens throughout the film, with stuff looking a lot nicer then it really should. At the same time, these movies are made on a budget so I shouldn't begrudge the crew for not wanting to dirty up the rentals.

In any event, the Alice Clones run amok, with their powers raging unchecked when in the last film moving objects even a little caused her to almost pass out and shoot blood from her nose. Wesker gets away and detonates the Tokyo Facility, killing all the Alice Clones and effectively wrapping up that dopey plot point from the third movie. And there was much rejoicing!

...Jesus, does Wesker divide by zero to blow up the base? What the heck kind of device does that?

But wait! One Alice Clone survived - or no, I guess she's the original since she's alive and all despite the fact Wesker shouldn't know if she was a clone or not, let alone informing the AUDIENCE of this fact. Wesker injects her with Plot Juice that returns her to her normal Human State. Remember this because it's going to be important later.

Immediately there after, Wesker - who forgot to put the plane on Autopilot before he started monologuing - manages to crash his plane. Alice walks away unharmed. Um...hey Paul W.S. Anderson? Maybe you should have taken care of the plot juice after putting your title character through a horrific plane crash where she wasn't strapped in and they dove nose first into a mountain. Just sayin.

So Alice manages to get from the Islands of Japan to Russia (Why? Because her flight jacket's in Russian), commandeer a Magic Plane (No need for fuel) and head to the "Arcadia" place mentioned in the previous film.

Awesome! Goofy introduction is out of the way, now we can get on with the plot!


....no. Not really.

I'm not going to review this movie blow by stupid blow, but I hope if the opening sequence conveyed just how poor a movie this was - even by the Resident Evil standards of movies!

The plot goes nowhere most of the time and makes no lick of sense the rest of the time (Spoiler alert! Wesker's alive and appearently in charge of Arcadia for fresh Human DNA samples? But weren't they advertising BEFORE and...ya know what? Not worth the effort), and all the action is based on "Rule of Cool" logic.

What struck me most about this film is it has a considerably larger budget then the last outing. My only guess is the fact this movie was one of the vanguard of the Neo-3D Revolution is why it managed to get the budget to put in all the 3D effects...which look stupid in 2D. Seriously, I've seen some GOOD 3D movies in 2D even back in the original era of this filmmaking fad. Anderson deliberately slows down the action to allow the audience to oogle the 3D which just makes the whole movie drag relentlessly for a 2D watcher.

And it's obvious Anderson was banking on those effects being the major selling point, because heck if this movie does anything or goes anywhere. The other three movies had their issues, even I won't deny that. But they followed basic storytelling rules: Beginning, Middle, End characters grow and change along the way.

Afterlife has NONE OF THAT. It's one long action sequence strung out to feature length presentation. Oh sure, there's a little touched on about Arcadia and what it was all about, but it's very off the cuff and phoned in.

Indeed, I never thought I'd say this about a Resident Evil movie of all things, but there was a distinct lack of plot anywhere. Zombies that appearently burrow and have split faces, something distinctly new to the film's gallery of villains are never touched on. heck, they're never even commented on. No one points out "Hey, this is new behavior and oh my gawd what's wrong with your faaaaaaaace?!".

I'm taking it that their some kind of new enemy since the games has moved away from Umbrella and into the origins of the T-Virus and these were thrown in as fan wank. Speaking as someone who is a fan of the films and not the games - This would be a good thing to explain! By the point they show the Zombie Dogs and Wesker doing it, I found the whole thing laughable. I mean seriously?! A little world building here? A line of dialogue? A computer screen explanation? Something? Anything?

Oh, and Pyramid Head got lost and wandered into the movie for a few minutes. Still trying to figure out what the heck that was all about.


The characters aren't even worth talking about. Alice is supposedly depowered but she's able to kick glass in mid-fall and cut an enemy in half. Claire's a non-entity for most of the movie with her memory gone, and Chris gets a line of backstory. That's it. One Line.

Oh and appearently the Redfields have been a pain in Wesker's side before. That much I know is a callback from the games but you know what? You've pretty much established at this point Paul Anderson that your movies are not the games!


There's no need to know anything about any of the other characters in the film. They don't do anything worth noting and most of them have two lines of dialogue. I can't even say they were good death scene fodder. The death scenes in this film were some of the lamest and tamest I've ever seen in the franchise (Zombie gives you nom kiss and drags you away).


Milla Jovovich is even phoning this one in. Her expression never changes from dull attentiveness and she rarely bothers with any sort of inflection. I mean, say what you will about the woman's career, but everyone knows she can friggen act when she wants to.

heck, we don't even get a scene of her naked, which seems to be a prerequisite of her doing movies, especially the Resident Evil ones. When your lead character isn't going to slip even a nipple in a movie where she has in all other installments, you know the movie's in trouble.

Throw in a bullocks ending (The Logic Errors...brain...hurt...) as well as a "Cliffhanger" ending (please, no more) and all I can say is thank heaven I didn't spend more then $10 on my copy. The movie is drek, even by the standards of the franchise it unfortunately shares a name with. There is zero character development, zero explanation for these new types of zombies or Pyramid Head, and zero plot.

Paul W.S. Anderson doesn't even toss a bone to the general Zombie Movie audience in a creative death sequence or two. Honestly, I don't know who this movie was marketed towards beyond some mythical "Three Deeee!" movie goer who would see it strictly for the 3D.

It's obviously not catering to fans of the films, because in a move I'd have never thought possible it has the least amount of plot then any of them combined.

It's obviously not catering to zombie fans, for the reasons I've mentioned above.

I can't even see how it's catering to fans of the video games, because all the new monsters are just thrown at you without context or explanation. For hug's sake, if we can get a line of dialogue explaining the origin and purpose of the Lickers from the first movie is it so hard to throw in another explaining the Nom Face Zombies? The movie does a good job making you think they're somehow tied with Arcadia but no. Not really.

Seriously, this movie is a bomb in every possible way. I just pray that this movie doesn't spawn yet another sequel. My good will lasted through four movies. Don't make me have to turn around in another few years and force myself to watch yet another one.

Oh, and as an aside, just man up and pay Mason whatever royalties he wants for the original movie's theme music. heck, you got it back for the third movie. The theme for this one just sounded like some tone deaf person was put in front of a keyboard synthesizer and just hit random notes.
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PostSubject: Re: The Resident Evil Franchise   Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:28 pm

I saw the latest one in the theater. Garbage.
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