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Saturday, May 04, 2002

To quote those entirely regrettable, Durst-affiliated, angstful nu-metal mopers Staind, "It's been a while".

How have things been with you and yours? I've been working crazy shifts and insensible hours in an effort to save up enough wedge to buy a nifty new Nintendo GameCube console, and thus the updates here haven't been noticably conspicuous - 'Non-existant' is more like it, frankly.

And, to make matters worse, this guff is being typed in a Cyber Cafe at the end of my last night shift of the week - As I look at the clock on the wall, it tells me that I've been up for nigh-on Seventeen hours and that's pretty much a sign that I should drag my ass home and get some of that new-fangled sleep that all the kids are trying these days.

But that would be yet more dereliction of duty and I can't countenance that, so I want to just quickly talk about one movie that I've squeezed into my life in the time that we've been apart.

I did get around to seeing a somewhat early and not-exactly-official screening print of the forthcoming "Resident Evil" movie a week or so back, and to be honest with you, I'm really not sure what I actually made of it. For one thing, this sucker seems to be gunning firmly for a '15' certificate in the UK, which doesn't really suggest that "Resi" is going to be the last word in cinematic zombie terror. Watching the movie, I was struck by just how much director Paul Anderson had dialled back the gore implicit in Capcom's best-selling series of "Survival Horror" videogames - Whenever somebody is offed in this flick, the camera drops back and shrinks away from depicting anything too graphic or unpleasant.

Folks, this is a zombie flick that we're discussing here - Isn't unrelenting gore and nastiness kind of the point?

The mainly unmemorable cast are solid and dependable and do their best with a script which is exposition-heavy and quite surprisingly light on thrills - By my reckoning, "Resi" takes around forty minutes to actually get rolling and even then jerks around unevenly between some remarkably low-key action sequences. It's safe to say that the Brothers Wachowski won't be losing sleep over the prospect of perennial Brit underachiever Anderson usurping their status as paradigm-shattering genre auteurists.

The most annoying aspect of this film is the cavalier fashion with which it entirely fails to utilise Michelle Rodriguez, reducing her to a cipher role in the background and the less than inspiring heroics it cooks up for Milla Jovovich's heroine, amnesiac babe-next-door, Alice. One memorable, wire-fu confrontation with a pack of evil zombie pooches apart, Jovovich gets to do little except suffer prettily and wear a form-fitting red silk minidress - I may not be an expert on fashion, but I think that more substantial threads are a good idea when kicking a whole lot of undead mutant beastie asses.

When Hollywood actually gets a shot at presenting a movie in which women get to take on the action duties normally handled by folks like Jet Li and Bruce Willis, it's sadly typical that they low-ball the damn thing and don't follow in the proud tradition of female-fronted actioners which are so synonymous with the career of James Cameron.

Some neat effects and an ending which sets up a better-looking sequel, a positively synapse-clearing industrial metal soundtrack by Marilyn Manson and Milla Jovovich's undeniable loveliness don't make this essential viewing but if every other cinema on June 14th is showing a sold-out screening of Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man", you could probably do worse than check this out - Fans of the games will get much more out of it than Joe and Joanna Normal Punter, however.

Forewarned is forearmed, and all that....


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