Movie Review – Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Has it really been 15 years since the first Resident Evil movie? I’m convinced Milla Jovovich is a vampire, she never seems to age. 😀 While I’m not a big fan of the series, I have watched all the films online. So when I heard that the ‘final’ instalment of the series was out, I thought it fitting to go and catch it at the cinema.

Synopsis: 

The film kicks off with an origin story, of how the T-Virus came to be. Dr James Marcus, the original founder of Umbrella Corp, had a daughter who was dying of premature aging. To save her, he developed the virus to cure all diseases on Earth. Initially it seemed to work, but the side effects were soon apparent, turning people into zombies. Marcus’ business partner Dr Isaacs wanted to use it as a military weapon, but when Marcus refuses, the Dr murders him.

Fast forward to the future, Alice (Jovovich) emerges as the only survivor at humanity’s last stand at the now-ruined White House. Searching for survivors, the Red Queen (computer from the Hive, Umbrella’s headquarters) appears and tells Alice to return there because Umbrella Corp has developed an airborne antivirus which will kill all organisms infected by the T-Virus before wiping out the rest of humanity.

Alice races against time to get there, but is captured by Dr Isaacs. She escapes and bands with a group of survivors, including Claire Redfield, to get to the Hive. On the way there are various obstacles to get through, including mutated dogs, monsters and more zombies, as well as the pursuing Dr Isaacs. Upon their arrival, the Red Queen tells them that there is an antivirus, and reveals the reason she is helping them is to put a stop to Umbrella’s plans which was all along to wipe out humanity with an apocalypse while their top employees remain frozen in the facility, and emerge in a ‘cleansed’ world which they could rebuild in their image. It’s up to Alice and her pals to put a stop to Umbrella’s evil plans and end the virus once and for all.

Verdict

I was pleasantly surprised to find that The Final Chapter was a decent wrap-up, tying up some loose knots and ends of the story whilst delivering lots of action, guns and zombies. If you’re not familiar with the RE-universe, though, it can still be enjoyed as a regular action film. There are somethings that are overly cliche: too many jumpscares, for instance, and the usual ‘who dies next in Alice’s group’ plot, but the action sequences are well executed and there is some semblance of story. Still can’t live up to my favourite, the first RE, but it’s not a complete bomb. Fitting end to a franchise that hasn’t always been the best in terms of storytelling/logic, but still raked in lots of moolah all the same.

Score: 6/10 

 

The Movies – Transporter: Refueled

Having never watched the original Transporter series (I hear the gasps!), I didn’t have a benchmark to compare with for Transporter: Refueled, the latest installment in this successful French franchise.  Produced by famed screenwriter Luc Besson (of Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional fame), T:R replaces the lead man, Hollywood action film heavyweight Jason Statham, with a relatively new English actor called Ed Skrein.

Synopsis: 

Sticking to the original premise of earlier Transporter films, former special operations mercenary Frank Martin (Skrein) is still making a living as a driver-for-hire, transporting classified packages for questionable people.

Frank accepts a job from prostitute Anna and her accomplices, only to find that they have performed a bank robbery and are making use of him as a getaway car. He is forced to drive them and lose pursuit of the police when Anna shows him a video of Frank’s dad, who has been kidnapped by another accomplice.

In exchange for his dad’s freedom and safety, Frank agrees to help Anna in her mission to rob all the kingpins of a human trafficking cartel and bring the leader, Arkady Karasov, down. Things get a little personal.. since Karasov was once a mercenary working together with Frank.

Verdict: 

With a relatively tame budget of 22mil (considerably lesser than many Hollywood productions), the film still manages to pull off beautiful cinematography and excellent action scenes. Shot in Monaco, the scenery is nothing less than breathtaking.  Frank drives a virtually indestructible Audi S8, which crashes through an airport, knocks off a few fire hydrants and flies up a ramp into the air with not so much as a single scratch. It felt like a two-hour commercial for Audi with a story thrown in to mix things up.

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“I’m the real star of this movie, bitches”

That aside, Transporter: Refueled doesn’t veer from the classic, tried-and-tested action film plots – macho lead actor, fight scenes, guns, women in skimpy clothing, a Russian warlord being served due justice. Revenge is the main theme in the story, but it comes at a steep price (no spoilers, but you’ll see what I mean if you watch it!) The film also explores the (sometimes hilarious) father-and-son relationship between Frank and his dad, so it wasn’t all just guns and booty. 

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“Explosions ? Pssshh. Look cool, Frank. Look cool.”

I’ve never heard of Skrein (an Internet search found that he was in GoT for three episodes). As replacement for Statham, he definitely had big shoes to fill. I think he delivered as well as he could, the acting is pretty good (although it feels as though he was trying too hard to look cool at times) and the fight scenes were not overdone. It doesn’t hurt that the guy is a total babe – sort of like an older, more rugged version of Nicholas Hoult.

Overall, I think T:R is your typical action film; not bad, but not extraordinary either. If you’re expecting unique, original storytelling, this is not for you. If you like guns, explosions, bad guys being beat up, Audi S8 drifting scenes, and skimpy babes, then yes – go watch Transporter: Refueled.

Score: 6/10. 

Bonus:

The film has a bad-ass soundtrack.