By Andrew Buckner
Well, this is a fascinating turn of events for me. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017), the sixth addition in a video game inspired film franchise I always found satisfying (if for no other reason than these movies always seemed to know exactly what their spectators wanted and was unafraid to hand it to them in spades), is a gargantuan disappointment. Robotic enactments abound. This is most readily glimpsed in Mila Jovovich’s one-note and mumbling depiction of Alice. Worst of all, the movie jumps around at such a frenetic pace that within the first few moments it is hard to focus on anything but the rush this 106-minute presentation is in to get to its predictable climax. The incessantly annoying camera shots, largely evident in the first act, only further prove the stylistic mess writer-director Paul W.S. Andersen creates with the utilization of such components. It is also a testament to the jumbled storytelling, with the narrative concerning Alice returning to The Hive in Raccoon City after ten years to combat the evil Umbrella Corporation one final time, at hand. Moreover, the action scenes, though often intriguingly set-up, are poorly executed. They are also usually so brief that one can barely begin to figure out what is happening on-screen before they are gone. This is save for the occasionally gripping last half hour. We are also given an underwhelming battle that has been hinted at for ages in this section.
I will say that the various twists showcased in this afore-mentioned bit are unusually good. But, it does little to dilute the fact that there is little life and fun left in this ongoing saga. It doesn’t even provide sufficient number of run-ins with the undead to indulge bystanders from that basic angle. Congruently, Andersen’s paint by numbers screenplay fails to convey expository details as they were presented in earlier installments. I’m sure this isn’t just the zombie fatigue I’ve had for the last several years talking when I say, “Stay far, far away from this one.”
Rating: *1/2 out of *****.
(R). Contains occasionally graphic violence.
Now available to buy on video on demand.
On the other hand, Rings (2017), the third entry in a rebooted series I never really cared for before, is nowhere near as bad as most fellow critics and audience members would allow you to believe. It works better as a supernatural mystery than as a horror film. But, these elements still complement one another well. Likewise, the performances are strong all around. This is true of Johnny Galecki’s turn as Gabriel, a college professor, and Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz’s portrayal of our heroine, Julia. Similarly, the script from David Loucka, Jacob Estes and Akiva Goldsman is paced in a confident and relatively character-oriented manner.
Correspondingly, the proceedings were rarely dull. The ending arrangement was also quite enjoyable. This is even if it was predictable from the get-go. It served as a nice apology for the ridiculous, if still attention-garnering, sequence set inside a plane that commences the 102-minute long feature. The picture also stands triumphant where most horror endeavors fail. This is in the fact that it doesn’t rely solely on its antagonist, Samara (Bonnie Morgan), to accrue intensity.
Additionally, the plot, which concerns Julia going searching for her boyfriend, Holt (in a well-done representation from Alex Roe), and becoming caught up in the dealings of a tape that is said to kill you seven days after you watch it, is vastly more arresting this time around. This is thanks, primarily, to the invigorating and unique manner director F.Javier Gutierrez utilizes to relay the fiction. The result of these qualities, in my opinion, is the best of The Ring ventures. See it!
Rating: *** out of *****.
(PG-13). Contains some violence and intense moments.
Now available to rent or purchase on video on demand.
These two features stand as definitive evidence that expectations, especially artistic ones, can be deceiving. Don’t let these pre-conceived notions hold you back from what could potentially be a pleasantly surprising and rewarding viewing experience.