Resident Evil

Remember the days before Alien vs. Predator (2004) premiered in theaters?  You know, the days when it was not a requirement to hate Paul W.S. Anderson; but rather, a life choice similar in gravity to deciding one’s career, underwear preference and toilet paper roll position.  Once again, we here at the Cavalcade of Schlock ask you to journey with us back to simpler times when all we knew from Anderson was the terrifying Event Horizon (1997) and the greatest Enter the Dragon (1973) remake, Mortal Kombat (1996) and take a look at the first installment of the Resident Evil series.

Milla Jovovich stars as the aptly unnamed, amnesiac protagonist, an employee of the evil Umbrella Corporation (Traveler’s Insurance, I’m looking at you!), the world’s leading developer for all things technological, pharmaceutical and Frankensteinian.  Jovovich is a security operative stuck dealing with hordes of zombies after a botched theft of Umbrella’s T-Virus and an artificial intelligence-controlled security system kill everyone in Umbrella’s underground lab.  Luckily, Jovovich is not alone.  Joining her amidst an assortment of cookie-cutter paramilitary types are the always-annoying Michelle Rodriguez and the always under-used Colin Salmon.

Anderson does an excellent job of getting the action started early and maintaining that momentum throughout the course of the film.  (Also, starting with a semi-nude Jovovich doesn’t hurt.)  However, Anderson is hindered by a low-budget.  Get ready for a lot of shots that either look like the interior of every office building in which you have ever worked or else some unidentifiable void.  What should be atmospheric and/or a creepy technological installation comes across at best Syfy Saturday fodder and at worst an Uwe Boll film.  Compare this with Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis (2005) and tell me if there’s much of a difference.

While the action is fairly non-stop, the bulk of the action is based around classics of  video game logic: the “go here to get something over there working,”  the “find the artifact,” and the old standby “OHMYGOD WHY WON’T YOU DIE?”  Adding to the video-game-en-scène are a heavily techno-inspired Marilyn Manson soundtrack, awkward/fixed camera angles, random piano blares, and frequent looks at the “map screen.”  While these may seem like detractors, I found these homages enriched the film if only because Anderson did not randomly inject actual screen shots of the game into the film like other German-directed video game films (House of the Dead (2003))

My only real complaint is that 90% of the film is not scary.  If you have seen any zombie movie before, you’ve seen all the scares, jumps, and pop outs in this film.

[SPOILER] However, the ending sequence from the exit of the Hive to the final shot are truly scary.  If only because the sequence pops out of nowhere and tonally feels like nothing else in the film. [END SPOILER]

But, if you’re looking for a soild horror/action film, you could do worse than join the world's skinniest action star for 90 minutes of zombie ass-kicking.  That and the end shot is absolute gold.


In another live-stream twitter event, I decided to move up a few tiers in budget and name recognition, mostly to scrub the filth we've sat through the last two weeks out of our skull (my skull's still ringing from The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai). Instead we're going to go for a B movie that actually saw some screentime state-side.

Bloodrayne is based (albiet, loosely) on the video game of the same name.  It's main protagonist is a Half-Vampire/Half-Human on a quest to find her Vampire father and seek bloody vengeance against him. During the course of the video game, she takes out Nazi's, monsters, and other vamps while working for the Brimstone society, a secret organization that fights the forces of darkness.  Think Blade, but with more boobs...and Nazis.

But this is all beside the point. This is a Uwe Boll flick! Silly things like "story", "plotting", or any semblance of adhereing to the licensed property go out the window when dealing this German-born directoral equivalent of Ed Wood's used underwear. This man has made a career out of destroying video game properties. The worst part is that a lot of the properties he destroys could have decent movies made about them, like Alone in the DarkHouse of the Dead, and yes-Bloodrayne.  Granted, Hollywood's not exactly faring much better. Look at Doom. But to borrow a phrase from the Godfather, it's not-fer-nothin' that the three Uwe movies I just mentioned are all consistently listed on the IMDB Bottom 100.

Finally, the film stars Kristanna Loken and Ben Kingsley: or the T-X from Terminator 3 and Ghandi respectively. While I get why Michael Madsen and Billy Zane appeared in the movie (they seem to just say "yes" to everything), at the time this movie came out, KL's star was on the rise. Granted, it never really went anywhere, but still.  As far as Sir Kingsley, he's a knight for goddsakes! Lord knows, he only needs to work when he wants to, so I have no idea why he agreed to appear. Maybe it looked better on paper?

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, we are minutes away from starting Bloodrayne.
  • First ominous sign: “A Uwe Boll Film”
  • Meatloaf’s in this too! Now my day’s complete!
  • Well, it’s already better than The Source. It has tracking shots without camera shadows.
  • Aww…Michael Madsen with a long-haired ringlet do. He’s fallen so far from Reservoir Dogs
  • Woop. There goes the sheep! Hey, a movie that kills a sheep in the first 5 minutes can’t be all bad, can it?
  • Why is the Camera making “swooshing” noises when it moves?
  • Wait? What? She escaped from her cage? How? When?
  • Ok. Mental note. You keep a superhuman, vampiric creature prisoner, and you try to Rape her? Not only is that vile, it’s stupid!
  • I mean, if she’s capable of ripping your arm off with her bare hands, do you think it might be a good idea to keep bars between you?
  • Yup, it’s a sword and sorcery flick. Here come the Mullets!
  • People just stand around when strangers come to town and start beheading corpses? Rough neighborhood.
  • Then they kill innocent civilians and set them on fire? MY KIND OF HEROES!
  • Yay! Billy Zane in a “special appearance”! Also known as a REALLY bad Wig!
  • Uh oh…he got holes in his neck. That can’t be good.
  • Wow. That’s SOME fight choreography. in the way, know, BAD. But hey, she talks!
  • I like it when the person can be seen to be CAREFULLY placing the blade at the right point in someone’s chin.
  • Ooooh, lesbian vamp action…TWICE!
  • Wait, she can REMEMBER HER CONCEPTION????
  • You know, I’ve been watching some seriously bad movies…This movie is almost professionally made by comparison.
  • I’m gonna guess that it’s a BAD thing when the preternaturally strong woman keeps hearing voices.
  • You know, this movie is really calling to attention the fact that the weapons of Bloodrayne are really impractical
  • As is the outfit….
  • Why yes, LET’S just go wandering into the room guarded by the ugly troll. It can’t POSSIBLY be a trap!
  • Wait? Her weakness is just plain water??? And why does it burn through clothes?
  • Um… looks like you lost a contact, there.
  • It must really suck for her when it rains.
  • Wait, your order was guarding it for centuries? With 1 dude, and a booby-trapped room? Against freaking MONSTERS?
  • Oh hey, I just noticed that she’s trying for an English accent. How cute!
  • So all vamps are susceptible to rain. Wow. Worst. Weakness. Ever.
  • Watching Michael Madsen with a sword is about the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.
  • So, she has these tonfa sword-knife-thingies, and is instantly able to fight with them better than a master swordsman?
  • Uwe is distracting us from the movie with cleavage shots of Michelle Rodriguez without a bra. Smartest thing he’s done thus far.
  • Wait? Vamps can go out in daylight? But are afraid of WATER? UWE, WHAT?
  • Oh hey, Meatloaf with a bunch of Naked chicks. Movie’s looking up…
  • Worst. Guards. Ever. Let the vampire hunters walk on by!
  • Ok. Worst Vampires Ever! They just let the hunters right on by too!
  • You have a sword, but punch him in the face? WHAT KIND OF VAMPIRE HUNTER ARE YOU?
  • Hey, Mister Vampire Man, do you think it might have been a bad idea to design your secret lair with stained glass windows all around?
  • Wait, you said he raped and murdered your mother right in front of you. Then you flashed back to the event, he just killed her.
  • I’m not saying I wanted to see the assault. Far from it. But…He didn’t rape anybody. Hate the dude for what he did, you know?
  • Oh hey, Michelle Rodriguez is trying for an English accent too. Why is it only the women are trying for it?
  • Um…Uwe, wouldn’t it have made more sense to show the training montage, you know, BEFORE she was whuppin’ ass with the weapons?
  • Uh oh…the movie’s pausing for character beats. They’re now trying to 1-up each other over childhood tragedies. Not a good way to start a relationship.
  • Random sex time! They talk about their parents dying and it makes them HORNY???
  • I mean, bodice ripping, humpy-pumping, and all that is good and all..but…
  • I like how they keep cutting back to Kagen, being all menacing…by not moving from his throne at all
  • Those are the dullest swords I’ve ever seen! They have rounded edges!
  • Ok. Billy Zane is awesome in the fact that he’s just havin’ a good time.
  • Wait! I thought Vamps couldn’t cross water?
  • And if vamps are all weak against water, why do you need to have HOLY water at all?
  • uh oh, she’s hearin’ voices again!
  • Wait, you can hear the heart…and it sounds like…voices???
  • Wait, the “unfindable lost relic” was in their freakin’ BASEMENT???
  • For a secret society, they’re pretty dumb.
  • Uwe’s got some fetish issues to work through. He surely digs the lesbian vampire action…
  • Is it me, or are all the varied dungeons in this movie exactly the same?
  • I guess once you’ve seen one dungeon, you’ve seen them all
  • You know, breaking into an impenetrable fortress through the front door. Not the smartest plan.
  • Ok. This movie really falls apart the second people open their mouths. If nobody spoke, it might not suck as much.
  • Wow, Sir Ben, you are bored stiff, aren’t you?
  • Ok, the hero getting all out of breath climbing the stairs. Funny. Specially since it was just Madsen being out of shape.
  • Wait, if the heart wasn’t in the box, why was it talking to people???
  • Oh hey, they do have black vampires! One ran in to have its head cut off!
  • Grabbing your own sword by the blade in order to use it….not. Smart.
  • She REALLY should stop getting stabbed in the stomach.
  • Mental note: Don’t befriend Rayne. It means death.
  • Oh damn…they’re “Acting” again.
  • Wait, she was stabbed, but it didn’t cut the clothes?
  • And uh…what’s with the throne?
  • They’re really gonna go all Conan the Barbarian? REALLY?
  • Heh, the montage sequence is very clearly showing how inconsistent they were with her hair color during the movie.
  • And uh…she’s remembering things that didn’t actually happen during the movie.
  • Is this flashback sequence really going to go through the entire movie again? Why, yes!
  • Well…THAT made no sense.
  • But it’s over. So thanks for joining us for the screening of Bloodrayne. I’m going to find a stiff drink now.