Resident Evil 5 (the movie): I am surprised – possibly impressed – by its audacity, which begins with the very first minutes and then continues to either astound or outrage in its clear-cut pursuit of simple thrills. In many ways the current Resident Evil film is simply a big-budget remake of the failed second film in the franchise, which again is either nice (to have a film brought up to date in terms of special effects) or terrible (in that most pretense of original drama has been left fallow, if not entirely salted-over). Also, the film seems intended for foreign markets, in that despite the high budget, the dubbing (or ADR) is atrocious – not only that of the Japanese action star who is present through most of the film (and evidently does not speak a word of English herself), but even that of the English-speaking cast, who seemed unable to break their vocal performances out of the “sound booth”. In sum this film is determined to mine some action out of a premise whose roots – a video game – are inherently too weak to support much more than a thrill-ride through various dangers. Be prepared to laugh along with the creators of this film (they give a few nods of awareness of the silliness) and it can be a fun romp. But a serious continuation of the saga, it is not. Seriousness seems to have been something only the very first Resident Evil film had, and while many will mourn that loss, this shambling continuation at least aims to entertain.
Oh, also, Milla’s voice has cleared up. Took me awhile to remember how hoarse she sounded in the previous film. She’s uniformly wonderful in this film.