Video game movies have a long history of being, well, let’s say, slightly sub-par. There’s a whole ream of explanations for this, from video game narratives being dependent on interaction to games having premises that are frankly dull if transferred to a passive medium like cinema. Then there’s the issue that games characters are often left with blanks, allowing us to project ourselves into them more readily. Sometimes, however, the games can’t take all the blame. Just look at the rancid touchstone that is the first true game-based cinema flop: Super Mario Bros. Despite featuring some top talent in the form of Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper, and trying to take the frankly non-existent story from the franchise and beat it, like cinematic ironmongers, into a cohesive film, it failed horrendously. The number of positive reviews it received, at least from major reviewers, could be counted on one hand. It is singularly atrocious.
The Resident Evil movies? They’re a rare beast in that they started out on the right foot. The first movie is a kind of fun popcorn horror movie; not smart in the least, but certainly not terrible. Then the sequels came. Oh, so many sequels, all more tragic than the last, each one getting more and more desperate, reaching for some kind of cinematic approval in an industry so full of zombie films that the dead almost outnumber the living. In this article, I’m going to take a look at the films’ production, and find surprising secrets that may go some way to explaining their progression into farce.
25 Magical Disappearing Makeup
In Extinction, Alice can also be seen with lipstick donned while in her red dress, but it disappears in the next scene. Putting on makeup in the apocalypse is to be applauded enough, but why does it keep changing?!
24 Through The Looking Glass
This comparison seems more than a little intentional too, and is made explicit with the death of Lisa Addison, killed with an Alice in Wonderland paperweight.
23 A Cursed Production
22 Continuity Errors Ahoy
In Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Sienna Guillory had dyed her hair black while playing the role of Jill Valentine. However, in the next films in the series, Sienna is back to her natural shade of blonde. Are we to suppose that somehow, while traveling around the infected world, they keep stumbling across boxes of L’Oreal dye?
21 Reuse Is Better Than Recycling
Retribution isn’t the only film in the series which does this either. Apocalypse uses a whole sequence from its predecessor. I know that sometimes flashbacks serve as a stylistic choice, but this does rather reek of corner cutting.
20 Hurting For Your Art
It does, however, raise an interesting point on continuity. As most films don’t shoot their scenes in chronological order, are there scrapes in the early scenes which aren’t there in later ones? I’ll leave that to someone who likes the films more than I do to find out.
19 Cleanliness Is Next To Dogliness
How they managed to make them behave in the end is unclear, but the result is one of the standout scenes from the first movie, and a great call back to the franchise’s beginnings in gaming.
18 Always A Bad Sign
It may not be abortively bad, and, in a certain frame of mind, it can be entertaining, but nobody expects it to win the Palme d’Or, and the studio knew it.
17 Not Dressed For The Weather
16 Lights, Camera, Gunshot
As far as expensive bloopers go, it beats the $40,000 guitar which got smashed during The Hateful Eight’s filming, but is still dwarfed by the $200,000 model ship which Adama smashed in the Battlestar episode “Maelstrom.”
15 Creative Censorship
14 Showing Less Shame
The movie franchise is well known for one, more steamy aspect, that is Alice being shown in states of undress in all but one of the movies. However, the original movie was set to show even more intense scenes, before one small detail got in the way: Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson falling in love. The two first met on the set of the original movie, and while they didn’t get married until 2009, there was an agreement between the two of them regarding one of the original’s shots. According to Milla, one of the shots was going to show her chest in even more detail than we got, but once the two agreed that they had something real, Paul cut the offending shot from the movie.
13 Counting (Zombie) Crows
Even birds as intelligent as crows would prove to be troublesome to wrangle as a swarm, so this effect would have proved exceptionally useful during filming.
12 Snoop Zombie Dogg
11 Mr. Producer, Close Down This Square!
According to producer Don Carmody, the sequence in the square took nine hours to film, and of the 300 people on set at the time, 150 were Russian police officers. I find it pretty surprising that such a relatively low-budget film could essentially take over the Russian capital, but it’s testimony to the skill of the backroom staff behind the movies.
10 Stuntmen Going Hungry
Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t always work out for the movies’ stars. Boris Kodjoe (he of Real Husbands of Hollywood fame) decided that he also wanted to jump on this bandwagon and do his own stunts when he appeared in Afterlife. It didn’t go so well. The actor ended up dislocating his knee during filming while kicking a gate open. Maybe you should read up on your door kicking technique, Boris.
9 So Much To Answer For
One franchise of somewhat entertaining popcorn fodder led to such weird scenes as The Rock shooting demons in the face somewhat unconvincingly, Michael Fassbender doing his level best to pull off a cowl, Pyramid Head wobbling his way across a theater screen, and…whatever Max Payne turned out to be. I don’t know, I’ve never seen it, but its reputation precedes it somewhat.
8 Quite The Accident
“I could see the look on the first paramedic, saying ‘Oh my God’,” said emergency medical services Commander, David Ralph. The studio faced an investigation by Canada’s Ministry of Labor as a result of the industrial accident.
7 Wait, Why Was This Made Again?
No, in Apocalypse, it was established that the T-Virus was in fact made by Dr. Ashford for his daughter, Angie. So whose daughter was it made for? Was it made for a girl dying from premature aging, or to cure one of her disabilities like a viral Jesus? Just make your mind up, Resident Evil, come on!
6 Weapon Goofs
There’s also an issue in Afterlife with Alice’s choice of shotgun ammo. The issue here is that Alice likes to custom load her shells with quarters. It’s a neat little stylistic choice, but quarters are actually way too wide to fit down a 12 gauge barrel, and thus into a shell. If you could somehow jam the coins in, all that would happen is you’d be left with half of a shotgun at best.
5 No One Knows How Coordinates Work
4 Crow Consistencies
There’s another notable howler around the whole flamethrower sequence too. When Carlos is about to get turned into a finely barbecued human, the hand of the woman he’s holding appears to be restless. First of all, it’s on his shoulder, then it’s at his side, then back to his shoulder again, with no movement being shown on the part of the woman. What I’m trying to say, if you haven’t picked up on it so far is that these movies are badly constructed!
3 Better Than Judge Judy
2 Name That Voice
The portrayal of Wong met with a mixed reception in Bingbing’s native China. While many Chinese are happy to see Chinese actors spreading around the world, reviewers described her performance as leaving her with no room to act. Instead, reviewer Xiao Mei said, “all she’s doing is being pretty on screen, just filling in space.”
Sounds like pretty much everyone had the same issues with the movie then.