When RESIDENT EVIL first arrived in theatres back in 2002, it was a good and gory time waster. The bloody action flick was a little bit of horror and a whole lot of sexy with the gorgeous Milla Jovovich, as well as the badassness of Michelle Rodriguez. Director Paul W.S. Anderson managed to create an excitingly slick sci-fi horror movie that audiences were down for. Now the critics werenít nearly as impressed as the original chapter of this franchise is currently rated only 34% on Rotten Tomatoes. Albeit we all know that money talks and when a movie made for 33 million manages to gross more than a hundred worldwide thanks to decent word of mouth, you are gonna get a sequel.
I hate to admit it, but Iím one of those guys that have found my way into the theatre for nearly every RESIDENT EVIL movie. Thatís five flicks in this franchise if youíve lost count. Truth be told I even had a bit of fun with the recent RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION. I especially dug the sequence when the zombie takeover begins and Milla Jovovich is just a mother protecting her child. It was one of the rare occasions where RE managed to actually muster up some serious scares. Even still, RETRIBUTION seemed to function as a ďbest ofĒ in this hyper-stylized universe, which is a nice way to say that it was very repetitive. And predictably in the final scene, director Paul W.S. Anderson sets up Alice and company for another impossible mission. Even as a begrudging fan, I have to say enough already.
Before Anderson became a slightly one-note filmmaker engulfed in the world of RE, he dabbled in a number of cool little genre flicks. Whatever happened to his more ambitious big-screen endeavors including the under-appreciated SOLDIER in 1998 which featured Kurt Russell being Kurt Russell Ė can that dude get ANY cooler? Or what about the 2008 remake of the cult classic DEATH RACE (which has also spawned a series of sequels) where he displayed some serious cinematic carnage and gave Jason Statham a chance to cause a little mindless mayhem? Both of these machismo laden action flicks happened to be worthwhile B-movies. They did their job and entertained audiences looking for loads of extreme violence. Where is that old sense of fun that Mr. Anderson once injected into these groovy types of Spike TV ready flicks?
And what about straight-up horror, the kind that I think Anderson is capable of? Well, back in 1997 the directorís flair for visuals appeared to be heading in a very intriguing direction. If you look at a film like his bloody space odyssey EVENT HORIZON, he offered a terrifyingly impressive Ė albeit crude - world of Gothic horror. For me as well as many other genre fans, this gore-soaked science fiction nightmare is the filmmaker at his best. With an impressive cast including Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne and Kathleen Quinlan, Anderson was able to lend some serious street cred to this low budget shocker. Sure the story itself is merely a space age haunted house flick, yet HORIZON manages to effectively create a tension filled atmospheric tale. The filmmaker showed a lot of promise with this gruesome horror trip, and frankly, this is one movie that I wouldnít mind seeing the director revisit in sequel form.
Itís really f*cking obvious. RESIDENT EVIL still makes money especially when Paul W.S. Anderson is directing Ė the franchise picked up when he returned to the directorís chair for AFTERLIFE in 2010 as well as RETRIBUTION in 2012. With the added box office dollars from the surprisingly decent 3D effects and of course the fact that they make a ton of money overseas, another sequel is a no-brainer business wise. Even with Anderson finally working on something completely different with the upcoming POMPEII, RESIDENT EVIL 6 is soon to follow. So whatís next? Another episode of Milla Jovovich killing a bunch of freakish monsters? Another group of beasties created by that pesky T-virus The Umbrella Corporation unleashed on an unsuspecting public? You bet your ass it is, as long as they make money.
Maybe itís the booze talkiní, but can we let this director move on please to a world far removed from The Hive? Paul W.S. Anderson may not be everybodyís idea of a truly innovative director, but how can he be if he continues to keep his wife Milla playing the same role over and over again. With any luck the upcoming disaster flick POMPEII will offer a fun time at the movies and make some buckage. If that happens maybe he can take a break from what is safe. I firmly believe Mr. Anderson has a pretty decent eye when it comes to action but itís difficult to rise above the routine when constantly recycling the same material. RESIDENT EVIL 6 is inevitable with a September 12, 2014 release date. Itís coming whether you like it or not. After that, can we all agree to finally put an end to this madness and let Paul W.S. Anderson move on from the same damn style over substance video game inspired franchise?