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Oct 222014
 

resident-evil

I figured there would be another sequel to this franchise, and here it is Resident Evil: Retribution. Taking place where the last movie left off, Alice (Milla Jovovich) continues her battle against the Umbrella Corporation and zombie outbreak. However, it starts out confusing.

First it shows a major battle in reverse. Then after Alice brings us all up to date throughout the first four films, the same battle is shown, as it should be. That would’ve worked better to not show the reverse version at all.

Then the story suddenly switches completely. Alice is a suburban housewife and has a deaf daughter named Becky (Aryana Engineer). It just a typical day, until the zombies start attacking from everywhere. Alice manages to get Becky to safety, but she doesn’t use any of her skills as though she had none.

The story jumps yet again. This time Alice wakes up in an Umbrella base. She is held captive with no idea on what became of her surviving allies. By this point, I begin to wonder where this movie is going due to the lack of consistency.

Things become clearer when Alice escapes the cell and fights approaching zombies with her awesome kick butt moves. Now that’s the Resident Evil franchise I remember.

Alice’s only ally at this point is Ada Wong (Li Bingbing), a former Umbrella operative. She helps Alice get through the facility in order to escape, but it won’t be easy. The base is huge with large simulations of Tokyo, New York, Moscow, and Suburbia, populated by clones and zombies.

The most recognizable clones were the ones of Rain (Michelle Rodriguez). It’s nice to know that she returns after the first movie.

Luckily, there’s a strike team outside the base, led by Luther West (Boris Kodjoe). Remember him from the last movie? They have set a bomb to blow up the whole place in two hours, so they’re on the clock to look for Alice and Ada and get out.

Among the monsters Alice and Ada encounter is the axeman with the homemade axe/sledgehammer. The only difference now is that there are two of them. The battle was intense, but Alice and Ada survive. You’d think that Alice would come up with something wittier to say than, “Hey, boys. Bad idea.”

Of course that’s nothing compared to the new giant monster called the Uber Licker. Now that is one freaky grotesque creature. There’s no mention of how it was created. I can only imagine.

This was an exciting sequel with a great amount of zombie killing action. It seems that Umbrella is never going to give up on going after Alice, no matter how many times she defeats them. I wonder what’s next in store for her.

Mar 152013
 

Highly skilled warriors have always been both inspirational and interesting heroes in pop culture. From martial artists to “chosen ones” with special powers, these ladies really make an impression with their amazing skills. Here are some of my favorites, who I find fascinating.

#10) Red Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen) from Red Sonja: This warrior is not only highly skilled with a sword, but also has an amazing jumping ability. I like to think of Sonja as a pre-Xena kind of warrior woman, even though she is difficult, especially when it comes to winning her heart by defeating her in a fair fight.

#9) Yim Wing Chun (Michelle Yeoh) from Wing Chun: Now here’s a martial artist like no other. She not only has fast reflexes, some of which are highly exaggerated, but also has a comedic wit. Wing Chun makes all of her fight moves look so smooth and easy that not even the toughest bandits can touch her. Her only limit is that she never kills. She only toys with her foes. It’s all part of what makes Wing Chun a big favorite of mine.

#8) Alice (Milla Jovovich) from Resident Evil films: Amazing combat skills and smooth moves are what make her the hottest heroine in the franchise. Whenever faced with ravenous zombies, mutant canines, or other dangerous beasts, Alice will fight it. Alice’s abilities are so extraordinary that Umbrella Corp decided to make many clones of her, which keep getting killed in their deadly obstacle course. It just seems so wasteful.

#7) Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: She was once a high school cheerleader, only to receive the strength and skill of a type of warrior called the slayer. Now Buffy spends much of her spare time battling evil supernatural beings from vampires to demons and sometimes the rebellious slayer Faith with her martial arts and comedic wit. Luckily, Buffy never has to fight alone.

#6) Helen (Gina Torres) from Cleopatra 2525: She leads the trio of freedom fighters and is the only one who can communicate with the anonymous Voice because of the receptor inside her ear. Helen is a courageous fighter, but has a personal grudge against Creegan for murdering her father. Whenever Helen faces Creegan she struggles to stay focused on the task at hand. Luckily, her teammates Sarge and Cleo are always there to watch her back.

#5) Princess Amelia (Amber Benson) from Attack of the Gryphon: She is the princess of Lockland and a noble leader. Whatever the adversary, man or beast, Amelia shows no fear, especially when there’s a task. I admire her devotion, but she hardly ever loosens up. I wonder what Amelia does on her leisure time when she’s not fighting battles, or going on quests to save her kingdom.

#4) Beatrix Kiddo a.k.a. the Bride (Uma Thurman) from Kill Bill: She was a trained assassin specialized with any kind of weapon. When Beatrix decides to give up that lifestyle, she gets hunted down and nearly killed by Bill, her lover and sensei. Although Beatrix’s main focus is revenge, I sure admire her will power. Even against overwhelming odds, she never lets up.

#3) Chun-Li from Street Fighter franchise: Ever since her first appearance on the Street Fighter 2 Super NES video game, Chun-Li has always been a huge favorite in the franchise with her jumping skill, powerful kicking moves, and sex appeal. There have been at least several versions of Chun-Li over the years, but her story is always the same. She didn’t become a street fighter for personal glory. Chun-Li merely wants revenge on Bison for her father’s murder. Here are a few of my favorite movie versions.

Street Fighter: Ming Na plays the role as a reporter covering the war in Shadowloo, but also goes undercover in an attempt to take her revenge.

Street Fighter 2 the Animated Movie: In this Anime film, Chun-Li is an Interpol agent. She has the same grudge against Bison, but always keeps a clear head because she knows that duty comes before personal feelings.

Street Fighter the Legend of Chun-Li: The most recent version played by Kristin Kreuk features more of Chun-Li’s background, including how she learns to use the Hado fireball from later Street Fighter video games.

#2) Xena (Lucy Lawless) from Xena Warrior Princess: She was once a dangerous warlord, but thanks to Hercules she now uses the many skills she developed over the years to become a heroic warrior. Like Hercules, Xena travels around helping others in need while making up for a lifetime of evil. Some of her fighting moves are highly exaggerated, but I admire her strength because even while Xena is vulnerable, she can still kick butt easily.

#1) Charmed Ones from Charmed: If there’s one team of women that deserve to be on top, it’s the Halliwell sisters.

Prue (Shannen Doherty) is the courageous leader. Combined with her telekinetic powers, I definitely see Prue worthy of the title Noble Warrior.

Piper (Holly Marie Combs) has the power to freeze anything in its place. Her powers eventually expand with the ability to blow up enemies. Of course it’s really Piper’s comedic persona, which usually comes from being irritated, that makes her a big favorite.

Phoebe’s (Alyssa Milano) power is only limited to premonitions, but don’t underestimate her. Phoebe’s martial art skills always pack quite a punch in battle.

Then there’s Paige (Rose McGowan), who is half witch and half white lighter. Her telekinetic power is different from Prue’s, but still just as useful in battle. It’s also neat that Paige can orb anywhere at anytime, which gives the Charmed ones more of an edge.

Apr 182012
 

Milla Jovovich is back again as Alice in the fourth installment, Resident Evil: Afterlife. This time the zombies are still a threat and those scientists who used to experiment on Alice have taken refuge underground in a high-tech fortress. That all changes when Alice breaks in with her smooth fighting skills. She also has that telekinetic force field power down to an art now.

During the battle, it’s also revealed that Alice isn’t alone. She has clones helping her out. Unfortunately, the Alices all get killed after succeeding in blowing up the fortress. All except the real one, who ends up losing her powers completely.

Later, Alice flies a biplane to Alaska to look for the surviving members of the convoy from Resident Evil: Extinction in the town of Arcadia. There were transmissions coming from there saying that it had a refuge away from the zombies. When Alice arrives, she only finds Claire (Ali Larter) with a mind controlling spider robot, which also causes memory loss.

Once Claire comes to her senses, she and Alice fly to a security prison in Los Angeles, which is strong enough to keep the zombies out. After landing, Alice and Claire find some survivors and learn that Arcadia is not a town. It’s a ship that’s not far from the prison. How could they have known that?

The plan now is to figure out how to get everyone to the ship past all of those zombies. Chris (Wentworth Miller), a prisoner who is revealed to be Claire’s brother, has a plan, but no one else trusts him. That soon changes once the zombies find a way to sneak in underground to the showers. You’d think they would’ve waited until after Alice started showering before breaking in.

These zombies have a new feature also. Their mouths open like Venus flytraps with snakelike fangs. Luckily, Alice has a trick up her sleeve. She uses quarters for ammo. I never realized they could be that lethal. On the other hand, there’s no casino for her to use them.

Soon the prison gates fail because a new masked monster called and axeman arrives with a giant homemade axe/sledgehammer. There’s no explanation about what he is, or where he came from. Only that he’s tough and not even bullets to the head can stop it.

Back in the showers, both Alice and Claire fight the masked monster in an exciting boss battle. It takes a lot to beat this guy and I also wonder if he really made that weapon all by himself.

Only a few survivors manage to escape with Alice to Arcadia, but it’s not over yet. New surprises await them on the ship, which include the return of the mutant zombie dogs. What’s a Resident Evil movie without them?

I liked this exciting sequel. Alice has done well without her powers, but will she need them again?

Nov 082010
 

Resident Evil – Extinction is the third installment based on the horror video game franchise. Oddly, it starts out exactly the same way as the first Resident Evil film with Alice (Milla Jovovich) waking up on the shower floor and then exploring the place in that red dress. Am I watching the right movie?

A few minutes later, it is revealed to be the right one. Alice encounters the laser lights from that corridor and escapes them by the skin of her teeth, or should I say boot? Soon a mini laser trap kills her, but not to worry. That wasn’t the real Alice. She was one of many clones, who were created by those research scientists and died by a booby-trapped field test. Now that’s just wasteful and sad having all those pretty Alices lying in a ditch.

As it turns out, the nuclear bomb may have wiped out all of the zombies in Raccoon City, but it didn’t stop the virus from spreading all over the world. The surviving officers from Resident Evil: Apocalypse, along with some new ones, are always on the move killing zombies and taking names in homemade armored vehicles as a convoy.

Meanwhile, the real Alice has to deal with a group of thugs and zombie dogs at a radio station and a major bug problem at a gas station before joining up with the convoy. Rations are very scarce, so the journey keeps getting tougher all the time while searching for survivors.

The real Alice is spooked with all that’s happening.

Alice still gets nightmares about being experimented on. It’s so severe that it causes all of the inanimate objects around her to levitate. Once she wakes up, they all drop back down. There goes another motorcycle.

Things really start to go crazy when a whole bunch of zombie crows arrive and attack. That’s even creepier and more massive than the zombie dogs. It’s then revealed that Alice has a new skill, a telekinetic force field much like Susan Storm from Fantastic 4. She used it to take out all of the crows. Could be a useful skill, even if it does scare everyone.

As the convoy gets smaller, their only hope now is get to Alaska where it’s safe, but first they have to stock up on rations in Las Vegas. It’s a long way fighting past those zombies and through all that desert sand. And no opportunities to gamble, or to have a photo taken with a showgirl.

I met Brian Steele, who played Rancid, at Spooky Empire 2010. He has played many different types of monsters in films like, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Underworld, and Doom.

This was a good sequel. Alice is amazing as ever with her fighting skills. She is one of a kind, even if she was cloned about a hundred times. I wonder what was going through Alice’s mind after she found all of those other Alices in the ditch.

Oct 292010
 

Here’s a new special treat for Halloween. The horror genre is highly popular, not only in movies, but also in video games, especially with the amazing graphics that make it look more like a realistic exploration. Here are some of my favorite video games that provide adventure and spooky delight. No, I’m not talking about the ghost house levels from the Super Mario Bros. franchise. These go even further with facing monsters in creepy venues, but without too much gore. I’ve also included clips from each game, which I found on YouTube, to help set the mood.

#10) Resident Evil 4 (Play Station 2): Personally, I prefer the movie versions to the video games, but this one was adventurous with a commando shooting zombies in villages and castles. What I don’t understand is why Alice isn’t the hero this time around.

#9) Condemned: Criminal Origins (X-Box 360): I don’t own an X-Box console, but I found out about this game from a series that was on the Gameplay HD network called Cinemaddicts. The idea of a framed FBI agent looking for a killer who kills serial killers with their own methods makes for an interesting mystery/horror story. I miss the Gameplay HD network. What could’ve happened to it?

#8) A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES): Although I wasn’t hugely into the movie versions (with the exception of the very first one) this game was pretty adventurous. You go through all kinds of buildings while punching out all sorts of enemies and bosses that are Freddy Kruger-like. However, you have to search around for bones scattered throughout every area and find them all before you can move on. That can get a little tiresome. If you were to compare this Freddy to the one in the horror film franchise, he’s practically a pushover.

#7) Monster House (Play Station 2): I don’t care how tame this game (based on the movie) is, based on other reviews. Exploring the inside of a possessed house with evil living objects at every turn can be plenty spooky. Considering that the kids’ only ammo is water and the joystick vibrates like a heartbeat in order for you to feel the adrenaline they’re experiencing.

#6) Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Super NES): After getting used to the newer joystick and better graphics on Super Mario World, I tried my hand at other games for the Super NES, starting with this one. The graphics and story line were amazing and the levels are full of scary monsters. What I remember most were the zombies that rise out of the ground in their caskets. However, the hero Arthur doesn’t take many hit points, so I found the challenge frustrating.

#5) Zombies Ate my Neighbors (Super NES): Compared to most video games with the horror genre, the graphics are a bit cartoonish. However, this game has every basic type of horror movie monster in the book. The heroes are young teens, Zeke and Julie, who are armed with water pistols and various objects, on the search for victims in all sorts of places. The levels do seem endless, but the concept is still great.

#4) House of the Dead 3 (Nintendo Wii): Shooters are fun at the arcades, but this was the first shooter I’ve played for the Nintendo Wii and I loved it. The story line mostly takes place at a science facility because that’s where the various zombies were regenerated. One boss that really sticks out is the muscular security guard that’s highly persistent. Seriously, how many bullets to the face does it take to kill this guy?

#3) Super Castlevania 4 (Super NES): Even though the Castlevania franchise continues in popularity, I still find this game a classic monster quest. Simon Belmont whips his way through all sorts of creepy areas that are haunted with eerie spirits and bosses that are at least twice his size. And don’t forget about how the skeletons explode when whipped. That is so cool.

#2) Shivers (CD-ROM): Sorry, but I just had to mention this old classic from the 90s. It’s one of the first games I’ve played in which you’re exploring from the young hero’s viewpoint. Although there are only ten evil Ixupi spirits in the whole game, they could be hiding anywhere in the haunted museum waiting to strike. The horror is mostly in the suspense.

#1) House of the Dead Overkill (Nintendo Wii): This is definitely the ultimate horror shooter for the Nintendo Wii. There are all sorts of zombies and/or mutants in this one, some of which I’ve never even imagined. All the better the reason to use a machinegun, unless you’re aiming for combo points. On the other hand, who would actually think about that in a real zombie situation? Of course you have to be careful not to shoot any civilians.

On a side note, when my sister and I were playing this, there was a level that had clowns in it. At first we weren’t certain if they were enemies or not, but she didn’t care either way. It was hilarious, even if the clowns did turn out to be zombies.

Disclaimer: Due to the X-rated gore and constant use of the ‘F’ word, you’ll have to settle for images instead of a YouTube video clip. I apologize for the inconvenience.