Sabtu, 04 Februari 2017

Critic Reviews: ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’

Don't get your hopes up: For fans, this installment adds little. For detractors, it's almost certainly not really the final chapter. Milla Jovovich in the sixth Resident Evil film. Remains fighting fit as she drives off into the sunset saying "my work is not done".

You must be know, the movie is called “,” but don’t let that get your hopes up. After all, “Resident Evil: Extinction” (2007) was hyped as “the third and final installment of the ‘Resident Evil’ trilogy,” and that was three chapters ago. In fact, the last scene of this frenzied yet tedious post-apocalyptic farrago strongly suggests that the long-running, video game-inspired franchise could very easily continue. All that’s missing is a climatic close-up of lead player Milla Jovovich dropping all pretense and winking at the audience, then laughing out loud.

Uptodate, that might have been a welcome sight for those of us who have been following the franchise since 2002, when the first “Resident Evil” movie introduced Jovovich as Alice, the most resilient of the commandos sent to the Hive, an underground laboratory of the mysterious Umbrella Corporation, after the experimental T-virus transformed several of the facility’s researchers (and quite a few dogs) into flesh-eating zombies. A lot has happened to Alice since then — she has gained, lost and regained super powers, and witnessed the zombification of almost the entire human race — but very little of it has been cause for laughter, or even a wry smile.
Read also : Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage
Things continue to be grim in “The Final Chapter,” which finds Alice alone amid the ruins of a devastated Washington, D.C. (evidently, that big battle foretold at the end of 2012’s “Resident Evil: Retribution” didn’t turn out so well) and surprisingly receptive to a summons from her long-time foe, the Red Queen, an artificial intelligence program that manifests itself as the hologram of a little girl with the voice of an autocratic schoolmarm. The Red Queen wants Alice to return to the Hive to obtain a vial of “airborne antivirus” to counteract the T-virus and, while she’s in the neighborhood, lay the smackdown on Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), the evil Umbrella Corporation honcho who has figured out a way to benefit from wiping out most of humanity. Alice killed Dr. Isaacs a few movies ago but, evidently, he got better.

The bad doctor is not the only thing that has been recycled here by writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson, who’s been involved with every film in the “Resident Evil” series and, not incidentally, is married to Milla Jovovich. In addition to repurposing situations, character types, and fight choreography from previous episodes, Anderson borrows freely from a host of other post-apocalyptic action-adventures — most notably, “Mad Max: Fury Road” — while charting Alice’s progress as she and a ragtag team of like-minded heroes (including series semi-regular Ali Larter) battle zombie hordes and Umbrella Corporation minions that stand in the way of their mission.

A few individual scenes of hand-to-hand and foot-to-face combat are undeniably exciting, and Jovovich once again impresses with her kinetic athleticism. Overall, however, the repetitiveness and occasional incoherence of the nonstop action leave the audience exhausted for all the wrong reasons. And it doesn’t help that the special effects — especially during the many, many fiery explosions — often appear at once expensive and unconvincing. Maybe it is time for everyone involved with the franchise to really, truly and absolutely call it a day

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Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage in XXX movie 2017

Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage after 15 years in a sequel to the original 2002 xXx and the 2005 Ice Cube outing xXx: State Of The Union. Talented costume designer Kim Tillman talked to me about Vin Diesel, Ruby Rose, and how to make a pair of pants survive a fall from a water tower without splitting.

When you first started this project, where did you look for inspiration?

I started with the first xXx. It’d been so long since I’d seen it. I really wanted to imagine the character of Xander Cage and see what he’d look like fourteen years later, which is roughly where we pick him up.
Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage in XXX movie 2017
xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE by Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios
He’s been hiding out for all those years. We first see him in the tropics. He’s gone from snowboarding to extreme skateboarding. He’s been hiding out, and now he’s back. So what would this extreme sports guy who’s now become a patriot spy, what would be the mentality of that person. What does that look like?

In a way, I got lucky because (director) D. J. Caruso had this beautiful research board up in his office, and a lot of my visual research happened to match his. So we were both on the same page and we started our conversation halfway through rather than the beginning.

We exchanged images, a lot of them inspired by extreme skateboarders. They have a specific vibe, an effortless cool thing. Then we had to translate that to Vin Diesel's physique.

Who inspired Xander Cage in particular?

The world of extreme sports, and guys that I just think look cool. Kelly Slater, a surfer. He has a build and a look similar to Vin. David Beckham. A bit of Lenny Kravitz. People who have that effortless cool. Guys that have, as Vin would call it, “swagger.”

It’s extreme sports but Xander's a grown up. He’s not that punk kid anymore. He has more layers. I wanted to concentrate on that rock and roll vibe. And Vin has that already.

Vin is so connected to this character. He loves him. He was really psyched up for his return. We talked a lot about the old Xander. What to keep and what things do we add? We didn’t want to stray too far from what was already established.

Was there a conflict between practicality and style?

I wouldn’t call it a conflict. More of a math problem to solve. I really wanted them to look chic and urban. A lot of black. But we didn’t want them to look like they were doing stunts. I didn’t want everyone dressed head to toe in lycra.

A lot of the cast are athletes. Nina Dobrev was a dancer, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa are both incredible martial artists, Chris Wu was a basketball player. So they all had their signature moves, specific kicks and stretches that we wanted to incorporate into the outfit. And a lot of these guys do a lot of their own stunt work.

We wanted them to look James Bond cool, while also incorporating those movements. So we really modified the clothes. We would add this fantastic stretch fabric and make it look like part of the outfit. We would take the piece that allowed them to move and turn it into a style piece. Stretch panels in the knee, to allow for excessive crouching, for example.

Some of the stunts people did for this movie were really outrageous. And when you watch sports, you see a lot of these kids now are actually doing these things. So the bar is raised. What are you going to do to top it, and how are you going to look dope while doing it? That was our mantra. It’s literally written in the script. (Laughs).
(L-R) Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, Donnie Yen as Xiang and Deepika Padukone as Serena Unger in CAGE by Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios

(L-R) Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, Donnie Yen as Xiang and Deepika Padukone as Serena Unger in xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE by Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios

Were there any specific brands you focused on?

Greg Lauren, wonderful L.A. designer. He takes old Italian army canvas and he remakes it into beautiful clothing. He was incredibly appropriate for Ruby Rose’s character, who was ex-military and ex-special ops. We used a lot of Burberry, John Varvatos. Classic, masculine clothing.

Some Micheal Kors. Vin loved a specific pair of jeans by Dsquared2.

It was a mixture of big brands and custom pieces. And I have to say, some of the best craft people I’ve ever come across work in Toronto, where we shot. We do this stuff in L.A., but if I ever wanted to copy, make, or modify something, they made it very doable. I really have to commend my crew and their suggestions for craft people.

Two of the women in this movie are not damsel- in-distress types, but warriors. What’s your approach to designing powerful women?

I’m so glad that’s a topic of discussion for this movie. To my mind, each of these characters could’ve been a woman or a man. They wear shorts when it’s hot and jackets when it’s cold. Ruby, Nina and Deepika (Padukone) are obviously beautiful, we can’t ignore that. But not one of them were waiting to be rescued. They’re powerful, they’re resourceful, and they go up against the men as well.

And all the women had their own style, a very distinct look. You’re not going to mix them up.

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