Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dead men writhing: A zombie double feature

I actually had this nice little plan to have that Nicolas Cage two-fer launch a series of double features -- boom, boom, boom. Alas, too much sh*t going on, and now I'm left to bang out what I fear will be a lame recap of a couple of so-so (at best) movies before I head out of town tomorrow morning. I know ... get pumped.

As dumb as Derek Zoolander and twice as deadly: "Resident Evil: Extinction"

Sigh. Yes, I have a weakness for these movies. Hell, for just about any zombie movie, but especially ones where the heroine is an a$$-kicking model. Milla Jovovich ... whoa.

In the latest installment of the series inspired by a video game -- did I sigh already? -- Milla's Alice is a loner roaming the western U.S. As the Umbrella Corp. continues to search for a way to cure the hordes of infected, flesh-eating undead around the world, Alice just ... is. Meanwhile, a scrappy band of uninfected is trying to find some haven. They encounter Alice, who has kooky powers, and the whole gang soon encounters the Umbrella Corp. All the while, diseased baddies try to kill the nice, normal people. Got all that?

This is Grade A silliness, of course, but you usually can count on some good action, courtesy of the agile and limber Milla. Alas, this latest episode is pretty weak. Despite the change in scenery from Raccoon City, the proceedings are mostly boring, and the special effects aren't that special. Even the presence of Ali Larter -- whom I've had a crush on since "Varsity Blues," doesn't help. Heck, I didn't even recognize her without her whipped cream bikini. Shame.

Bloody good time: "28 Weeks Later"

Like the monsters in the above film, the folks here aren't technically dead, just infected. And how. We start with a refresher on how the rage virus swept England in less than a month, with an attack on a house and the flight of Robert Carlyle, still trying to outrun his turn as a crappy James Bond villain. Then, 28 weeks later -- after the rage virus has subsided -- he and his two kids are in London, which is being repopulated with the help of U.S. soldiers.

We pause here for introspection and many scenes of a city and a people trying to put their lives back together. It's certainly subdued, and I was wondering if and when the action would pick back up. It takes a little time, and I won't spoil it by saying how the rage virus rears up again, but when it does ... whoa, nellie. Cue the handheld camera, folks. We're going for a wild ride!

What once was contained breaks out again, and when the military loses control, the enemies become twofold: the infected and the soldiers ordered to kill everything that moves. That leaves the kids, a scientist and a sniper who doesn't play the extermination game to find a way out of London, dodging bullets and bloodsuckers at every turn.

For all the moodiness in the first half of the movie, there's pretty good tension in the second, although it's definitely a downer when all is said and done. Gee, I can't wait for "28 Months Later." What happens then? A bunch of infected kick me in the nuts and eat my dog?


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