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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011 Video Game)
5 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I thought Oblivion was dissatisfying, but this one is a tremendous load of crap. Bethesda Shovelworks should continue outsourcing their game design, because it's apparently something they can't do anymore. There was a time that Bethesda loved game design more than profits, but now that they've turned that on it's head, they should use those profits to hire a company that hasn't been eaten up by a corporate culture that is self-defeating to game production.

In terse: Shallow gameplay. Painfully poor story. Voices slightly less lackadaisical than Oblivion but nowhere near the enthusiasm of Shivering Isles. Bethesda used to have a stable of fine, developing talent; do they realize there's a problem that they couldn't get those voice actors back? Did they even notice the decline in their performance between Morrowind and Oblivion? This game may be rescued by the talented and dedicated mod community, but Bethesda doesn't deserve a cent it received for this lemon.
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Carnival Phantasm (2011– )
One for the Type Lunatics
1 April 2012
It's really better than I rated it, but it's so heavy on the fan-pandering that I'm disgusted with myself for enjoying it -- this is a guilty pleasure for the Type Moon fans, but anyone not familiar with their franchises would probably be quickly turned off by it.

The comedy vacillates between esoteric and sophomoric, gags are hit-or-miss, the ones that hit rely on experience with the characters, and the ones that miss...are all too often. But the level of self-parody is a healing respite for actors who deal with the emotional intensity of the Fate and Tsukihime stories -- Kara no Kyoukai characters could probably use that, but they're absent from this series.

It's nice to hear the Melty Blood cast performing well, it sounds like they're ready for a Tsukihime remake, and I'm looking forward to it.
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Gantz (2004)
prepare for letdown
8 October 2011
When you wind up dramatic tension in a scene, it has to pay off, in either action or plot revelation. But it's possible to spend so long on the wind-up that no pay-off will be worth it, and all your get for the effort is viewer apathy. This series does this a lot.

Every action is preceded with 5 minutes of internalizing the obvious, and followed with 5 minutes of predictable reaction. It's as if this was written to be accessible an audience too dense to grasp a situation within the first 30 frames -- an audience not mature enough for this level of graphic violence and sex in the first place.

The illustration and sound were very fine, but not enough to make this less grueling to watch. But if you happen to be studying Japanese, this is pretty basic material to listen to, so it won't be a complete waste of your time. The characters aren't much for observation, or any thought that isn't self-involved and too rudimentary for the capacity for real self-consciousness.

However, if you wanted to watch a pack of animal-order personalities get horribly mutilated -- no, forget that, they still don't die quick enough to sustain interest.
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spectacular, but not very accessible
11 September 2011
I've followed Fate/Stay Night through the visual novel and Fate/Zero sequel, so I had no difficulty following this, -- it kept me in fangasm! The animation, color and shadow was as bold and beautiful as the VN artwork, and far superior to the previous anime, and the powerful music expertly finished the work. These are all the features that kept me involved in the only Visual Novel I've ever completely read, and this was just as satisfying.

The romance between Shirou and Rin was unfortunately overshadowed by the clash between Shirou and Archer -- but it's Archer, so I can't complain (got GAR?) Punches were pulled with Ilya, toning down her scene which still managed to remain appropriately disturbing (enough to leave even Ilya-haters in shock.)

However I was occasionally distracted by how confused someone would be if not familiar with Fate/Stay Night, or who had only watched the anime. It's still engaging to watch, but so much of the meaning was sped past or glossed over that it would leave most bewildered through it. It was also littered with continuity nods that would please the fans but be lost on the unversed viewer.

So the rating I give this is only representative of my own enjoyment of it, but isn't likely to apply to anyone who isn't a Type-Moon fan.
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Tsukihime (2000 Video Game)
merits a remake
11 September 2011
As an anti-fan of the entire Visual Novel format, maybe I'm not qualified to review this. But Fate/Stay Night had stunningly hooked me and didn't let go, so I gave this a try.

But it was lacking the combination of elements that kept me completely involved; the art was bland, the characters didn't spring to life as boldly, the music was lacking, and the remaining sound was downright annoying. I just couldn't tolerate it for more than 1/10th of the story.

HOWEVER -- I've gotten the story through secondary sources, and it is such a very good story to tell that I regret not being able to stay with it. The anime has failed to do it justice, so all I can do is await the remake with the same anticipation as other Lunatics.
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The Bard's Tale (2004 Video Game)
So-so gameplay, but loaded with character
4 June 2010
The Bard is the kind of a genre-savvy snarker that could only be created with the cynical insight of a brilliant games industry and gaming veteran. This one of the most hilarious games around; the 'Memorable Quotes' section represents just the tip of the monumental iceberg of wit. All voice acting is wonderful, and the characters are filled with charm, though the anti-heroic hero of the Tale has the best delivery; fortunate, since his voice is heard most often, and hearing his next comment makes the most compelling reward for gameplay.

Whether you've played the original games or not, this title stands well enough alone. Though the gameplay doesn't shine, it also doesn't take nearly as many hours as the original games. The full retail price is perhaps more than the duration is worth, but now that the game has settled into the discount bin, it's cost is nearer to it's value. The game doesn't have much replay value though, so you may just as well rent-and-return.
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Baccano! (2007–2008)
A whole lot of commotion
3 November 2009
The first time I saw the title sequence cured me of all hype aversion I had for this, and I was hooked on the series. Watching and hearing the opening credits still never gets old for me.

It's hard to describe without spoilers, so I'll be brief. Unforgettable characters. Brilliant dialog. Gripping action scenes. Intelligent premises, with a little bit of the fantastic but not enough to feel inauthentic in the 30's prohibition underworld setting.

At first it's difficult to follow because of the anachronistic order and sheer loads of characters, but as you get used to the pacing and familiar with the faces, the pieces begin to fit together. The storytelling is genius, and the reveals are a lot more rewarding exposed in this way than if time were shown sequentially.

English dub: I just finished watching this, and it's a fair localization that kept to the spirit of the original, and included more appropriate accents. It's somewhat lacking in that Isaac and Miria, two of the more watchable characters, just aren't as funny, though the actors are decent they don't have the same chemistry as the original Japanese.
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BloodRayne (2005)
It's not...ALL bad...
15 March 2009
I'm giving this a higher rating than most fans because I first saw it before playing any of the games, and actually enjoyed it. Not because it was good, but because it featured everything I'd missed from 80's B-movie fantasy; lots of swordplay with brazen gore and bloodshed, T&A, and a requisite bondage scene. So the lighting and effects were low-budget, the fantasy period trappings plastic, story implausible, drama ineffectual and dialog, if not poor enough on its own, delivered even worse. So what if an all-star cast of excellent veteran actors put on the most flaccid performances of their lives -- with the notable exception of Billy Zane, who appeared to really get into the fantasy spirit of it, and enjoyed playing his character.

I imagined it would encourage more (and hopefully more talented) directors to reconstruct the fantasy genre and bring it out of the Disney ghetto, even if they have to steer it into another ghetto -- it's certainly no more gratuitously sexual and violent than contemporary set films by directors who deserve more respect than to be mentioned in this review.

If it weren't for this movie, I probably wouldn't have played the games and discovered how inadequate the film was. So Rayne was visually reproduced in live-action, with an amateur cosplay outfit that we can all recognize, but not much else about the character survived the adaptation. Boll decided to trade in Rayne's stabbing wit and black humor for outraged glares and berserk tantrums, leaving a character that lives up to Rayne about as much as Uma Thurman lives up to Emma Peel -- basically a bimbo posturing unconvincingly.

Boll also took great liberties with continuity to history and character, which would've been a fair trade for good story, if that's what he delivered. Instead it showed how little respect he had for the original text he was 'adapting', and the result in comparison shows how little qualified Boll is to produce for video game, since he can't even entertain a captive audience before a passive medium.
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Unreal Tournament III (2007 Video Game)
Excellent everything..except story
13 March 2009
Now is a good time to get this; the price is down and the value keeps going up as more mods are produced and more players are getting online. Epic has already released a few free add-ons for it, and the UT modding community has always been pretty active in generating new content. Mods also make up for this game's greatest weakness -- the single player story.

The story has gotten hit the hardest in any reviews, and I have to say, it's pretty horrible. Story in multiplayer deathmatch games is really just a thinly veiled excuse for the action, but here it's bad enough to distract from the gameplay. The previous Unreal Tournaments had only back-story, short info-blurbs that added personality to the opponents and arenas, this one attempts to tell a campaign length single-player story.

At least they're trying? Well, they tried a little too hard to work gameplay elements into the story itself, but not hard enough; a little more time and creative effort may have produced less glaringly shoddy justifications and inconsistencies. If they really wanted us to believe in resurrecting machines, flag-critical power junctions, and armored energy spheres that can be assembled with ray guns spontaneously building vehicles from thin air, if they wanted us to believe this, they would have to do much work on the interface. Suspending disbelief in gameplay mechanics for the sake of a good game was far more acceptable when they weren't making back-breaking attempts to keep the characters, and players, conscious of them.

To be fair, the dialog and acting are no part of the flaw; the characters manage to be likable and believable in spite of the cliché revenge premise of the story and awkward patching of gameplay mechanics into sci-fi elements. Though no performances particularly stood out as spectacular, they also weren't jarringly poor.

But UT3 deserves better marks for what it does have: beautiful visuals and stunning sound, and most important, great gameplay. Considering Unreal Tournament games are really just elaborate technical demos for potential Unreal engine licensees, at least the storyline does showcase the power of Unreal's in-engine cinematics, with realistic animation and natural-looking expressions and lip-sync. If single player story is important to you, then perhaps you should wait until a third-party developer releases their own Unreal-based game.
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Jericho (2007 Video Game)
Not a game for Clive Barker or horror fans to look forward to.
18 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
A great many readers enjoy Clive Barker's novels much more than his comics, and most of those who play games also enjoyed Undying. (What, you've never heard of his comics? That's because they weren't successful, for reasons that will become apparent shortly after you pick one up.) This game seems to have been written more in the spirit of the comic books, but not quite the Vertigo-series quality that have been struggling to give the medium credibility. Rather, this shoot-em-up mix of occult and soldiering gives so little respect of the authenticity of either and mashes together so many contrived character and gameplay elements that it should've sought market appeal in the puberty-age range rather than in a 'Mature' title.

The gameplay is rather unique in a few ways, it is fun in switching characters and their respective skillsets and play styles, each with their own graces. The lack of any pick-ups means that any weapons the player gets are the weapons they begin with, and any new powers appear spontaneously and without justification whenever the plot calls for it. The lack of pick-ups also means that exploration off the shallow sidetrails is never rewarded, making the rail-shooter nature of the game more transparent.

The interface somewhat mars the gameplay, but it does even fewer favors for immersion. The lack of consistency in how they're used makes sense when comparing powers that are fired once and those that are sustained, but puzzling when comparing sustained powers that are toggled with those that are sustained by holding the appropriate button while trying to maneuver...especially frustrating for those with long start-up animations. Where immersion really gets ripped away is the push-button cinematics, the type that designers whose experience with 'video games' consist of the digital trinket called 'Simon Says' think is a good idea. I'll say it again -- Simon says can NEVER be associated with action, and only spoils a good cutscene. If you want the player to face a survival challenge rather than a cinematic, you first have to give them the means to do that with the same interface and controls available to them at all times, and then trust the player enough to do it.

A good rail-shooter leaves player control as much as possible, and gives the impression that their forward momentum is under their own will. Seizing control even for dramatic purpose is to be avoided, and especially if control is taken from the player in order to give the characters plot-induced stupidity. This is even less reasonable when there are a total of 6 characters, only one of which the player can control at any given time, so couldn't you give any of the other five temporary retardation? Plot-induced stupidity is a discredited horror convention even in films, so it's especially disappointing to see a veteran of the genre continuing to use it, especially in a medium where success or failure should be up to the player's efforts.

Another poor reason to seize character control is for extended infodumps filled with melodramatic phrasing and often repeated or obvious information. While forgivable in mission briefing exposition, the designers seem to forget that this is an interactive medium, and the same words aren't received as well as they would delivered as prose. Another quality of a good rail-shooter is to parcel out information in the environment and encourage the player to hunt it down themselves, and then it becomes another reward for hands-on investigation rather than, as it is in this rail-shooter, an obligatory 'sit and listen to storytime, children' session.

I'd give this game a 6 for gameplay, 10 for visuals and sound, 4 for immersion. But the storytelling is poor enough to be insulting to intelligence, so instead of scoring it, I'd simply drop the two best scores and leave the average at 5. That's almost as unfair as developers who get paid for crap games if they just dress it up in enough glitter.
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Monster (2004–2010)
Potboiler, but not really a page-turner
27 September 2008
The most admiring critiques of this series admit that the action is slow. Unfortunately it's slow enough to give plenty of time to deconstruct it for everything else that may have been valuable about it.

Thriller? It's not thrilling. Horror? Not really, unless you're especially squeamish about illustrated blood. Action? If you stretch the definition of 'action.' Clever? It shows intelligence in conception, but it couldn't be called thought-provoking; the concepts come at you as slow as the action, and aren't convincingly supported.

It does have some of the elements of a crime-drama and thriller, but to recommend it among Death Note is a bit misleading. This is a series that could be interesting to catch once in awhile, but never really leaves you feeling like you must see the next one, as Death Note does. Because of the slow pace of the story, missing a few episodes isn't missing much.

74 episodes seems excessive in light of the superficial actions and dialog written only to create more tension that never pays off. These could be overlooked with tighter cuts, quicker shots, less emotive exaggeration and shorter internal dialogs. It happens too often in adapting from graphic format that the director is tempted to hold a shot for as long as it would take to absorb a panel of manga, and this director gave into that temptation far too often.

And then you still have overexposure of stereotypical characters who aren't developed so much as emphasized, crime-drama clichés that were old since silent film, and extended overdoses of bathos. Since every episode is padded with this more or less, missing a handful won't lose much of the story.

Perhaps this story was left better as a manga that you could read at your own pace.
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Gungrave (2003–2004)
Solid, gritty core wrapped in comic book flash
26 July 2008
It took me awhile to warm up to this series. It was off to a spectacular start, with a costumed gunman fighting hordes of pasty monstrosities, but I really couldn't care. I could appreciate the great color and lighting, great sound, very distinctive style, but the action was just too contrived and full of superficial actions that only served to create dramatic tension.

But I gave the second episode a chance, and it wound back in time to establish characters and tell a gritty yet sensitive crime drama of friendship and hardship, loyalty and ambition, a man's personal wars and loves. Though the action was slower, it was more believable, it served a narrative purpose beyond the scene, and it wasn't the main focus.

When the story finally caught up to the setting of the video game, I realized why it wasn't that engaging; the action is better suited to interaction, and watching it isn't as involving as playing it would be. Until there's a port to PC that isn't going to happen, and getting through the final episodes is becoming a chore.

It's a shame those comic-style episodes turned off so many potential fans, because the heart of it is an excellent work, and the final payoff is well worth it.
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Indigo Prophecy (2005 Video Game)
Rent and return; it's worth watching but not owning
27 March 2008
This title has intensely compelling story, tight voice acting, brilliant shot rhythm and action pacing. No doubt it's the work of a genius director, and I see so much talent here that it's a shame the game-play is so miserable.

Movement and world exploration are smooth enough, and do keep the player immersed in the environment. But in any plot situation, the interface presented is non-intuitive, tedious, and feels wholly unnatural for character movement. Simon-says could never be associated with good action, even if you ramp up the pace to tweak reflexes, and overlaying a perfectly good scene with bright button-mashing instructions breaks immersion, distracts from the story and visual, and alienates the player.

This really shows a talented director who is far too arrogant to believe that game design isn't one of his talents, even in spite of the obviously limited exposure he's had to them. Cage couldn't seem to give control up to the player (another sign of director arrogance,) nor provide movement interface that a player could be trusted to handle action sequences themselves. This is fine for a movie that we pay and agree to sit passively for the storytelling, but it's a serious stumbling block for interactivity, or any medium that runs longer than two hours.

There are critics who say this game should be made into a movie, and others who reply that the game is the movie. I believe if this would've been far more pleasurably memorable if it were made a movie in the first place. It's definitely a story worth watching by an excellent storyteller and director, but it's not much as a game.
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Fable (2004 Video Game)
Compelling fluff with good gameplay
5 March 2008
The title says it all, so I can be brief. It's an RPG-lite and an epic with all the depth, and the charm, of a fairy-tale. Decent enough dialog, peppered with light humor, and voice acting that sounds professional but pretty much aimed at children. The gameplay value is stronger than the story, and its as engaging and fun as the story. Replay value is low; you could challenge yourself with various character development types, but that won't significantly change the plot.

IMDb wants no less than 10 lines for a review, but brevity is the soul of something they can't be bothered to look up anyway. Fable is worth owning and playing.
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Stylish ultraviolence to a pounding soundtrack
2 July 2007
It has every cliché of the action movies, done with personality, flair and brazen tributes to Robert Rodriguez. It's got methephetamine level violence, endless outrageous stunts, fantastically timed and appropriate music tracks, memorable characters, and naturally lots of explosions. It's got an anti-hero fighting for vengeance and family honor with two-fisted guns blazing, a loose-cannon police operative swimming with sharks in murder, theft and betrayal.

The game does start weak with two prologue chapters in which you briefly play the Father (a hotshot DEA raider,) and the Good Son (a by-the-book DEA investigator,) before playing the Bad Son, a three-strike felon from California who earns and proudly wears the nickname 'El Gringo Loco'. This does allow you to pace into the action with well-timed tutorials, learning what you need to know when you need to know it without taking a contained 101 course to completely forget when the moments of pressure arrive.

This game stays more conscious of itself as a video game than most GTA-clone sandbox-wandering action games, and allows you to jump straight to the missions from a select menu, some of which are purely for the purpose of blowing people away and/or blowing things up. You can wander and collect upgrades to health, adrenaline, and weapon skill, and commit rampant destructive crimes with practically no consequence. And unlike GTA, when you carjack someone, they remain in the vehicle making panicked comments in Spanish. If you really want to get your unwilling passenger excited, try jumping from the vehicle while it's still speeding.

The special attacks are either exaggerated, superhuman action stunts, or purely zany. But for all the powerful arsenal you can gather, once you master your handgun you need nothing else for lethal efficiency and maximum killing points, which become more and more important to successful completion of missions. Well, that handgun and the occasional explosive, for when you need to turn something to smithereens quickly, or when you notice you've got too many grenades. The important strategy is to keep killing, and with maximum style, and you'll get all the bonuses you need to keep going, and this encourages a very rapid-paced action style throughout the game.

This is a fun game with a lot of replay value, and every mission becomes available for replay after you've succeeded the last story mission, even the optional ones you may have skipped.
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Slashers (2001 Video)
Cute, campy death and dismemberment
16 July 2006
I picked this movie up without much expectation -- I saw 'Fangoria' on the cover and thought I'd give them a chance to scare or freak me out. This is not the kind of horror that will make you fear the dark again but is more accurately described in some reviews as satire. This movie was every bit as fun as the bubble-gum pop theme song suggests. Many low budget choices were so appropriate to the setting and feel, and so well executed that they shouldn't have been done any other way. The gore effects were liberal with blood and so apparently fake that they contributed to the charm.

This movie was so full of personality that even the camera was a character, one who was always present, but because of good action pacing managed to remain inconspicuous until one of the other characters addressed him. The cast of competitors were personable enough and watchable enough (though some become more watchable with their shirts off,) in spite of their weaker acting.

But good horror relies on the strength of good villains, which Slashers had. Each Slasher had their comic-bookish personal style of WWF ranting and fun-park menace, backed up by their signature weapons, of course, and made the most of their screen time, hamming it up and thrilling their fans. Even bad dialog would be good for these subjects, but it was all delivered with such flair and enthusiasm by Neil Napier and Christopher Piggins that they were a pleasure to see every time they crawled, sometimes literally, out of the woodwork.
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Sam and Max Hit the Road (1993 Video Game)
Classical gem of point'n'click adventure
20 June 2006
Detective buddies Sam and Max investigate missing freaks and embark on a nationwide scavenger hunt of tourist traps. Sam the dog is the more perceptive, investigative one, while bunny Max zealously employs muscle wherever possible.

The graphics may not be impressive today, but they were faithfully ported from the comics and made itself at home in the video game medium. The interface is pretty standard for the LucasArts games of the time, and pretty flat by today's standard. The game-play is seasoned at points with mini-games of Sam and/or Max's mad antics in pursuit of The Truth.

But because of the sheer wit, character and zaniness of the dialog, everything is worth clicking, and even the most fruitless actions are rewarding. The banter between the detectives are all quotable, no words are wasted at all. This is a very fun, funny, and memorable game. Get all your friends to play it and you can make character references that will always make you laugh.
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Voodoo Academy (2000 Video)
Cheap and dull
10 June 2006
Cheap and mind-blisteringly dull story and acting. Not a single good line, not even a line bad enough to be good, and no memorable delivery. Even the blooper reel included with the DVD showed how inept the actors were and how little fun any of them were having. The esoteric and occult basis was apathetically inauthentic, and the antagonists failed to be creepy or believable. The 'homoerotic' overtones were pointlessly tame and dissatisfying, and were limited to young boys caressing their chests while flaccid in their boxers. I'm not gay enough to appreciate it, but a little action might have at least kept me and my girlfriend awake.
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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006 Video Game)
3 June 2006
Way back when this was in pre-production I had thought it was too soon for another Elder Scrolls centered on the Imperial District.

The animations, lighting, texturing were all far superior to Morrowind, the Radiant AI was a marginal improvement, but the storytelling, the voice-acting, the depth of character were comparatively poor. Not only does the over-hyped 'open-endedness' fail to measure up to the previous game, but it's pretty pointless considering almost every significant situation demanded only one solution, one approach, one perspective. The inconsistencies to previously established culture, characters, organizations were distracting and disappointing. Many successful and demanded features were left out of this game, and the Construction Set is no better the Morrowind version, which was so inflexible and anti-intuitive and inferior to open-source modding tools for other games that I was skeptical anyone would have used it to produce a commercial game.

All of these support my perception that Oblivion was released too soon. It had great visuals, and the final battle was a greater payoff than Morrowind's, but main storyline was pretty forgettable. Oblivion blew it's potential; it's clearly lacking in almost every aspect of gameplay and storytelling.
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Underworld (2003)
World of Darkness
29 March 2005
It's not a direct rip-off, but close enough to support all copyright suits. Fans of White Wolf RPG's will recognize the setting, themes, conflicts and characters. Even the visual styles and recommended live action sound tracks in the book evoke a world that this movie framed and put into motion. This film could not have been produced without the influence of the body of substance that make up the World of Darkness' storytelling guides and source books.

By the same token, fans of White Wolf also won't be disappointed with the film rendition of the World of Darkness; if it weren't produced by White Wolf, it still shouldn't have been produced any other way.

With this film, the time of the action-horror genre has come, and the World of Darkness provides the most suitable foundation for it -- why not pay White Wolf what they're worth?
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But is it Resident Evil?
30 January 2005
Like the original games and the first movie, this has the lurching zombies and a population infected by a powerful and recklessly insensitive megacorp. It has loads of firearms, comic-book action sequences, and characters in contemporary clothing that are just distinctive enough to look like comic hero costumes. It also has homages to previous horror films.

Every other Resident Evil game and the original movie has presented new stories that take advantage of the setting, situation and themes without disrupting the continuity, proving that it could have been done for this movie. This movie deviates from the canons by reinventing characters and running roughshod over the established story lines.

Was this necessary? Viewers who've been following the story before this installment will find the contradictions distracting. Audiences new to the series could've been given a good story without revealing or revising what had been served up before. Is it such a bad idea to give them just enough to leave them wanting if you still have games to sell? Resident Evil was rich with mysteries to be explained, new territory to be explored, but instead of cultivating the franchise this movie ham-handedly grabbed for the quick buck.

Alice and Jill were easy on the eyes and very powerful action figures, far too good at surviving to be good survival horror figures. Superhuman kung-fu masters aren't exactly beating the odds as they engage in battles that you know they'll win before they begin. Ho hum. No suspense. No menace. Even the monster is just another action figure in latex. I wasn't surprised to find Jill Valentine likable and interesting because I never cared for her in the previous Resident Evils. With that great a character discrepancy between the game and movie, I'm pleased to see no adaptation of the characters I actually did like (geniune thanks to Emily Bergl for dropping out.)
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Resident Evil (2002)
Good survival horror
16 January 2005
I had to sift long and deep for a good comment on this. Why all the hostility? I think there was great chemistry on this production and it shows; the actors and crew involved loved the game and had a good time making this. This movie successfully recreated the feel of the game, and because it kept exposition to a minimum of what you needed to know for this particular story and didn't borrow from or revise any of the original characters or settings, it supported and strengthened the franchise. No story is retold here, no words are wasted, the setting, feel and pace is familiar to fans of Resident Evil and yet it's perfectly accessible to those unfamiliar with the broader storyline. Not giving the fan-boys their favorite characters was a good choice since characters tend to get mangled in adaptation, and yet the fan-boys still complain. With this film you have a good, watchable story that can partake of the Resident Evil cosmology, showing it due respect.

It did an excellent job establishing characters without too much unnecessary background, developing them just enough to make you want to know what they'll do next, to make you care before the sudden and gruesome happens to them. The acting was above par for a Resident Evil, certainly much better than the first game. The plot was no more comic bookish than any of the games. My one complaint was that the characters were too battle-trained, too slick, too good at fighting for them to be sympathetic horror subjects. This could've been balanced out with more reaction shots showing the soldiers wetting themselves. But Alice's over-the-top commando-style action made her too much of a super heroine to really make anyone concerned about her survival; characters made of Teflon make good action but apathetic horror subjects.
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This is the house...
15 January 2005
Great sound track for a mediocre movie. I like to think this was a learning experience for Rob Zombie, but it's no hit, not even a cult classic material; no great acting, no great story, no great moments and no sense of fun from the performers. It does have the gore, violence, tits and ass of 80's horror, as well as stale acting and bad lines that just aren't bad enough to be memorable. The killers were a bunch of freak show caricatures with no identity or dimension, the victims were killed off way too soon and not enough character was invested in them to make you even care whether they lived or died. Rob Zombie spent way too much on actors for how little acting was even necessary; a couple warm bodies with pretty faces would've done just fine, but it would've made a better movie if Rob had chosen ppl with any enthusiasm for what he was trying to produce.
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