Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Movie Review: The Devil (2010) NC16

(Image credit goes to this url website)

Initially, I was daunted by the length of the movie, which is but a mere 81 minutes, but I was really intrigued by the storyline of how everything can be compacted so tightly within an elevator so I went ahead and watched the movie anyway.

I did not regret my decision - it was worth a full five popcorns rating. If Avatar is widely recognized as one of the best action movies of the year, I think this movie will go well as one of the best suspense/morality thriller of the year. The story revolves around how five strangers in a office building's elevator were trapped and suffered a series of horrifying experiences which led them to believe that one of them was the culprit. The story is then narrated by a South American security guard who goes on to reveal that according to a folktale by his grandmother - the Devil sometimes transforms itself into human form and punishes a group of sinners in the most bizarre ways unimaginable.

Expect a lot of deaths and blood in the movie, which explain its NC16 rating but for those readers who are able to watch this movie, please don't miss it. A strange suicide off the 35th floor of a building with the victim holding onto a string of rosemary, a brilliant and hardworking detective who recently lost his family, a temp security officer, a senior-looking office lady, a rough man with a missing red sack, an arrogant and talkative mattress salesman and an attractive girl looking for a lawyer. The story brings all of these people together a way to explain how the Devil manipulates the fears, doubts and suspicions of people in the modern world who have so many secrets hidden in their lives.

The detective works as hard as he can, summoning policemen, mechanics, firefighters to the scene as well, but as he begins to realize that none of his excellent detective skills and logical reasoning is able to make sense of the scene, he begins to believe the South American security guard that something supernatural is involved in the whole scheme of things and that he is actually the intended audience for all that is about to happen in that fateful elevator.

Why is the detective chosen? Will any human being actually make it out of that elevator alive with the Devil lurking as one of the passengers? I won't spoil the surprise. Please do not go to Youtube to read the comments because some of them have actually posted full spoilers ahead. Go with an inquisitive mind and an open heart about The God, The Devil, The Man and how all these three beings can possibly interact and have a great 81 minutes in the movie theater!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife (NC16)

I ain't a fan of Resident Evil but I thought the movie plot's backdrop was really interesting. A virus known as T-virus was accidentally released into the human population and it turned them into killer zombies. The very few human survivors struggled against the endless and tireless zombie hordes as they barricaded themselves against the flesh-eating zombies.

The female protagonist, Alice, is one formidable survivor because not only she is the only human with genes capable of merging with the T-virus and survived without the zombie transformation, she is also experimented upon by the mysterious Umbrella Corporation (which is the culprit behind the T-virus) and is implanted with powers beyond the ordinary human.

Alice, in this installment of the movie, tries to find the location of Arcadia, which has been broadcasting over the radio waves that it is a sanctuary against the T-virus, providing shelter, protection and food for all the remaining survivors who have managed to elude and evade the zombies across the world. Alice arrives at Arcadia, only to find an empty island full of aircraft supposedly left behind by survivors who were lured by the radio broadcast. Alice then goes to Los Angeles with her two-seater propeller plane and discovers a small group of survivors besieged within a city prison. Will Alice manage to rally and rescue this band of unusual survivors with conflicting interests and find the true Arcadia and the rest of the survivors who abandoned their aircraft? I won't spoil the movie here.

Personally, I think the movie is only passable because beyond the movie's exciting and fiery firefights and zombie slaughtering, which usually end with blood-splattering to the head by the twin powerful shotguns or the samurai swords carried by Alice, the movie lacks depth and explanation on why some scenes are not continued through properly and just fizzled, expecting the audience to figure out the ill logic behind them.

For example, for all her skills and agility, Alice was actually overpowered by the leader of the Umbrella Corporation so easily and assuming all her superhuman powers were removed by the latter in that blow, how could Alice have survived the catastrophic plane crash without breaking a limb or two? There were also some cheap scares without truly showing the tenacity of the zombies, so despite their numbers, the zombies seem to be more functional as mere cannon or explosive fodder than to actually push the intensity of the movie. In short, the movie becomes Alice vs Umbrella Corporation with the zombies and other survivors as mere forgettable expendables.

I would only give the movie a 2.5 popcorn out of a possible 5.0 because it has so much room for improvement especially in terms of character development and zombie action. Most of the blood shed could have had more meaning than a simple scream and struggling limbs.