Quality-wise, the “Resident Evil” franchise has been on the decline ever since the first film arrived back in 2002, but, let’s face it, was the series ever really about quality? “Resident Evil” is for action, monsters and Alice, and while the first four films of the franchise held on, they certainly started to slip, leaning far more on the excuse of stemming from a videogame than making the leaps necessary to turn a videogame into an enthralling moviegoing experience. But at least the first four films tried. “Retribution” abandons storytelling entirely for lame CGI and a desperate attempt at bringing franchise favorites together.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) is back – yet again. She escaped the Umbrella research facility, made it out of Raccoon City, came face to face with countless clones of herself and rescued her friends from a prison overrun with zombies, but her story isn’t over yet. “Resident Evil: Retribution” kicks off after Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and her Umbrella troops devastate the tanker Alice claims for survivors at the end of “Afterlife.” Alice wakes up in an underground Umbrella research facility where she’s interrogated by Jill, blasted with a mind-numbing sound, interrogated by Jill, and deafened yet again until the lights go out, a magic draw reveals typical Alice attire and the cell door opens.
On her way out, Alice bumps into Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) who informs her that she’s here to help and that there’s also a strike team on the way. While Alice and Ada try to go from the bottom up, Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb), Barry Burton (Kevin Durand), Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) and a couple more are on their way down, hoping to rendezvous with the ladies and make their way back to the surface together.
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Round five of the “Resident Evil” franchise is due out on September 14th, so what better way to build hype than by having Alice herself grace Hall H? Not only is Milla Jovovich coming in for Screen Gems’ “Resident Evil: Retribution” panel, but Michelle Rodriguez, Oded Fehr, Boris Kodjoe, Mika Nakashima and writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson will be in the house as well. We’ve seen a fair amount of trailers, clips and posters, but supposedly the gang will have an exclusive preview of the new film to share.
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4:10 – Here comes the moderator, Ralph Garman. He calls film five the biggest of them all.
4:11 – First up is Paul W.S. Anderson. He takes the stage to chat a bit before revealing some never before seen footage. “This movie really goes above and beyond any of the ‘Resident Evil’ movies so far.” He says it was important to make the film big as far as scale goes, but small as well to keep the focus on Milla’s character.
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We were so close. Thirty minutes into Battle: Los Angeles, you’re sure director Jonathan Liebesman has done it. We meet our main players, they’re sent into battle, lives are lost and you’re genuinely sick to your stomach with grief. If aliens ever did come to earth looking to take over, this is what the war would feel like. Sadly, that success is then tarnished by more of the same, unrealistic heroic garbage.
It’s August 12th, 2011 and the world is at war. What NASA suspects to be incoming meteors, turns out to be an invading alien race – a hostel one. The enemy ships assume positions near major cities across the globe and send their units in to take out everyone in sight. Our only hope for survival lies in the armed forces.
The film focuses on a particular platoon fighting the invaders in Los Angeles. Fresh out of training, 2nd Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) is appointed to lead a team of men at a moment’s notice. He’s joined by SSgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), a seasoned marine struggling to get past a mission gone wrong. The unit is assigned to rescue a group of civilians holed up in a police station in the middle of the mayhem. They’ve got three hours to complete the rescue and make it back to safety before an airstrike demolishes the area.
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Let’s say aliens really do attack Earth one day; who do you think will defend us? Tom Cruise? Probably not. Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith? Not happening. It’s the army and not the army Mars Attacks!-style. We’re talking dead serious real soldiers with intense weaponry setting off some massive explosions and, based on my chat with Neil Brown Jr., that’s who the unearthly visitors go head-to-head with in Battle: Los Angeles.
With quite a few credits to his name, including Fast & Furious and The Walking Dead, Brown Jr. certainly knows what he’s doing on set, but there seems to be something about Battle: LA that really hit home for him and his co-cast. Not only did the group have to attend an intense boot camp right before heading to set in Louisiana, but they remained close throughout shooting up to this very day. Having gone through this training together, the men felt and acted like real Marines and not only did that lead them to develop strong bonds with one another, but it brought an impeccable degree of authenticity to the film, too.
As big as Battle: LA is, that’s not the only highly anticipated project on Brown Jr.’s plate. After a stellar first season, The Walking Dead is back, but the question is, will the nursing home protector Guillermo be back as well? Brown Jr. may not have been able to offer any definitive answer, but he did guarantee the second season will blow you away regardless.
Check out everything Neil Brown Jr. had to say about Battle: Los Angeles, The Walking Dead and a potential next project in the interview below.
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Avatar opened in midnight screenings early Friday, and fans leaving those screenings generally seemed to agree that the movie was worth the wait, the epic runtime and the massive budget.
One fan raved to MTV News after catching a midnight screening in New York City, saying, “The imagination that James Cameron brought about was well worth the 15 years that he put into it.”
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