It's not the scary hit that The Ring was in 2002, but The Grudge makes a similarly convincing case for American remakes of popular Japanese horror films. Barely a year passed between the release of Takashi Shimizu's creepy ghost story Ju-On: The Grudge and the production of this American remake, set in Tokyo and starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in her first post-Buffy horror film. About the only significant difference between the two films is the importing of a mostly-American cast (including Bill Pullman, Clea DuVall and Grace Zabriskie), but The Grudge was reconfigured (by screenwriter Stephen Susco) to allow Shimizu to refine and improve the spookiest highlights of his earlier version, which enjoyed previous incarnations as a short film and two made-for-Japanese-video features. Surprising box-office analysts with a $40 million opening weekend, The Grudge may disappoint hard-core horror fans because it lacks gore and graphic violence, but as a creepy tale about a very haunted house, it's guaranteed to send a few chills up your spine.
2002's popular video-game-derived hit Resident Evil didn't inspire confidence in a sequel, but Resident Evil: Apocalypse defies odds and surpasses expectations. It's a bigger, better, action-packed zombie thriller, and this time Milla Jovovich (as the first film's no-nonsense heroine) is joined by more characters from the popular Capcom video games, including Jill Valentine (played by British hottie Sienna Guillory) and Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr, from 1999's The Mummy). They're armed and ready for a high-caliber encounter with devil dogs, mutant Lickers, lurching zombies, and the leather-clad monster known only as Nemesis, unleashed by the nefarious Umbrella Corporation responsible for creating the cannibalistic undead horde. Having gained valuable experience as a respected second-unit director on high-profile films like Gladiator and The Bourne Identity, director Alexander Witt elevates this junky material to the level of slick, schlocky entertainment.
Après avoir été atteint de plusieurs projectiles et évité la mort de justesse, un agent du FBI se retrouve dans une prison sur une île quand un commando y débarque pour faire sortir un prisonnier qui connaît la cachette d'un butin de 200 millions. L'agent secret devra contrecarrer les plans des bandits et sauver une Cour Suprême de Justice détenue en otage.
It times like this that I wish Mystery Science Theater 3000 was still on cable, attacking bad movies with sharp, intelligent humor. If ever a recent film deserved the caustic lampooning of Crow, Servo and Mike, it would have to be Reptilian. A throwback to the Japanese giant monster movies of the early 1960s, Reptilian is littered with comically stiff acting and laughable plot points. This is the type of film where there are unitentionally hilarious exclamations and odd lines of dialogue that constantly had me reaching for the remote to replay as I wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes.
Before I dig Reptilian too deep of a hole, I should at least commend screenwriter Marty Poole for not being afraid to load the film with lots of potential content. In the scant space of 95 minutes, there were two giant monsters, an alien spaceship, aliens, soldiers in flying jetpacks, ancient hieroglyphics, atomic fireballs, teleportation beams, magic diamonds, dozens of exploding skyscrapers, a city in ruin...oh yeah, and a bus full of children in peril. Roland Emmerich and his obscene budget for 1998's dud Godzilla could have used Poole to liven things up.
If I were to try to explain Reptilian logically, one might be apt to check my breath for excessive alchohol fumes. Not content with simply unearthing an angry, old creature (a la Godzilla), the beast in here, whose name is Yongarry, begins the film as a skeleton. Dug up by an excavation team led by wild-eyed hambone, Dr. Campbell (Richard B. Livingston), the massive skeleton is soon re-animated by a beam from a huge alien spacecraft hovering above Earth, in fulfillment of some ancient prophecy. The aliens LOOSELY resemble the metal skeleton of The Terminator, and vocalize in that typical booming computerized basso that cartoon bad guys speak in. And it's in English, too!
The big beast commences to destroying a city that I THINK is supposed to be New York, though it's only referred to as the city. Basically a CG creation, and not half bad at that, Yongarry looks a cross between Godzilla and something that might have appeared on the Power Rangers. The fighter plane sequence in the middle of the city looks OK at times and horrible at others. Buildings explode and collapse, mostly due to poorly aimed missiles, but Yongarry does his fair share of exhaling fireballs that can blast through two or three skyscrapers at a time.
I won't even attempt to dissect the cast. All the characters are flat and lifeless, and utter silly lines of dialogue far too often. So let's not over analyze. The whole point of a film like this is to see a big monster destroy things, and director Hyung Rae Shim gives us that in spades. Sure, some of the effects look like a bad computer game, but for the most part they were consistently mediocre. That is meant as a compliment, Hyung. I wasn't expecting Jurassic Park quality CG, and I wasn't disappointed.
Reptilian's tagline is Bigger. Badder. Meaner., which is in obvious reference to Emmerich's Godzilla, as the cover art would indicate. Yongarry does do some major destruction in a short amount of time, much more than big G. Yet when saddled with bad acting and less than perfect effects, the whole package ends up as the entertainment equivalent of a pissed-off iguana.