Game Review: Resident Evil 5 (PS3)

The series that invented the Survival Horror game genre is back in the fifth instalment of the series, Resident Evil 5.  Like RE4, the slow mindless zombies are gone, replaced by Infected humans that can use weapons against you.  The setting this time is in Africa, where Chris Redfield and his partner, Sheva Alomar, investigate an outbreak of a new form of the Progenitor virus.  They uncover clues about a new company has picked up the pieces of Umbrella’s bio-weapon research, and the man behind it all is Chris’ nemesis, Albert Wesker.

The story is well played out.  You see glimpses of what Chris has ben up to since Code: Veronica.  His last encounter with Wesker ended tragically with the loss of his partner, Jill Valentine.  You see a flashback to that battle where Jill sacrificed herself and knocked herself and Wesker out the window.  Chris is haunted with this memory throughout the game.  As the game unfolds you find out the fates of Jill and Wesker and how it all ties into the events in Africa.

The game play hasn’t changed since Resident Evil 4. While the over-the-shoulder camera improves your field of view, the stop to shoot mechanic of the game is as frustrating now as it was wit the first game in 1997.  True, it adds a bit of strategy, but overall, it is frustrating and distracts you from the experience.  Replay is added with unlockables and upgradable weapons and the ability to replay the game as Sheva.

This game ties up most of the plots threads since the first RE game.  If you are a fan of this series, this will answer many questions.

3.5/5

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Movie Review: Watchmen (or A Clear View of Lower Manhattan)

It has long been seen as being unfilmable;  director Terry Gilliam said it couldn’t be done in 1989.  It was one of the first comic book mini-series (later collected as a graphic novel) that elevated comics from kid-lit to pop culture narratives.  The book is Watchmen, and 24 years after it’s publication, it has been adapted into a movie by 300 director Zach Snyder.

The movie is set in an alternative 1985, with Nixon as a popular five-term president and the Soviet Union strong as poised to start World War III.  Superheroes are real, but they have been outlawed for over 8 years.  They either work for the government, the the Comedian and Dr Manhattan, revealed their identity and used their fame to become successful like Ozymandias, retired to obscurity like Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre or have become outlaws like Rorschach.  It is Rorschach’s who discovers that a murdered man was the Comedian and he suspects a plot to murder superheroes and warns his former team-mates.  They at first dismiss his paranoid ramblings, but as the film progresses, Dr Manhattan is forced off-planet, Ozymandias is attacked and Rorschach is framed for a murder he did not commit.  Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre, thinking Rorschach was on to sometime, spring him and try uncover the plot and its connection to the worlds march to nuclear Armageddon.  The true plot, however, is beyond anything they expect.

The movie comes in at about two hours and totally cuts out the sub story of “The Tales of the Black Freighter,” a comic within the comic that a background character reads.  This story, however, has been lengthened and turned into a animated movie to be released later in March.  With this is an adaptation or Hollis Mason’s (the first Nite Owl as mentioned in the story) autobiography, Behind the Mask, which excerpts from were included in the graphic novel.  Other scenes were filmed for the movie but cut, with Snyder promising a Director’s cut on DVD/BluRay or at least deleted scenes.  Besides this, and a change to the ending (yet the overall result is the same), the movie is as faithful to the original book as they could be.

That, however could be considered this film biggest flaws.  The adherence to the book could turn off those who have not read the Watchmen book.  The movie assumes (much like the book, mind you) we will accept these characters as they are, without getting into the origin other than that this world allows costume heroes.  The exception to this is Dr Manhattan, the only hero that is really super, with actual superpowers (all the other heroes are skilled athletes, some with gadgets and fancy costumes.).  The film is faithful to the books Doctor Manhattan, with actor Billy Crudup voicing him almost emotionless.  He even spends most of the movie naked, with the film not shying away for glimpses of his “lower Manhattan.”  Yes, there is digital, CGI, glowing blue wang.  It’s not front and centre, but it is there.

Is it good?  I say yes.  It not the greatest of superhero movies.  I never thought it was the greatest of superhero stories to begin with.  The movie left me with the same feeling of indifference as the book did.  The change in the ending did not bother me (since I am not a rabid fan, I wasn’t against this, unlike the changes made to Catwoman in that movie) and I though made more sense than the…let’s call it the space squid ending.  I always thought that Alan Moore’s (the author of Watchmen) writing was a bit pretentious, especially his later stuff.  This isn’t so bad, but some may not like this movie

Watchmen is rated 18A in British Columbia, Canada (the equivalent to the U.S. R rating).  It has strong violence (in the book), nudity (again, it’s in the book), language (book), and sex scenes, also in the book, but more…expanded in the film.  Malin Akerman’s body (or that of her body double,) was the perfect antidote to doses of Dreiberg’s butt and Manhattan’s member.

3.5 out of 5