30 April 2011

28 April- "I don't want to be one of those things. Walking around without a soul"

Resident Evil (2002)
dir. Paul W.S. Anderson

Milla Jovovich (Ultraviolet, 2000)
Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar, 2009)
Eric Mabius (Cruel Intentions, 1999)
James Purefoy (A Knight's Tale, 2001)
Joseph May (Fairy Tale: A True Story, 1997)
Heike Makatsch (Love, Actually, 2003)
Stephen Billington (Braveheart, 1995)

So, this movie was based off of a video game, right? I don't know anything about that, but I can imagine how the disjunct plotline would lend itself well to a video, with one boss needing to be defeated before moving on to the next series of challenges.

I liked the beginning. I liked how the hero woke up with amnesia and I was able to tell she had amnesia without her saying something chintzy like "Where am I? Who am I?"

I like Milla Jovovitch. Unfortunately all her movies are awful science fiction fare, with The 5th Element clearly rising to the top of the pot. I wonder when this is, maybe she just can't hack a heavier role. But if I'm going to complain about an actress it's going to be this girl:

Is anyone else totally tired of Michelle Rodriguez? I find myself resenting her very existence because she is written into every single science fiction movie as this caricature of a strong female and a pale homage to Private Vasquez in Aliens.
Is this what you're going to base your career on, Michelle? A Jewish woman in brownface? Is a token Latina any better (worse?) than a token Black Man? And like that counterpart, Michelle Rodriguez always dies before the movie ends.

On the other hand, it's cool that woman are increasingly being cast in parts that aren't distinctively "feminine" (i.e. Rain Ocampo was essentially gender-neutral, and could have been played by a man or a woman, where previously this sort of role would have only been played by a man as women wold only be in movies as mothers or sex objects) and for this the Michelle Rodriguez "character" should be lauded, because here we have a role model showing that is perfectly acceptable for a female to have a story arc that doesn't involve a man as a protector or a love interest.

Of course, the whole point of of casting more women in gender-neutral roles is undermined if you give all of the parts to Michelle Rodriguez. And that's why I made that sort of uncouth reference to Pvt. Vasquez (Which I regret a little, because Pvt. Vasquez was awesome). While Michelle Rodriguez is not overtly racialized in her roles (you know, like getting all up in your face with the Spanish slang) I know that part of the reason she keeps getting cast is that the movie execs want a minority female in their movie, and I get it, and it's important to represent, but if the Hispanic woman keeps getting cast as stereotypically violent and impulsive, it's problematic.

First of all, it's saying something very essential and wrong about Latinas (If you fuck with her, she will cut you), and second of all, it's saying that a white woman, or a black woman, and especially not an Asian woman or an Indian woman or (God, help us) a Mid-Eastern woman could ever fill that kind of role because it's too aggressive and too dominant and too uncontrollable and it would make the (predominantly white male) audience uncomfortable.

So I meant to talk about Resident Evil and movies based off of video-games, and then I decided to rant about this instead. I think it's important to keep in mind that even the shitty movies are trying to tell you something about yourself--maybe especially the shitty ones, since they are so willing to pander to cultural norms and appeal to the lowest common denominator--and it's in the details, the side characters and subplots, where the broader narratives are played out. So yeah, Milla whooped some zombies, and looked hot doing it, but why did we want to see a movie about zombies in the first place?


  1. How sad that movies demean people for venal purposes. I reserve comment on those who watch them.

  2. Wow - that's really passive aggressive. Do you have an opinion, or were you just going to sneer quietly?