Hollywood has come a long way since its inception, making movies that tell a variety of stories and evoke a multitude of emotions. Yet, the film industry still fails to successfully adapt video games into satisfying movies. Despite being critically panned throughout its cinematic run, Resident Evil is the only gaming franchise that has survived Hollywood through the years. So, as soon director Paul W.S. Anderson and actress Milla Jovovich said goodbye to Resident Evil, Constantin Film chairman Martin Moszkowicz announced a reboot of the property with James Wan onboard to produce.
The involvement of James Wan is a truly positive sign because of his history with genuinely scary movies such as The Conjuring and Saw, as well as the incredibly successful action flick, Furious 7. This could be even more fitting than first thought, as Hiroyuki Kobayashi, who produced the Resident Evil games, shared his desire to see more action sequences in the upcoming reboot.
"I personally like Paul W.S. Anderson’s [direction] on the live-action [films]. Stuff like that, I would like to see more action."
Although the franchise has already seen its fair share of action, the integration of established action movie tropes might give Resident Evil the type of critical acclaim previous installments were unable to obtain. Let's take a look at how popular action movie tropes can reinvent the franchise.
Establishing A Plot That Supports The Action
Alice was a character who was created solely for the movie and was severely overpowered throughout the series. The sometimes ridiculous nature of the plot and routine set-pieces didn't supplement each other, but a quick fix to this hiccup is by taking a look at one of the best zombie movies of the century: Shaun of the Dead.
Despite being a comedy, Shaun of the Dead showcased a ton of action and focused on the normality of humans. If Resident Evil is able to implement the obstacle-based progression of Edgar Wright's movie, it will emulate the quest-based character enhancements of the games and also punctuate the movie for some much needed character development. By doing so, the action will have a certain weight to it, since the viewers will be betters acquainted with the characters, allowing them to step into their shoes when the mayhem begins.
Implementing Gun-Fu During Close Quarter Encounters
Even if the reboot is successful in creating believable characters and a cohesive plot, making the action look good is just as essential. So, let's take a look at this one-on-one combat between Alice and Jill.
Sequences like these require momentum and the audience should be able to feel every punch, kick and dodge. The implementation of quick cuts is in stark contrast to sequences that wish to focus on an actor's impressive combat training.
To achieve a stand-out level of intensity during close quarter encounters, makers of the Resident Evil franchise can look towards John Wick for inspiration.
Aside from Keanu Reeves's dedication, John Wick was praised for its adrenaline-pumping choreography and the lack of shaky cam. As the actors were clearly prepped to do their own stunts, it reduced the need to cut around the set-pieces and made the scenes more coherent. This can work for one-on-ones, as well as claustrophobic scenarios that require some gory zombie-killing action.
Adapting Grindhouse Horror As A Substitute For Large Scale Spectacle
With each installation in the franchise, Resident Evil has managed to make the movies look more and more epic at the cost of exposing the lack of quality CGI. Make-up artists have always created realistic zombies, but CGI has been noticeable once the camera pans out in an attempt to awe the audience.
To avoid this, Resident Evil could pay heed to a movie with a similar premise: Planet Terror. Robert Rodriguez's movie combines practical effects with real-life explosions, minimizing the need for green screen.
As the aforementioned movies have achieved a cult status among moviegoers, Resident Evil can benefit by incorporating their best moves. Shaun of the Dead not only created tension but also managed to be an entertaining zombie-action movie. John Wick rebranded the art of hand-to-hand action, all thanks to David Leitch, Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski. Finally, Planet Terror breathed life into a horror sub-genre that was facing imminent obliteration.
Resident Evil has a significant advantage, in comparison to its peers, due to its ever expanding fan-base and enormous box-office gross. In a time where cinematic universes and sequels are thriving, James Wan's reboot might be the perfect opportunity.
Which is you favorite action sub-genre? Let me know in the comments!