1. Resident Evil (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2002) (re-watch)
2. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Alexander Witt, 2004)
3. Resident Evil: Extinction (Russell Mulcahy, 2007)
4. Resident Evil: Afterlife (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2010)
5. Resident Evil: Retribution (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2012)
6. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Paul W.S. Anderson, 2016)
7. Lost Continent (Sam Newfield, 1951)
8. Four Sided Triangle (Terence Fisher, 1953)
9. Spaceways (Terence Fisher, 1953)
10. The Net (Anthony Asquith, 1953)
11. The Twonky (Arch Oboler, 1953)
12. ...4 ..3 ..2 ..1 ...morte / Mission Stardust (Primo Zeglio, 1967)
13. Five (Arch Oboler, 1951)
14. Gog (Herbert L. Strock, 1954)
15. Trancers (Charles Band, 1984) (re-watch)
16. Trancers II (Charles Band, 1991)
17. Trancers III (C. Courtney Joyner, 1992)
18. The Last Sentinel
(Jesse V. Johnson, 2007)
This is on a 4-movie 2-disc el cheapo set that I've had for years - probably got it for $2 at Goodwill, I'm sure I never would have paid full price for it. I watched one of the others a year or two ago and it was among the very worst modern SF films I've seen, so I had no expectations going into this. Well, I can at least say it's not as bad as that film, or plenty of other crap I've seen in the digital era, but it's not good either. It stars martial artist Don "The Dragon" Wilson, who was a 2nd tier action star in the late 80s and 90s - same period as Seagal, Van Damme, etc, but this is the first film I've seen him in as lead despite a fair interest in action crap of 25 years ago; I guess I never got as low on the totem pole as he was. Anyway, he's not that bad - wooden, but he's supposed to be here as a sort of cyborg, last of his kind man-weapon fighting off even more inhuman cyborgs, with the help of the all-human Katee Sackhoff, who's also perfectly OK. Problem is the script is inane, it's a terribly boring and repetitive and highly derivative "what if AI takes over" post-apocalypse scenario, and it's very cheap and ugly. Shocked to find that this was filmed in 35, it has all the hallmarks of early and low-grade digital. Maybe just a poor transfer. Anyway, it's not irredeemably bad but not anywhere close to good either.
19. Deja Vu
(Tony Scott, 2006)
I've metamorphosed from a T Scott hater into a T Scott -- well, fan is too strong. Into someone tolerant of his work and able to enjoy some of his less stupid crap, I guess. This one is enjoyable overall even if it is pretty damn stupid. It starts out with Denzel Washington investigating a ferry explosion in the harbor of New Orleans that we know immediately and he knows pretty quickly was deliberate, and eventually it turns into a time-travel gimmick with him trying to figure out how to save the boat and in particular one passenger who is of course a totally gorgeous babe (Paula Patton). It's reasonably entertaining, and I can tolerate Scott's visuals better than Michael Bay's at least, though he does have the same obsession with a constantly moving camera even when it's silly and even damaging to making visual sense of a scene; but the time travel stuff is just utterly stupid, par for the course I suppose. It also suffers from one of my major pet peeves - they make a big deal out of setting it in NOLA, several references to Katrina, they obviously shot most of the exteriors there, but not one fucking member of the principal cast is from the South and they don't even bother to try any accents at all. Why not set it in LA if you're going to be so lazy?
20. The Andromeda Strain
(Robert Wise, 1971) (re-watch)
I'm sure it's been 15-20 years since I last saw this scientists-trying-to-stop-a-killer-virus-from-space epic - I think I'd seen it twice before - and I remembered it fondly, but this really didn't live up to the memories. That first sentence is really all you need to know - satellite crashes to earth, kills most everybody in a small desert town, and top scientists are flown in from around the country to a top-secret underground lab, equipped with it's own nuclear destruct mechanism which trust me will come into the plot later. Not only reminiscent of Gog
which I wrote about above but several other stop-the-epidemic films from the previous couple of decades, notably 1965's The Satan Bug
. This suffers from taking too long to get going - too much mumbo-jumbo about contamination and all the various steps the scientists have to go through before getting down to work at the lowest level of the bunker, and from a rather bland, if competent cast, but it's overall still fairly exciting and the production design is nice.
21. Riders to the Stars
(Richard Carlson/Herbert Strock, 1954)
Actor Carlson's first film as director - he also co-stars as the rather asinine member of a group of prospective astronaut/scientists recruited to give the ol' USA a leg up on those damn Commies - though this is fairly light on the anti-red rhetoric. This develops a romance and some nice camaraderie early on, with the bored future spacemen sitting around waiting to see which ones will get picked, but the fairly pitiful effects (even for this period - though the film is in color, so you'd think there'd be a budget for them) and the predictable ending really bring it down. Meh.
22. The Land Unknown
(Virgil W. Vogel, 1957)
It's worthwhile to read the trivia bout this - apparently it was originally going to be in color, and be handled by Jack Arnold, a bigger-name SF director, but studio politics or finances got in the way and it was made on the cheap in b/w - but still in Cinemascope, a somewhat unusual combination - by the lesser name Vogel. I didn't know that before I watched it, but I could sense at times that there was a "bigger" film here than what we get to see - the sets and matte paintings in this fairly typical lost world story, set in an unknown warm valley in Antarctica, are pretty top-flight actually, and it's got a decent cast, with Henry Brandon as the bitter explorer trapped alone for years in the antideluvian world the standout. There's nothing new here really for anyone familiar with this sort of thing, but it's reasonably well done.
23. The Monster That Challenged the World
(Arnold Laven, 1957)
Another giant monster movie. This time it's a big mollusk - looks like a giant larva actually - living in the Salton Sea in California, which kills a couple of military guys in a boat and then spreads terror through --- well, mostly a couple of canals and a scientist's lab. The use of real locations adds a lot to this, it's a part of the southwest we don't see too often in film and of course most SF films from this period are primarily studio-bound, and Hans Conreid in a rare "straight" role as the main scientist is a lot of fun to watch. I didn't know he could play non-comedic roles but he's solid, as is Tim Holt - looking much more than 15 years older than his Magnificent Ambersons
self - as the main army guy in charge. Better than average monster movie from this era for sure.