Resident Evil: Retribution
Resident Evil is the greatest name of hthe orror video game. With an average of 6 million copies sold per game, the saga has a rather impressive popularity and presence. Being, among other things, inspired by feature films like psychosis or by the filmography of George A. Romero, the project to make films was not a surprise. In fact, a small anecdote, the film had to first be written and directed by the director of the night of the Living Dead himself, before all this capote and was finally given to Paul W. S. Anderson. Since each new part was worse than the previous one, I decided to take the latest one : Retribution, even if what is true for this film, is true for all the others.
The example of Resident Evil is quite interesting because the films were a huge public success, so that apart from the last one, each one was more profitable than its predecessor, until reaching a revenue four times greater than the production budget. But of course, public success does not mean critical success, and the license was increasingly decried. Films can be seen as entertainment, as they have become extreme in their uninhibited stupidity, but they are a very strong symbol of a cinema that is frankly not exciting: that of popcorn films. Spectacular sagas, but above all incoherent, without interest and that we have already forgotten the day after.
It’s been a long time since the story has made any sense, the various changes in the situation are incredible of stupidity, the film has a strong tendency to dig into other popular hits to ponder its scenes of actions and above all… it’s not really the spirit of the first Resident Evil. The games are very minimalist, using the technical restrictions to create a true survival horror scary. In the movies, it’s more like a high-powered action movie with gunfights and an impressive cascade.
The success was such that the game itself was distorted. From the 4th (released 3 years after the first film), the license will also evolve to make room for an action game. If it was successful at first, it will get worse with the 5th and 6th opus, which are almost as dumb as the movies.
The Max Payne case is more or less similar to The Hitman case with only one difference : its strong cinematic influence of the game makes the failure of the adaptation even more disappointing.
Indeed, Max Payne is a game particularly famous for its staging, its main character inspired by the Hard-Boiled Cop that have strewn the cinema through the ages (the Maltese Falcon, Bad Lieutenant, The infiltrated,…), and its neo-black script. In short, a whole lot of reference from which it is easy to draw inspiration, in order to give a film not necessarily very original, but effective and faithful. No, we won’t even get there.
Even passing some very strange choices like the personification of the drug into Valkyries, or some casting errors, the background is really problematic. One of the goals of the Hard-Boiled Cop character is to paint a violent, unstable being, consumed by his vices, and thus deliver a rather destabilizing and shocking work. Outside here, everything is so rounded and sweet that nothing is ever credible. Mark Wahlberg (who plays Max Payne) is too harmless, the direction is much too aesthetic to stick, and the action is so overcooked that the film never shocks (since we only half understand what is happening).
We even get to the point where we don’t really understand the existence of the film. As Max Payne is inspired by an entire genre, there is a film package that the video game looks like. The film is therefore not a decent adaptation, because many films capture the spirit of the game much better. Which is pretty sad.
Silent Hill : Revelation 3D
Resident Evil is the best selling horror video game, but Silent Hill is probably the most cult license of the two. This saga, today considered as an absolute masterpiece of horror, offers a very psychoanalytical and visceral vision of the genre. Inspired by Jacob’s excellent scale, Silent Hill offers a story that is complex and profound enough for many theories and interpretations to be made of the game. This was the case of the first on-screen conversion by Christophe Gans in 2006 which produced a rather fallible but nonetheless interesting enough film to be considered one of the best videogames adaptations in cinema to date.
Silent Hill : Revelation 3D, released in 2012, has not really had the same critical success and was much spoken, making this film both a bad adaptation but also a bad result. The achievement completely misses its objectives by proposing an atmosphere almost non-existent (whereas this is the main force of the saga !), and decorations too bright to be scary. The story is taken from the 3rd opus of the games, but is much too close to the text, and totally lacks the depth or introspective aspect of the game. A flat and sanitized film that is quite the opposite of Silent Hill which is a deformed and exciting work. Torture for license fans.