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Resident Evil 5 – Greatest or Racist?

Posted in essays, games, reviews, Video Games with tags , , , , on June 19, 2009 by hunterchad

resi5-logo Although it’s been out for several months, Resident Evil 5 has accomplished several major achievements:

  • It is a sales record-breaking installment in a trend setting game series
  • It boasts some of the most realistic and state-of-the-art graphics that any modern gaming console could offer
  • It has been accused of being racist

Upon the game’s initial development, there were some groups and players who accused the fifth installment in Capcom’s Survival Horror series of being racist.  With the main protagonist being Caucasian being set against hordes of infected Africans, there arose a sentiment that the game had violent racial overtones.  In the end, an international committee did view the game and decide that it was not racist.  However, the question is raised: did this committee include minority gamers familiar with the series?

Resident Evil 5 is not racist.  It is one of the greatest games to be released in the last few years.  As a minority gamer familiar with the series, I can say that the gameplay is far from racist.  The action is indicative of the locale.  Case closed.  Resident Evil 4, which was set in Spain, was not accused of being racist although it was a similar setup, a Caucasian fighting infected minorities (in this case Spaniards.)  Resident Evil 5 also includes in its cast two other heroes, Sheva Alomar and Stone, both of whom are competent, three-dimensional and African.

Resident Evil 5 does not evolve beyond its issue of black and white because there never is an issue.  As a matter of fact, there are a blend of colors in the infected masses attacking and ethnicity is never mentioned.  Those who have accused the game of racism have not played it and are not familiar with the background story and its globe-trotting time-line.  In the end, it is small-mindedness that keeps us seeing black and white instead of good and evil, right and wrong, survival and survival horror.

ZA: Zombies Anonymous

Posted in movies, reviews on January 30, 2009 by leighcifer

za

I consider myself a true movie lover. I’m not really a movie snob, even when it comes to zombie movies. I’m willing to put up with the worst  low-budget camera work, sound quality, and goofy melodramatic acting if someone feels they have a good story to tell, especially if the story is clever or funny.  This is why I thoroughly enjoyed Zombies Anonymous.

Zombies Anonymous is not a masterpiece by any means, but the concept is a fresh one for a zombie film.  Much like the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris (that spawned the HBO series True Blood) which tells the story of vampires “coming out of the closet” and co-existing among the living, ZA begins with the dead coming back to life and eventually “living” among the normals.   The ZA zombies have their wits about them, going about their daily lives while the skin rots from their faces.  These mortally challenged folks face discrimination everywhere they turn, simply for being undead.

The title Zombies Anonymous references a support group attended by the main female character, Angela, who was recently shot to death by her abusive boyfriend. Angela and the rest of  the support group sit around eating donuts & coffee (then puking them up, because they’re zombies), and talking about how hard their life is now that they’re dead.  While the zombies try to cope with their new world by eating lots of raw meat from the supermarket and combing undead dating sites for potential mates,  hate groups are sprouting up all over the place.  Angela’s abusive ex gets involved with one of these groups, that is fronted by the most over the top annoying character in the whole movie, The Commandant.

The first half of Zombies Anonymous is cute and clever, even with the bad stage makeup and loads of unanswered questions (why are the zombies cognizant? what is the government doing about this weirdness?), but the story gets increasingly silly and muddled as time goes on.  Soon, there’s a zombie cult leader trying to freebase brains and lots of hard to follow fight scenes.  Zombies vs. zombies, hate groups vs. zombies, living vs. living….. whatever.

Overall, Zombies Anonymous was a decent way to spend a few hours.  I have a feeling that the zombie movie purists will have plenty of reasons to pick on this movie, but ZA kept me mostly entertained.  A worthy addition to any zombie fan’s Netflix queue, I say.

Review: ‘Zombie Strippers’

Posted in movies, reviews with tags on November 23, 2008 by Justin

zombiestrippersWhat can you expect from a movie called Zombie Strippers, and how does one approach writing a review for said film?  Surely the filmmakers weren’t trying to create a worthy piece of important cinema, so what kind of expectations do you set?  Well, I figured as long as I was given what was promised, I’d be happy.  And I was satisfied with what I got: zombies and strippers.  And plenty of each.

For the first 10 or 15 minutes or so, I was pretty worried.  The movie started off clever enough — with a voice over (echoes of Starship Troopers) and animation explaining how George W. Bush had somehow finagled himself into a fourth term in office, how the country was going to shit, and how public nudity had been deemed illegal.  A sad state of affairs indeed.  Then the movie cuts to a military lab of some kind where we’re told that scientists are working on a serum to keep soldiers fighting, even after they’re dead (hey, guess where this is going?).  It’s not a bad concept, but it was done (and done better) in Joe Dante’s Masters of Horror episode, “Homecoming.”

The production values in these first scenes, showing the military lab and the team of zombie fighting specialists, were downright awful.  I’m talking The Dead Next Door levels of badness.  The acting, the lighting, the costumes, the effects — everything looked terrible.  I almost turned the movie off.

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