Paul Anderson is a director who seems to get a lot of hate and I’m not entirely sure why. Sure, the Resident Evil films aren’t amazing but aside from them his track record is pretty entertaining.
I enjoyed his Mortal Kombat movie and despite being super-cheesy it was still a lot of fun and was a pretty effective adaptation. Probably not the best example so I am going to swiftly move on to what I think is his masterpiece: Event Horizon. It stars Sam Neill and Laurence Fishbourne and is incredibly underrated. When I spoke to Lance Henriksen a few months back he said he hated the term “underrated” but for this movie, it’s an apt description. The visuals are stunning and grabs you from the opening shot of Sam Neill staring out the window of a space station.
The story is about a rescue crew who investigate a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned… with someone or something new on-board. What ensues is unbelievable creepiness and some top-quality gore. There was apparently a much more hardcore version of the film where we REALLY get to see Hell unleashed. The film still has some incredibly disturbing visuals and Michael Kamen’s score oozes eeriness. Is it bollocks? Sure, but it’s still a fun sci-fi horror movie in the vein of Alien and it’s a pretty effective shocker.
His next movie was the Kurt Russell action movie Soldier, which I’m sorry, is awesome. Russell is a soldier who is dumped on a waste disposal planet and lives among a community of crash survivors. He takes it upon himself to defend his new home when genetic engineered soldiers are ordered to eliminate the crash survivors.
Russell is a one man army in this movie and the final half hour is action nirvana. You’ve got cool futuristic weapons, Russell vs. Jason Scott Lee and some impressive visual effects. It’s basically a futuristic version of Universal Soldier, but since when is that a bad thing?
Although I’m not a fan of the Resident Evil movies, they are hugely successful and usually make over $100 million and the first movie is actually pretty entertaining with some inventive gore. The guy being cut in half with the laser was cool too.
2004 saw the release of Alien vs. Predator which is widely maligned by… well, everybody but although it’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, it still has some impressive visuals with an awesome fight between the Predator and Alien Queen at the end. The main problem with the movie were the bland human characters who have nothing memorable about them. I love the scene depicting early civilizations worshiping the Predators as Gods and thought it was an innovative idea. The main problem was the PG-13 rating which was just pandering to the studio who forgot that one of the things that made the Alien and Predator franchises so cool was the gore. I do consider Anderson a very visual director though and the special effects in his movies were always impressive.
And my final argument: Death Race starring Jason Statham. I hear people saying this movie sucks and yet I never hear them say why. Is it the impressive action scenes which don’t use CGI that you don’t like? Jason Statham beating up bad guys? The R Rating? Or the fact that it’s incredibly entertaining? It is a well-executed action film with Statham on fine form. Sure maybe some of Joan Allen’s dialogue isn’t the best, but I love all three Death Race movies and I want to see a Part 4 with Statham and Luke Goss returning.
I’ve never seen The 3 Musketeers so I can’t make a comment about it and sure, some of his films are hit and miss but I don’t think Paul W.S. Anderson deserves the vitriol that he gets. Pompeii looks interesting and I’ll be intrigued to see what it will be like, but from the trailers it looks like it may be action packed with some impressive visuals.