Archive for September 11th, 2010

Paul W. S. Anderson

Paul W. S. Anderson is a British director formally know as Paul Anderson (not to be confused with American director Paul Thomas Anderson aka P T Anderson, also formally known as Paul Anderson), despite the fact he has spent most of his career in Hollywood he didn’t quite make it to my “The British Are Coming” article a few days ago. With Resident Evil: Afterlife, the movie that could be his biggest to date opening today (I will see it over the weekend) what better time to look back over his career to date.

Shopping (1994): The British movie was written and directed by Anderson, Shopping was a confident if low budget debut. Set in a world that hasn’t descended into dystopia but is on its way, the most frightening thing about the setting is how close it is to the everyday real world. On the surface it is a movie a about joyriding and ram-raiding teenagers, it is actually a cutting satire on consumerism. It is also notable as the first major leading role for Jude Law (he narrowly got the part ahead of Ewan McGregor) who met his future wife Sadie Frost on set.

Mortal Kombat (1995): Anderson quickly moved to America for his next movie. Based on the beat ’em up video game of the same name, the only positive thing I can say about Mortal Kombat is that it was better than rival game adaptation Street Fighter (1994). It was however very financially successful cementing Anderson’s credentials in Hollywood.

Event Horizon (1997): The Sci-Fi, action, adventure, mystery, horror, thriller is a hugely underrated movie, but don’t take my word for it, This is what Will from The Film Reel has to say about it.

Soldier (1998): Set in the same universe as Blade Runner with a fantastic story of the ultimate soldier who at the age of 38 has to face the fact that he is now obsolete and about to be confined to the scrapheap (literally). To top this of the soldier is played by Kurt Russell and the villains are played by Jason Isaacs and Gary Busey. Unfortunately the movie was rubbish and was a huge box office flop, it became infamous for Kurt Russell speaking only 79 words in the entire movie.

Resident Evil (2002): This movie has always been my ultimate guilty pleasure movie. I know it is disposable crap but it is such good fun disposable crap. Based on the computer game series of the same name it is a modern twist on the Zombie movie using a virus to explain the outbreak. With Milla Jovovich being one of the few credible female action stars (and looking great in the process), and Michelle Rodriguez in the supporting cast what more could you ask for in a guilty pleasure. With so many movies failing to make any money the success of this movie launched a new franchise that is still going strong, it also put Anderson back on track.

AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004): To follow James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) is an impossible task, but then on top of that is also a sequel to John McTiernan’s Predator (1987). The movie has its problems but by putting a strong female character, Alexa Woods played by Sanaa Lathan at the heart of the movie steers it in the right direction. The presence of familiar face Lance Henriksen doesn’t do any harm either. Although not a great movie, it was better than its sequel and it made money, lets not forget, cash is king in Hollywood.

Death Race (2008): The original Death Race 2000 (1975) was dismissed as a video nasty with gratuitous violence and nudity. A science fiction classic set in a dystopian future it is actually a satire in the vain of 1984 for a video nasty generation. The remake looses all of this but is actually kind of fun, Jason Statham is one of the few modern action stars who could have pulled it off and Joan Allen has a great time hamming it up.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010): After taking a back seat and acting as just a producer for parts two and three in the franchise (Afterlife and Extinction) Anderson is back in the directors chair for part four. Filmed using James Cameron’s 3D Fusion Camera System, it could be a make or break moment for 3D. Look out for my review in the next few days.

While his budgets are too big to be taken seriously as a B movie director like fellow Brit Neil Marshal, Paul W. S. Anderson does make movies that are a little left of the true mainstream.

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