Harrison Abbott on the worst movie action scenes of 2017…
In Absentia Luci, Tenebrae Vincunt – In the Absence of Light, Darkness Prevails.
Likewise, in the absence of competence, asinine garbage will invariably triumph. Which means that for all the recent advancements in cinematic technique and film-making technology, you can always count on some hack to drop the ball.
Make no mistake, professional ineptitude will never go out of fashion. Which brings us nicely to the second (and much angrier) segment of our review of 2017’s movie set pieces. In the last part, I was uncharacteristically positive and complimentary, so in an effort to restore the natural order, here are the Worst Action Sequences of the year.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – Alice vs Isaacs
This concluding instalment in the much derided series was, for the most part, endearingly stupid. Like a drunk baby. By leaning heavily on telenovela-worthy tropes, including amnesia, convenient doppelgangers and contrived plot twists, the video-game adaptation did at least manage to succeed in being brainless fun.
Which is the best that anyone could have reasonably hoped for, given how badly this franchise has botched itself in the past. Hell, even the opening recap of The Final Chapter seems confused by it all, as it keeps changing character names, contradicting previous films and generally summarises things in the most inaccurate and bewildering manner possible.
Trust me, it’s great!
Regrettably, whilst the story portion of the film is adorably inept – like that aforementioned drunk infant, dribbling all over its clothes as it struggles to stay upright – the action side of things is, well..less charming. Like when that same baby grows up to be a bratty toddler and keeps screaming in public because it lost its fucking fidget spinner. And it’s not even cute anymore either, in fact it’s kind of ugly and it has its dad’s hideous monobrow.
You see, that’s how these migraine-inducing action sequences feel. They aren’t even enjoyably shit, they’re just downright unpleasant to watch. Of course, the Matrix aping in these films have always been riddled with embarrassing slow-mo and flagrant violations of physics, but the fights have never been this disorienting and visually repellent before.
Gratuitous shaky cam. ADHD editing. Nonsensical choreography. Bad CGI. It’s all here and it’s every bit as dreadful as you’d expect. The film arguably reaches its nadir during a woeful climax (a running theme for this list), as Alice takes on her archenemy Dr. Isaacs. The ensuing scrap is one of the most jumpy fight scenes ever committed to celluloid, with unfathomable cutting that is so rapid, it makes Taken 3 look like Russian Ark.
Alien: Covenant – Poor Xenomorph
Alien: Covenant’s somewhat misleading marketing campaign gave off the impression that this was going to be a welcome return to the franchise’s horror roots. Twentieth Century Fox certainly jumped on this prospect, producing some fantastic advertising materials in the process, including this sadistic poster and several intense trailers.
Maybe the PR team got a little too giddy with this idea though, because in hindsight Alien: Covenant was never intended to be a horror movie. Instead, it was a faux-intellectual successor to Prometheus, one laden with rambling, heavy-handed biblical references and characters who can inexplicably spout profound literary quotes at the drop of a hat. The classic Xenomorph doesn’t even make an appearance until the third act and even then it feels very awkwardly shoehorned in.
All of which would be fine, if the creature were in the least bit intimidating when it did turn up. But alas, the alien’s desperately rushed introduction means that it never gets the chance to truly substantiate itself as the ”perfect organism” it ostensibly is. Quite frankly, instead of being portrayed as a highly evolved killing machine, it just comes across as an ineffectual buffoon.
This is largely down to one particular sequence, in which the Xenomorph pitifully hangs on to the side of an evacuating shuttle, whilst the crew within try to feebly shake it off. This is the first proper look we get at the creature and it’s in a position of weakness, completely at the mercy of the human characters piloting the ship. It’s a bizarre choice, one that completely robs the alien of its former power and mystique.
Rather than being thrust into an intense game of cat-and-mouse (as in the previous films), we just watch as the Xenomorph pathetically flits around, desperately trying to maintain its grip on the lander. Admittedly, when compared to the other moments on this list, this is technically well crafted, but it’s still totally devoid of jeopardy. After all, it’s about as suspenseful as trying to get rid of an irksome bug that keeps batting against your windshield. Put bluntly, this demeaning display reduces a once-fearsome creature into nothing more than a minor irritation.
Underworld: Blood Wars – Take Your Pick
Oh sorry, this must be a mistake. Just ignore it. There aren’t supposed to be any TV movies in here. After all that wouldn’t be fair, they don’t have the resources to compete with all of these bigger releases. It would be like picking on the little kid in the playground. I mean would you just look at those special effects? Of course the action is gonna be naff when that’s what the monsters look like. It’s practically a foregone conclusion.
Hang on, what? No that can’t be right. There’s not a new Underworld movie, they stopped making them years ago! I’m sure they did like a prequel or something and that was the end of it. Well no shit! There’s 5 of them? What and you’re saying this is the most recent?
So I guess they’re straight-to-DVD now or something? I mean that’s a shame I guess, but it makes sense if that’s the calibre of their CGI . Huh? At cinemas? Oh come on, piss off. There is no way that got a theatrical release…. Right? Hello?
You’re silence is not reassuring.
Please say something… Please…
Oh……. Oh no…..
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