Changing Lanes (2002)

Changing Lanes pits Sam Jackson against Ben Afleck in a story where you can empathize with each character in the situation they are in. Ben’s character is not a likable character. While changing lanes, they have a little car accident. Ben’s character is in a hurry and doesn’t want to be bothered with doing the right thing at the accident. This sets off a chain of events that will leave you wondering how it will escalate next.
The resolution to the movie is satisfactory and over all this is a good rental.

Resident Evil (2002)

I had really low expectations of this movie, now available on DVD. Based on that, it was better than I expected. Resident Evil is based on a video game with the same name. The commercials made it look more bloody than it actually was. I was expecting Hell Raiser and this was not that gross. It is part “undead eats everyone”, part “computer is homocidal”, and part “who am I” movie.
The plot centers around the Umbrella Corporation’s secret lab. A virus breaks out and infects everyone in the facility. The master computer knows what the virus can do an proceeds to kill everyone in the facility using halon, sprinklers, and elevators. A team is sent in to deactivate the computer.
The movie plods along predictably with a few surprises. The end of the movie has a Rod Serlin twist that I liked. They are already working on Resident Evil 2, due to come out July 4th, 2003.

Blade II (2002)

Just bought the sequel to Blade. We enjoyed the first one but never got to the theater to see the sequel. The first movie had a lot of action and some gore. The second one promised more. It’s like a cross between Matrix, Aliens and every other Vampire movie.

Blade is originally a comic book character, though I did not know that going into the first one. I’ve still never see one of his comic. The mood of the movie is very dark but not so dark that you cannot see the special effects like in the American Godzilla movie. The scenes are well lit.

The movie mixes computer animation and live wire work to create some very memorable fight scenes. The computer animation is well edited into the scenes so it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. One character hits another character. The camera cuts to a wide shot showing the other character flying back. The wide shot is computer animated but blends well with the close ups.

The bad guys are formidable with a face the Predator would love. If you like good action movies and are not squeemish about the gore, it’s a good rental.

John Q (2002)

I just rented John Q on DVD. I went into it with an open mind. Denzel Washington plays John who is down on his luck but a hard worker. His son is suddenly diagnosed with a failing heart. He does everything right by the system but the system is against him. Heart replacement sugery is an elective procedure and not covered by his insurance. The story quickly starts to look like Dog Day Afternoon meets e.r. with Denzel playing Al Pacino’s gun weilding part.

What I found interesting about this movie is that (almost) all of the characters are compasionate and seem to honestly be trying to help him. James Woods plays the heart surgeon who is donating his time. Robert Duval is the police negotiator who is straight forward with John during the stand off. Even Anne Heche comes off as resembing a human being.

The antagonist in this story in the end is the system. It’s a worthly rental if you enjoy movies like Erin Brockovich.

Queen of the Damned (2002)

I just rented Queen of the Damned, based on the novel by Anne Rice and sequel to Interview with the Vampire (1994). None of the actors are the same. There’s no Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, or Antonio Banderas. Some of the same characters are played by younger actors which makes sense since they are Vampires and vampires don’t age.

Stuart Townsend’s portrail of Lestat is very similar to Tom Cruise’s Lestat. Aaliyah character is interesting. Her character is pretty flat so it’s hard to judge her acting.

If you liked the first movie or are a fan of the novels, then this movie is a required watch. You don’t need to have seen the first movie to follow this movie but it helps to put the characters together.