Bride and Prejudice (12A)<br></br>Man on Fire (18)<br></br>Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse (15)<br></br>Bubba Ho-Tep (15)<br></br>Into the Mirror (15)<br></br>Goldfish Memory (15)<br></br>Triumph of Love (PG)

Austen in India sure beats Washington in a turkey
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The Independent Culture

Just once it might be nice to see a British film in which the Indian star didn't fall in love with a white Westerner, but in the meantime that scenario is back yet again in Bride and Prejudice (12A), Gurinder Chadha's follow-up to Bend it Like Beckham. She's given Jane Austen's novel some contemporary Bollywood spice, so Lizzie Bennet is now Lalita Bakshi (Aishwarya Rai), and Darcy (Martin Henderson) is a hotelier who visits her and her three sisters in Amritsar, India. From there the story jets to Goa, London and Los Angeles and back, stopping off regularly for song and dance routines.

An Eastern Austen is a promising concept, and it's realised with bubbly sincerity: if her films are anything to go by, Chadha is only fractionally more cynical than Postman Pat. The sad fact remains, however, that Bride and Prejudice (pictured below) doesn't work. In Bollywoodising her source material, Chadha has ditched all of its wit, irony and subtlety, and swapped them for musical numbers that are strangely drab for a film so full of colours. Maybe something got lost in translation. The acting, dialogue and songs seem clumsy and crude in an English-language movie, whereas they'd be more at home in Bollywood's exaggerated, melodramatic world. All that means, though, is that Bride and Prejudice may well turn the uninitiated away from Indian cinema, which surely wasn't the desired effect.

Man on Fire (18) is a repugnant film. Written by Brian Helgeland (Mystic River) and directed by Tony Scott, it spends an hour setting itself up as a serious treatment of real-life kidnapping - and then another hour slaughtering the bad guys with lip-smacking relish. Denzel Washington stars as a retired army assassin who gets a job bodyguarding an industrialist's young daughter (Dakota Fanning) in Mexico City. A depressive, anti-social fellow, Washington insists that he's not being paid to befriend the girl, and so - sure enough - that's just what he does.

Their thawing relationship is winningly presented, but its sole purpose is to justify what happens after the inevitable kidnap: when Fanning is snatched, Washington turns into Rambo, and rampages around town torturing and killing the villains in ever more vicious ways. "He'll deliver more justice in a weekend than 10 years in your courts and tribunals," smirks his friend, Christopher Walken, in case we hadn't realised that all crime south of the border could be eliminated by one handsome American with a gun and a grudge.

Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse (15) is as magnificently stupid as you'd expect the sequel to a film based on a computer game franchise to be. But let's be honest here. It's far better than the first Resident Evil, and it's more fun than the Tomb Raider movies, if only because you get not one but two semi-clothed, back-flipping beauties (Milla Jovovich and Sienna Guillory) for your money. You also get ravenous corpses, undead dogs, exploding helicopters, a motorbike crashing through a stained-glass window, and a genetically-engineered, bazooka-wielding mega-zombie, plus an encouraging measure of anti-corporate subversion. If you're male and you're too young to get into the film without fake ID, it could well be the greatest thing you've ever seen in your life.

Bubba Ho-Tep (15) is a no-budget cult oddity which posits that Elvis Presley is alive and unwell and living in an old folks' home in east Texas. There he teams up with a black man who thinks he's John F Kennedy, and together they take on a soul-sucking mummy that's haunting the home. Loopy as the film is, what's truly weird is how it balances its camp quirkiness with straight-faced pathos: Bruce Campbell is a more dignified, wistful Elvis than Presley ever was in his own films.

Into the Mirror (15) is an impressive Korean horror film in which people are murdered by their own reflections. As in so many South-East Asian chillers, the ghost keeps leaving frustratingly cryptic clues to its murder, so the film switches from scary movie to Agatha Christie detective mystery.

Goldfish Memory (15) is a partner-swapping, romantic soap opera set in a flatteringly photographed Dublin. It's too insignificant to excite anyone who isn't employed by the Irish Tourist Board. The Triumph of Love (PG) isn't the triumph of anything. An inept period romp based on Marivaux's play, it boasts accomplished performances from Fiona Shaw and Ben Kingsley, and less-than-accomplished performances from everyone else.

n.barber@independent.co.uk

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