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Resident Evil
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Resident Evil (2002)

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Plot Summary:
"A Virus has escaped in a secret facility called "The Hive" turning all researchers into hungry zombies and releasing there mutated Lab "Animals" that they were studying. The Government sends in an elite military task force lead by Alice (Jovovich) and Rain (Rodriguez) to contain the virus in three hours before it escapes and infects the rest of the world. But all there training couldn't have prepared them for what they were going to encounter."

Review by
Steven Davies
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Review Date: 25 March 2004 My Rating: out of 5


As there appears to be an increase in the levels of popularity and trends currently on show for the Zombie sub-genre I thought it might be apt to review some Zombie movies this week. And today is the turn of Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil adaption.

Video game adaptions to me are often very badly put together. But there does seem to be a rise in the amount that studios are churning out at the moment. In fact Uwe Boll seems to be single handedly taking them all on. But as with all adaptions, whether it is from existing literature, video games or television the problem is the comparisons. People who have never played Resident Evil can enjoy this movie on different levels (no pun) from those who are familiar with characters and concepts from the gameplay itself. It always feels like a spot the similarity contest once you've got this game world in your mind.

But, with that said, Resident Evil is one of the much better video game adaptions. It doesn't shove the Zombie premise down your throat. It's a long time before we see the first Zombie on screen and even more impressive is the fact that the word Zombie is never even muttered throughout the entire movie. And with that it gives you that realness.

Like other movies in the same vane, Resident Evil revolves around an escaped virus. The virus is contained for the time being in a secret facility called 'The Hive' but turns all researchers into hungry zombies and releasing their mutated lab animals. And now Alice (Jovovich) and an elite military task force have three hours to contain the virus before it escapes and infects the rest of the world.

Its a decent plot and relies on Alice's memory loss to help the audience pick up on the details of the underground facility. Why its there, what it does, and why the workers there are now braindead eating machines. Resident Evil has a great glossy look about it from beginning to end. The locations, the offices, the train all look fantastically new and shiny. Unlike the common delapidated style of post apocalyptic events.

Jovovich does a good job, looks good, and seems very competent at pulling off the action femme fatale. The rest of the cast hold their own too even though they're having to keep a straight face during the sometimes shaky dialogue. The effects are decent too, that is until we meet the Licker. A hideous mutated creature as featured in the original game. But it falls on the shoulders of CGI to bring this beast to life and it just looks a little shoddy and unrealistic.

But as I previously said the locations and sets look fantastic. The zombies also are frightening and eerie. The digital effects are seamless but the Licker under par. A bit like the alien creature from Alien3. And the fact that practically none of the action in this movie takes place outside of this facility is great and gives an overall claustrophobic feel that you would experience watching Aliens or other sci-fi classics that take place on board a ship in outer space.

So the plot and action moves along and the unanswered mystery's unravel towards the end. The last couple of sequences leads us nicely into the position of anticipation for the upcoming Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Nice job Mr Anderson.

Video games are fantastically imaginative and incredibally put together nowadays. Its a shame that the games creators can't use this creative flair to maybe try and develop some movie ideas from. Movies based on video games always come across as gimmicky merchandise bonanzas. Resident Evil is different and its intentions are clear. Scare, thrill and entertain. In addition, wouldn't you just love to see a 'Halo' movie in the pipeline. Maybe one day.

Reviewer: Sebastien Lamothe @horrorasylum
Review Date: 14 August 2002 My Rating: out of 5

Video games adaptations are quite rarely considered as “great” movies. Too many comparisons are made, people usually have their pre-conceived ideas of “how” the movie should be done, which basically means that a movie based on a video game has a very slight chance of Oscar nominations of any kind. Fans of the game usually check out the movie, and most of them aren’t happy with what’s been done to the original concept. Is this what happened with Resident Evil?

I was a fan of the Resident Evil video game. I like horror, I like creepy stuff and I like video games in general. So Resident Evil is definitely my kind of video game. Just like many curious people, I was wondering “how” the finished product would appear on a big screen and I must say that I was very surprised! The results are impressive. The Resident Evil original storyline is very well reproduced and respected. The characters are a little different but that doesn’t really matter because your mind is much too focused on the “events” that occur (compared to the video game).

“Movie”-wise, Resident Evil is also a great picture, even for the people who didn’t play the game. You get a very good mix of action, horror and fantasy at the same time. This is the kind of movie that isn’t perfect in anything, but everything is still very good. Good actors, good direction, good music (with a Marilyn Manson score?!?), good scenario. But nothing is “great”. Milla Jovovich does a pretty good job in this movie but I can’t say the same about Michelle Rodriguez. Jovovic is believable, while Rodriguez is a walking cliché. Mabius is okay, but hey, we’re not talking about an Academy award winner here...

What can I say about Paul Anderson? He hasn’t done too many movies. A few bad ones (Soldier, Mortal Kombat; yes, another video game!), and a decent one (Event Horizon). We could see in Event Horizon that Anderson was “able” to scare people and he has shown it again in Resident Evil, with a few scary scenes. Not enough, but less is better than nothing.

Now for the big flaw: The horrible computer animated creatures. Okay, I’m a little tough now, the dogs looked good, but the “licker”, a classic monster from the original video game, looked AWFUL! When you can clearly see that the monster was superposed to the film negative, I guess that you can say without a doubt that your movie loses some credibility.

Resident Evil is still a really good movie. Lots of good action scenes and a very powerful suspense. This last element is the key to a good scary movie. Resident Evil didn’t bring anything new to the horror genre, but it proved that video game adaptations can be well done. Most of my friends didn’t like this movie but I guess I did, since I’ve been waiting impatiently for the DVD release. I guess this film is just one of those “cool to watch over and over again but for no particular reason” movies.

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