- Written and Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson
- March 21, 2002 (Germany) / July 12, 2002 (United Kingdom)
A viral outbreak at a secret corporate facility unleashes a dangerous virus.
Resident Evil is one of the most successful if not THE most successful adaption of a videogame to silver screen ever. It is not a direct adaption from what I understand, and I also understand that causes a kerfuffle among some fans of the games. I can certainly side with them in their grievances. If something is not good enough to adapt more directly than why adapt it at all?
Still though you cannot argue with success. You can but that is a discussion for another time. This film is a guilty pleasure. It is so bad that it is rewatchably good. I have used the frozen burrito analogy to describe my enjoyment of some films before. For those who may be unfamiliar with it let me explain.
You go out for a night on the town. It is late at night/early in the morning when you come home and you are hungry. The easiest thing for you to make is a frozen burrito you find deep in the back of your freezer. You microwave it just right and it tastes so good going down, but you wake up the next morning kind of regretting your decision even though you know you will do it again and do it happily.
Resident Evil is kind of like that. You watch it and enjoy yourself but maybe regret it a little afterwards even though you know you will watch it again. And you will watch this again. It is just bonkers fun and has nothing really to say. No deep themes to convey. No pretense of being anything great.
The characters are not that sophisticated and border on disposable. Milla Jovovich is Alice. Alice is an amnesiac at the start of the film having been exposed to a nerve agent. Do not ask why the nerve agent was not lethal or you might be irritated a bit. Eric Mabius is Matt Addison, a police officer found not far from Alice and also suffering from the effects of the gas. James Purefoy is Spence Parks. From the get-go you are left with the impression a little more is going on with him than it seems.
The uniquely voiced Colin Salmon is James “One” Shade, head of a unit sent to infiltrate the facility called The Hive that the three aforementioned individuals are found at. Michelle Rodriguez is Rain Ocampo who is a tougher than tough member of the squad. Real stretch for her. Martin Crewes is Chad Kaplan who appears to be the technical head of the group. The Umbrella Corporation, the company that controls The Hive only knows that their computer, The Red Queen, has gone rogue.
The corporate conspiracy and the vast and controlling corporation ideas have been done before and often been done better. There is no getting around that but it is not about who has done this or that better with plot elements. The important thing is whether or not you enjoy yourself during the time you give to view whatever it is you are viewing. And you will be entertained.
Resident Evil is an action film shoot ‘em up with a high body count that is high even before the movie really starts. Guns and zombies are a winning combination. Nobody really cares about the fate of a zombie. They are already dead. You’re just making them dead again. No group with protest that. On second thought some just might someday.
The film benefits from the use of practical effects. There is a level of ick that you can only get by doing something in the real world and not manufacturing it on a computer. The effects are a blend of the practical and the minimal CGI. Reportedly many of the zombies were portrayed by dancers since they had better control of their bodies with others filling out the ranks when the number of available dancers was too few.
The Red Queen program is not really the villain in all this. She is working on behalf of the Umbrella Corporation which are the actual villains but the program itself is not really bad. Given what is shown about the T-virus from the start its actions are justified even if they are unnecessarily gory. This is a virus with multiple avenues to infect that are always successful and a treatment that is questionable at best. She knows this and is merely trying to contain things before they spread.
Resident Evil is one of numerous survival horror science fiction hybrids on film. But it’s also just fun example of that genre. They kill plenty of monsters with great action sequences and lots of cool weapons. Who could ask for anything more in a movie?
Resident Evil is by no means groundbreaking film, but it is enjoyable film with plenty of great action and is just all-around fun. This may not be for everybody, but everybody should take a look.