Resident Evil - Videogame Film Review - Film Month Print E-mail
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Written by Thomas "CigDangle" Balistreri   
Wednesday, 05 September 2007

[OpEd]

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I’ve never been one for Zombie movies.  Hell, I really don’t much care for horror.  (It usually bores me, and I spend more time laughing, which generally annoys everyone around me.)  But for some reason, I have always enjoyed this movie.

I don’t know if it’s because it’s a movie based on a popular videogame franchise.  Maybe it’s because it was written and directed by the director of Event Horizon (possibly my second favorite set-in-deep-space survival-horror film, behind Alien).  I’ll be the first to admit, I tend to be a "movie snob"; I often watch independent films or movies considered “classics” by the critics of our time.  But I feel it’s just because it’s THAT good.

Resident Evil Poster Resident Evil follows a mixed group of individuals attempting to escape the Hive, a secret underground research facility run by the Umbrella Corporation.  The Hive is overrun by flesh-eating zombie-like creatures, formerly the employees at the site, but now infected with a mutating, biological agent known only as “the T-Virus”.

Although the film violates one of my “golden rules” for videogame films (namely that it follows the plots of none of the games) it does have an interesting, cohesive storyline.  Alice (Milla Jovovich) is not a character in any of the games, but the T-virus, a character unto itself, plays a prominent role.

There are times when the dialog drags.  The beginning of the movie, for example, has a few “explanatory conversations”.  These conversations are necessary to bring the audience up to speed, particularly those not familiar with the subject matter, but sometimes it impedes the film.

Alice: Who is the Red Queen?
One:
The super computer which controls the Hive. State of the art A.I. created by the same corporation which built this place.
Alice: You mean this isn’t a military base?
One: Private enterprise. Umbrella Corp. could buy and sell the military. They pay better too.
Alice: And you’re here to kill the Queen?
One: Put a bolt right through the bitch’s logic box.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this conversation, per se, but there are better ways to inform the audience, then to serve it to them on a platter.

Michelle Rodriguez in RE Michelle Rodriguez is great in this film, as a tough-as-nails soldier in the Umbrella Corporation paramilitary.  Her character is bitten no less than three times by the flesh-eating creatures that inhabit the Hive, yet she continues on.  A testament to what Rodriguez is capable of as an actor, she delivers the dialog in a convincing manner, something not so easy when acting opposite people walking at a rate of ½ mph and moaning.

But the star of the show is obviously Milla.  Ms. Jovovich is convincing as the protagonist who is trying to escape the Hive, while trying to recall the circumstances that brought her to this secret underground research facility.  Donning a red slip dress (or…whatever that thing was) and knee-high boots, Milla dominates her enemies in the film, yet still delivers believable flashback sequences, used to bring the audience up to speed.

Red Queen The supporting cast does their job in not ruining the film.  Michaela Dicker, the child actor who plays the visual representation of the Red Queen, is excellent.

Apparently, much of the cast must have enjoyed the videogame subject matter, as many of them went on to work on similar projects.  Joseph May voiced characters in no fewer than five videogames, including Michael Corleone in EA’s The Godfather.  Martin Crewes who plays "Chad Kaplan" later starred in D.O.A. with Anna Bolt (Nurse Jones) who played "Dr. Green" (in Resident Evil).  Milla Jovovich went on to star in the two Resident Evil sequels, the latest of which hits theater September 21st.  And Paul W.S. Anderson, who wrote and directed Resident Evil (and had already directed the original Mortal Kombat movie) has worked or is working on a number of videogame titles since, including the Resident Evil sequels, Alien vs. Predator, D.O.A., Castlevania, Driver and a new Spy Hunter film.

My Rating: 85%
Overall, the movie is good – by no means a “classic”, but good.  I have watched the movie a number of times in the years since its release, and enjoy revisiting it every so often.  One of the better videogame movies made, this one is definitely worth the rental…maybe even a purchase.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 September 2007 )

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