Resident Evil
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Director: Elexander Witt

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Resident Evil A popular "kill the zombies" video game was successfully launched as a film franchise with Resident Evil (2002).

It used portions of the content of the first two Resident Evil games to concoct a tale of a superheroine in hotpants, & a bunch of corporate commandos, sent into a future underground facility called The Hive, only to find they must fight their way back out due an infestation of zombies.

An Artificial Intelligence called the Red Queen keeps the facility operational. She will do anything to keep the zombie infection from escaping above-ground into Racoon City. That includes trying to kill anything that moves.

With that simple set-up, it's just non-stop action & gore, some of it imaginative, including the mutant zombie dogs called Lickers that are skinless dragon-tongued frog-hoppin' & totally gross, though nothing like the "twice-infected zombies" of the video games, to the annoyance of gamers & nobody else.

Resident EvilYeah, it's a stupid film based on a stupid game, but it's got lots of pretty colored lights & motion, a good budget for the FX, & a gorgeous Milla Jovovich as the nameless heroine. Well, actually her name's Alice, but at no time in the film does anyone mention that (she'll be named in the third installment of the franchise).

Watching Jovovich kick ass (or shoot zombies) is worth the whole damned show. She's an A-list actor who makes her ridiculous character seem credible & not ridiculous at all.

"Intelligent" critics generally couldn't forgive the film's down-market glee over its own goriness, while many of the fans of the game hated it for leaving out their favorite bits from the game. But as someone who doesn't generally like video game movies, this one had my attention throughout.

Resident Evil ApocalypseThere are only fragments of a plot regarding the Umbrella Corporation's desire to get a sample of the virus rather than just destroy everything, but really nothing matters but the action & the gore FX. Anyone who ever likes such films should like this one, which is excellent at being what it is.

For the sequel, a few uninfected people have been sealed inside Raccoon City, where the majority have turned into zombies. That's the whole plot of Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004). The rest is nonstop mayhem.

It struggles to be bigger & badder than the first Resident Evil but with neither story nor characters of interest, the endless gunplay & gore gags quickly become tedious.

One big problem with films that exist for the shoot-outs, CGI acrobatics, & masses-slain chaos, is they forget to inject any sense of humanity, so that all characters are treated equally as just targets in a dumb video game.

There are some fine actors in this, not least of all Milla herself, & it wouldn've taken just a little bit of decent scripting to give them opportunities to convey character. But action rules, all of it just way too predictable.

Resident Evil ApocalypseA film like this typically believes that if it has too many characters still standing when the run-time is about complete, then there has to be one more quick & redundant sequence to kill off most of whoever is still standing.

This means that for Resident Evil: Apocalypse there is no real climax because a few more deaths is just more-of-same.

This could've been a good action film if Milla Jovovich's butch antics had permitted her to lead a little group of survivors to safety. But she succeeds at nothing beyond body-count & her own survival for the next sequel. It's an emotionless film with no actual hero in it.

Even so, I like Milla so much that with her presence, a one-star film can seem like three-stars to me. And for her sake solely, I looked forward to the third installment, which fortunately was much improved over the second film.

Continue to the third film in the series:
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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