Paul W.S. Anderson
Paul W.S. Anderson
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo
Eric Mabius as Matt Addison
James Purefoy as Spence Parks
By The Zombie Master, Lee Roberts
I will go on the record and say that I am not a gamer. I had not been living under a rock so I did know that Resident Evil was supposed to be taken from a video game. However, having never played it, I had no preconceived knowledge of any back story when I sat down to partake of the random carnage. I just wanted to see a zombie film. And a zombie film I saw.
Resident Evil starts by telling us about a large company (Umbrella Corporation) that has monopolized certain areas of everyday life, including healthcare, to the point that they have a very strong lobby in the government. They also have a super-secret research and development division, called the Hive, which is buried deep below Raccoon City, and there is some really nasty genetic and biological testing is going on there.
Somebody decides to steal some of this research and also decides to release an airborne virus (T-virus) inside the Hive – and it gets into the ventilation system.
Every super-secret facility also has got to have a super-secret super computer that controls everything within that facility, including security. This one happens to be called Red Queen. When Red Queen senses the T-virus in the air, she proceeds to lock down the Hive and kill everyone that is still inside.
Now we meet Alice (Milla Jovovich) was she awakens in a shower stall with amnesia. Not knowing where she is and how she got there Alice is further scared by the entrance of an elite special military unit that has been sent in to find out why Red Queen has gone homicidal.
Now back to the T-virus. This is a nasty little critter. It seems that this virus first kills, then reanimates the dead tissue. Can anybody tell me what that makes? Anyone? Anyone? That makes a zombie. (Yes, yes, yes) And for the rest of Resident Evil everyone is trying to escape from the Hive without getting bitten or eaten.
Resident Evil has its ups and downs, but overall it is not a bad addition to the zombie family (I have definitely seen worse). Writer and director Paul Anderson does a good job with staying true to the zombie lore:
• The zombies have a viable creation mechanism (virus),
• They have to die first then reanimate,
• Anyone bitten by them becomes a zombie themselves, and
• They can only be killed by a traumatic blow to the head. (I was so yelling at the screen when they were wondering why the zombies kept getting up after they were shot).
I thought the zombie dogs were just the cutest. (Hey Mom, look what followed me home) But there were a couple of things that will keep this one out of my personal top 20 list.
I did not think Resident Evil was gory enough. A zombie movie is, by its nature, gory. You expect to see certain things like zombies tearing someone apart and feasting on his or her innards. There should be appendages ripped off. There should be something to differentiate it from the rest of the horror genre. And what in the world was that freaky looking monster thing towards the end. That had to be part of the video game because I thought it was totally unnecessary for the story.
I would have loved to have seen what George Romero would have done to Resident Evil being that he was originally slated to both write and direct it. Paul Anderson on the other hand does not do a bad job and he throws in his own tribute to Romero in the end. Look for the newspaper headline that reads “The Dead Walk!” It is the same as in the beginning of Day of the Dead.
Resident Evil is a fun movie that is deserving of its place in the ever growing library of zombie films. Is it top 10 material? By no means, but it is an easy top 50.