Sunday, 3 April 2011

Movie Review: Resident Evil (2002)


A futuristic zombie movie based on a video game series, Resident Evil contains plenty of action, some mild shocks, numerous extras doing the zombie walk, and buckets of inoffensive special effects.

It's the future, and The Umbrella corporation is the world's largest and most dangerous corporation. In an underground weapons research facility called the Hive, the lethal and highly infectious chemical agent known as the T-Virus is released by an intruder. The 500 researchers at the facility are infected and killed, but the virus provides enough of a kick to keep the dead moving and seeking blood -- chemical zombies of sorts. The central computer that runs the Hive, nicknamed the Red Queen, shuts down the place to avoid the infection spreading to the surface, where residents of the large Raccoon City metropolis are unaware that the Hive even exists below them.

An Umbrella military team is sent into the Hive to clean up the mess, and they take with them Alice (Milla Jovovich), head of the Hive's security but suffering from amnesia. They are soon engaged in running battles with hordes of hungry zombies, deranged dogs, and even more dangerous large pink creatures with long tongues. To make matters worse the Red Queen does not appreciate the intrusion and activates her defence systems. The military team is decimated; Alice fights for survival and gradually uncovers her role in the conspiracy that resulted in the bloody mess.

Video games rarely translate well to the big screen, since games are built for active player engagement while movies are a much more passive experience. Resident Evil adds just enough plot and characterization to hold itself together as a movie, and director Paul W. S. Anderson throws massive amounts of mayhem and some humour at the screen to cover up the lack of substance. Milla Jovovich fulfills her function as eye candy in the form of an action doll, but casting an actress with limited range as a character suffering from amnesia is just asking for an overdose of blank stares. Michelle Rodriguez as a member of the military team is a much more animated and engaging zombie ass-kicker.

Resident Evil does not pretend to be anything other than a pseudo-science evil corporation zombie movie targeted at a young male audience. It achieves its objectives, but the bar is set quite low.






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