In the mid 1990s, a horror game known as Resident Evil was released for the Playstation and the Dreamcast. The game was insanely fun, atmospheric and actually scared the shit out of a lot of kids. Now as Hollywood tends to do, they wanted to cash in on the franchises popularity, so in 2002, a film adaption of the games was created. What became of said film is truly the most horrifying part.
The first thing any video game fan (such as myself) will notice is the similarities between the video game and the movie. It starts off with an introduction to the evil corporation “Umbrella” which has created a deadly T-Virus which transforms people into zombie like creatures. Oh yeah, I like where this is going. After the T-Virus accidentally gets spilled, Umbrella’s underground head quarters goes into lockdown. oh fuck yes, this is going to be amazing. Shortly after that, we are taken to the mansion from the first game. Oh my god, I’m so giddy. Here comes Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine… Or…. wait… who… WHO THE FUCK IS ALICE?! Of course this is one of the worst problems with this movie. Any fan will notice that the movie and the video game share ABSOLUTELY ZERO of the same characters. Chris, Jill, Wesker and Leon can be completely forgot about because this movie doesn’t have any of these people. So if you’re a fan of the series, throw everything you wanted from a movie right out the window now because it ain’t happening.
Now there’s a few rumors that floated around the internet about why Director Paul W.S. Anderson decided not to have any of the video game characters in the movie and the one that seems the most prevalent is that he wanted his wife (Milla Jovovich) to have the leading role, but none of the game characters fit her acting style. Thus, the character of Alice is created. As an audience member, I instantly hate this person.
So after you get over the lack of Resident Evil related content, what you see is a pretty stock zombie flick, although with one problem. The movie throws you right into the action immediately, which wouldn’t be such a huge problem if there were zombies immediately. But no. Alice and a cut and paste crew of Alpha soldiers spend the first half of this movie trying to shut off a computer. Yeah. Not joking. We establish some of the characters such as Rain, Kaplan, Matt and a few other generic zombie survivors. As soon as the computer is shut down, the zombies are now free from their locked prisons and it’s open season from here on out.
Now, as far as zombie movies go, this movie has the opposite problem of most bad zombie movies. Most of these movies tend not to show zombies or zombie-related action often enough and it bores the audience. Anderson clearly didn’t want that, so he jam packed the movie with a lot of them. I guess that’s not such a bad thing cause some of the action is actually pretty neat, but by the end we’re so used to seeing them fight zombies that we just stop caring.
One thing about this movie that actually makes it a must see, is that it houses one of (if not THE) worst performances I’ve ever seen in a big-budget Hollywood movie. Michelle Rodriguez performs so poorly in this movie. She seems to only have one facial expression and it seems to always say “Are you fucking kidding me?” in a stupid, sassy kind of way. As far as line delivery goes, ever line is worse than the last. It’s actually funny how bad she is. I honestly didn’t see it coming, and when she opened her mouth for the first time I actually laughed out loud and said to myself “Well, she’s not gonna do the whole movie like that, is she?!” Spoilers: She does.
For a while, the movie acts as a generic zombie film, which is fine and sort of fun to watch, but near the end a super zombie is formed which displays some of the worst CG I’ve ever seen. Bear in mind, this movie was made in 2002 and even for the year, the CG was bad. It sort of reminded me of the dinosaur at the end of The Super Mario Bros movie and that movie came out in 1993! Thankfully, the CG didn’t stay long and we moved on with this pathetic attempt at a movie.
Now even though I truly disliked this movie, the last ten minutes are actually kind of cool. They hint at Nemesis and a Resident Evil 2 themed-sequel taking place in the downtown core of Raccoon City. Now this movie did illicit a lot of sequels, all of which were better than this first attempt (Although just barely) and they featured characters from the actual video game series. I just can’t wrap my head around why they would choose not to tote characters from the franchise they were so desperately attempting to bank off of. It doesn’t make feasible sense. Almost like a marketing error.
Overall, this movie has a lot of problems. The original characters being completely shafted, Rodriguez’s piss poor performance and so on and so forth but the main problem in this movie, is that for an action-horror film, it’s just really boring. Although the movie is only an hour and thirty-five minutes, it really drags and the set up to the zombies just takes too damn long. If you’re feeling in a horror-like mood, play the original Playstation games. They hold up better.