AUGUST 11, 2010

The first “Resident Evil,” my favorite of the film franchise, carries the video game series to the big screen. Milla Jovovich heads the cast of nobodies (save for Michelle Rodriguez of “The Fast and the Furious” fame). Enjoy the crazed, underground zombies while you can because the first film is the only one that seriously focuses on the element that makes “Resident Evil” what it is.

The world of zombies is all the craze these days, but there were key moments in the film and video games that started the buzz; like the director George Romero and, of course, the franchises like “Resident Evil” and “Silent Hill.” The idea of the undead has formed a cult following unlike any other, even in the horror genre. That is where the “Resident Evil” film gains its largest shortcoming. With such a handful of diehards already in appreciation of the games and their stories, the film must try to draw in newcomers and, with lack of star power and poor graphics, that is not the result.

The “Resident Evil” story is extremely original. An underground research facility known as The Hive locks up unexpectedly, killing all inhabitants. Forced along for the ride, Milla Jovovich’s character, Alice, is kidnapped by the rescue crew, sent to find the cause of the shutdown. One by one, the team is picked off, (“you’re all going to die down here”) left fighting the endless hoards of zombies and the holographic security system, dubbed The Queen, conjuring as a very creepy young British girl.

By enforcing the horror flick formula, “Resident Evil” will make you jump. Also, the amnesia story progression works well to keep the first time viewer invested and the otherworldly elements throughout the film keep the viewers coming back for more, the inside-out dogs and the death-delivering laser hallway to mention a few. Disregard the lame special effects used on “The Licker” monster and remind yourself that this was based on a video game, where the graphics are much worse.

Milla Jovovich is one of the film’s biggest saving graces. Milla has such a style about her and it fits the film perfectly. Much like her performance in “The Fifth Element,” Milla becomes absolutely absorbed into her part, leaving it impossible to fill this part with any other actress. Her cold stares, lank and small stature, yet grit and indefinite integrity create the true star of the show, surpassing the importance of zombies by the second and third films. It takes a special woman to pull off gun-wielding martial arts while sporting a draping red dress, and Milla is that specialty.

Obviously, if you are a prior “Resident Evil” fan, there is no persuasion and you will definitely see the first film. For the majority of the others, I urge them to blindly step into the world of zombies and get a good taste of rotting human flesh and coagulated blood. “Resident Evil” is one of those rare films that works on many different levels despite not being a very good film overall. However, I will always have a soft spot for the film and anticipate the producers waking up and bringing the franchise back to its roots, which is zombies and nothing more.

March 15, 2002

Paul W. S. Anderson

Paul W. S. Anderson

“Resident Evil”
by Capcom

Constantin Film

(for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language and sexuality/nudity)


100 minutes

David Johnson

Marco Beltrami
Marilyn Manson

Alexander Berner

Milla Jovovich
Michelle Rodriguez
Eric Mabius
James Purefoy
Martin Crewes
Colin Salmon

Bernd Eichinger
Samuel Hadida
Jeremy Bolt
Paul W. S. Anderson

$33 million

1 Comment on “Movie Review: Resident Evil (2002)

  1. I loved the video game and I will admit that this has some good action, it’s all way too cheesy and stupid for me to actually recommend to anyone. I wanted to have a good time but I just kept ended up being annoyed. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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