|March 15, 2002|
|Paul W.S. Anderson|
|Paul W.S. Anderson|
|Action, Adventure, Foreign, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Rated R For Strong Sci-Fi/Horror Violence Language and Sexuality/Nudity
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 & 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 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 a 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 fit’s 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 creates the true star of the show, surpassing the importance of zombies by the second and third films. It takes a special brand of 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.