Resident Evil

Hollywood is still tinkering with adapting video game to the big screen (it works well frequently in the other direction). It's usually a matter of finding a good script. It's nearly impossible to keep the same structure of most games (kill or pummel most things in sight) without sacrificing the attention span of movie viewers. Huge failures include Super Mario Bros. and Final Fantasy, while others like Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider fared better. Resident Evil is a potential goldmine, because it has such a huge following. There are four sequels (and most likely more to come), so making this movie the right way will mean millions more in profit and free advertising. Resident Evil the movie fits squarely into the horror genre. It figures, since the main audience is probably young and male. So what else can producers do except add in lots of violence, zombies, guns, peek-a-boo nudity, and women like Milla Jovovich in a skimpy red dress, and Michelle Rodriguez.

The video games consist mainly of blasting through zombies to reach an objective, and this holds over to the movie. In term of aesthetics, the movie does a good job at creating zombified humans and dogs in a futuristic, laboratory environment. This looks exactly like what a real life video game should look like. Writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson (The Sight, Soldier) imbues the film with a creepy feeling, no doubt aided by Marilyn Manson's music. Like most horror movies, there are plenty of times that Anderson wants the audience to jump, especially in the beginning of the movie. The premise is that there is a huge underground complex infected with a deadly virus. The Red Queen, the computer in charge of the complex, killed everybody to prevent the deadly virus from escaping. However, a group of soldiers doesn't know this; they are trying to get to the heart of the complex to discover just what happened. With them is Alice (Jovovich, The Claim, Zoolander). She is supposedly one of the agents, but has amnesia. There are a bunch of other characters, but remember, this is a horror movie, so it's not important who they are. In fact, for the most part, it's hard to even remember their names or anything distinct about them. Most of them are filler, like the red shirts on the original Star Trek.

The team enters the complex, which appears deserted. Only after they start disabling systems do the zombies attack. The zombies want to feed, and they will feed on whatever is around, namely the team. Here, the normal group dynamic of arguing and mistrust rules the day. Spence (James Purefoy, A Knight's Tale, Domani) is another soldier with amnesia who may or may not be married to Alice, Matt (Eric Mabius, Wirey Spindell, Cruel Intentions) is some random guy, and Rain (Rodriguez, The Fast and the Furious, Girlfight) is still sporting the attitude and looking as is she's trying to look at the inside of her head. Acting is not a priority here, so there is little character development and trite dialogue. The main effort goes into killing zombies. Jovovich sports the look and Rodriguez has the sneer and watch the bullets and blood fly. It's here that Resident Evil feels most like a video game. There are people with goings blasting anything and everything in their way that moves. The shell of the plot makes a little more sense than in comparable movies, but if somebody thinks too hard it will start to unravel.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated R for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language, and sexuality/nudity.

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