Originally a Play Station game, which was not only horrific and scary, it was a pioneering game. It spawned a series of sequels and transcended consoles and PCs everywhere. The inevitable had to happen, translate successful game into film. Add elements that will appeal to the mainstream, tuck in little insider jokes for the gamer geeks and add the compulsory thumping soundtrack with funky CGI elements. In reality though, the result is more likely to end up in a fornicated pixel-ridden mess (see Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Super Mario Brother, Double Dragon etc). Resident Evil although disappointing wasn't as bad as some.
More akin to the second game than the first, we begin with an introduction into the Umbrella Corporation, the world's largest conglomerate. They have products that range from household appliances to secretive biological weapons. Unfortunately, at one of their secret underground research facilities, called The Hive, someone has unleashed one of their weapons, the T-Virus. The instigators have also stolen the antidote before escaping. Once the virus spreads through the ventilation system, all of the employees die, however, staying dead is another thing altogether.
Alice (Milla Jovovich - delicious as always) awakes suffering from amnesia in a mansion. A SWAT team (who include Colin Salmon as Team Leader and Michelle Rodriguez as Rain) who have been sent in to shut down The Red Queen, quickly discovers Alice. The Red Queen is the super computer in charge of the Hive and is believed to have become homicidal. Unfortunately Alice cannot remember whose side she's working for. Is she a member of the SWAT team sent undercover, one of the operatives sent into to steal the T-Virus, an Umbrella security agent or someone who is trying to destroy Umbrella from the inside? To add to the confusion, why is she wearing a wedding ring when she's not married?
However, as the SWAT team progresses further into the Hive, other more confusing and much more deadlier problems wait. One just cannot walk up to a homicidal super computer and flick the off switch. When the Red Queen revels itself, it uses a holographic projection of the head programmer's six-year old daughter. The Queen explains that she sealed off the facility due to the T-Virus being unleashed by whoever stole it. She also explains that the purpose of the virus is to reanimate cells, which isn't really a good idea when there are hundreds of dead bodies lying around. The Red Queen sees justification in sealing off the Hive to prevent the T-Virus escaping and spreading in the open. Unfortunately for the SWAT team and Alice this means that they will not be allowed to leave either.
If things couldn't get any worse the T-Virus victims, who are now zombies, discover them. Cue carnage and mayhem. Can Alice discover who she really is and get everyone out? And all before she gets eaten or worse.
Resident Evil is pretty 'clean' for a film that was supposed to be a total gore-fest and this is one of its biggest problems. There was talk during the films shooting of blood and carnage at horrendous levels, but the final product is clean enough to eat off. Lots of CGI nastiness, done quite poorly unfortunately. The laser scene (features heavily in the trailer) is.... well...in the trailer so no surprises there. Also, the zombie dogs, zombies finding the team, Rain getting bitten, slicing laser room - all in the trailer. So no real surprises for anyone who has seen the trailer really. There are a few surprises in the subplots with Alice's amnesia but nothing to write home about.
The zombies are utterly unimpressive and look like rejects from Michael Jackson's Thriller video; I expected synchronised dancing and groin grabbing moves. One of the appeals of the game was it was scary and when you fought zombies, they exploded in a shower of blood and brains. These pale shambling rejects couldn't scare a thing and when shot tend to fall over in a comedy style, without blood. Where are the anticipated fountains of blood and brains?
Milla Jovovich is good and shows she can kick zombie arse. Why she's in a cocktail dress who knows and more importantly who cares - she looks great! Michelle Rodriguez plays the same pouty-lipped tough chick persona she's played before in Girlfight and The Fast And The Furious. Unfortunately the rest of the cast is cannon fodder, nothing more nothing less, there to be killed off or eaten in interesting fashions.
Overall, Resident Evil comes across as a watered down version of the game. Fans will notice similarities to the game. The end is the same as the beginning of one of the games, setting a sequel up nicely. Hopefully they don't bother with the sequel, instead make a film based on Pacman or Pong (now that would be cool - 2 hours of watching a dot and two paddles!)
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