Resident Evil (2002)
By: J.R. McNamara on March 28, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Buena Vista (Australia). Region 2 & 4 PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DTS 5.1. English, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian Subtitles. 96 minutes
The Movie
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy
Screenplay: Paul W. S. Anderson
Country: USA
Scientific research facility, 'The Hive' has been completely locked down due to a deadly virus, known as the T-Virus, being released within its walls. The highly sophisticated computer, the Red Queen, sealed the entire complex to prevent the infection escaping to the outside world, which due to its nature, would spread incredibly quickly. Umbrella, the corporation in charge of the lab, sends in a crack team of military operatives led by One (Colin Salmon), where they find Alice (Milla Jovovich), who due to exposure to a nerve gas has lost her memory. Together, they have three hours to stop the virus from escaping, and cause devastation, but it is what they find within the lab that terrifies them more…

Zombies, or more accurately, the walking dead, are an excellent source for horror. The fear works on many levels, from the stripping back of ones personality until all that is left is the desire to consume, to the idea of having ones loved one attacking one, to basically the fear of being eaten alive by another human being. The 'zombie' has become as established a part of pop culture as the vampire or the werewolf. One of the interesting things about popular culture though, is how one thing influences another, which influences something else, and so on, until eventually it makes its way back to its source. Here is what I perceive as being the evolution of the film Resident Evil. 1968 sees the release of Night of the Living Dead, directed and co written by George Romero, the 'Dad of the Dead', which he sequelised in the amazing Dawn of the Dead some ten years later. This film spawned an entire sub genre of zombie flicks, mainly coming from Europe, which showed the dead more and more visceral, which eventually led to Romero releasing the third in his series Day of the Dead in 1985. This and other zombie films of the time, like Return of the Living Dead 1 and (to a lesser degree) 2, the remake of Night of the Living Dead, all led to games designer Shinji Mikami creating the game 'BIOHAZARD' for the Sony Playstation. This game, released as 'Resident Evil' in English speaking countries, itself has spawned many video game sequels and imitators of the 'survival- horror' genre across many video game platforms, and eventually lead to George Romero being asked to write a film version, which he left due to the horrendous 'creative differences' reason. This is where the pop culture cycle ends, and the nightmare begins. The film idea floated around Hollywood for a year until it was picked up by writer/ director Paul W. S. Anderson. Anderson, the director responsible for the terrible Mortal Kombat and the disappointing Aliens VS Predator, took a brilliant concept for the game, and whether it was him or external influences (the studio, the producers, whatever) wrote a script that wants to act as a prequel to the games, but just doesn't quite cut it.

This movie is little more than a series of cool scenes for schoolboy fans to say 'did ya see the bit when...' to each other at little lunch. Some of the computer effects are below average but the filmmaker obviously hoped you would be looking at Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez or the various monsters instead. This is filled with homage's to other zombie films, particularly Romero films, which Anderson quite freely points out on the commentary. It also has several tips of the hat to the Resident Evil games, which is fair enough.
The picture is absolutely perfect. I didn't notice any apparent faults, well except for the substandard computer effects anyway.
The audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1and has many nuances and subtleties to it that belie its extremely LOUD action sequences. Gives the old surround system a work out for sure.
Extra Features
The commentary is by director Paul Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt and actors Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. The commentary is fairly light hearted, but no real great revelations are made about the film. A lot of the time is spent with them all talking over each other. It is a light commentary, and ultimately, like the movie, goes nowhere. I will say though, that there are occasional moments of clarity, that quickly break back down in egotistical shouting over each other.

The Making of Resident Evil (27 minutes 22 seconds) is a by the numbers making of, which is informative and covers many aspects of the filming of Resident Evil. This feature is actually a lot better than most of the making of docos around…what a waste.

Scoring Resident Evil (11 minutes 7 seconds ) is a fascinating interview with score writers Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson, along with director Paul W. S. Anderson about getting the music right for the movie. This was one of the more interesting features I have ever watched, and wished it was a bit longer.

Costumes ( 3 minutes 26 seconds) is far too short to be anything but a fluff piece, which finishes so quickly, you aren't at first sure it has finished.

Set Design (4 minutes 6 seconds) is a documentary about the set design of the film. This could be interesting if the set design wasn't so ordinary and dull.

Zombie Make up tests (1 minute) is just a highlight montage of some of the zombie make ups, which are really great make ups

There is also a film clip of Slipknot's My Plague and text biographies for Paul W. S. Anderson, Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius and James Purefoy.
The Verdict
This is an action film packaged to look like a horror film, and it is packaged well, but executed poorly. The film seems to go nowhere, and goes there slowly. The make up is excellent, and there is no doubt that Milla Jovovich cuts an impressive figure, but at the end of the day this is an example of fanboy films gone wrong. This is not a terrible film, but if you want to want a film with flesh eating zombies, there are many better choices than this!
Movie Score
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