So once again we have survived.

Resident Evil

Apparently this one’s based on a video game that’s kind of based on the night of the living dead movies. So it turns out real crappy like a xerox of a xerox. And apparently the machine needs servicing. The video game is probaly better because after three of your pac-men get eaten by zombies, the game is over. The movie lasts, like, more than an hour.

The plot isn’t that bad. Milla Jovovich, who is still gorgeous even after leaving Luc Besson and becoming integrated into society, plays some kind of security agent or something in a dress. (Not sure.) She wakes up naked in the shower of a mansion with no memory. Some army goons rush in and bring her along with them into a secret underground chamber to investigate, even though she doesn’t remember how to help them.

Okay so I am not really backing my claim that the plot isn’t that bad. Well it turns out that before she lost her memory (I never understood how) she was undercover, living in the mansion to guard the secret entrance to this underground facility “the hive” where a realistically sinister corporation performs illegal genetic experiments. But somebody let loose a deadly virus, the computer put the place in lockdown, and all the scientists and dogs inside were turned into zombies. Also some monster comes out at the end.

Resident EvilWhere the not that bad part comes in is that while the team of toughs (including 2000 Outlaw Award Winner Michelle Rodriguez) try to contain the virus, the computer senses that they will be infected and spread the virus to the city, so it contains them. And then Milla starts to get back bits of her memory which make her slowly piece together who released the virus and why.

I mean I’m not claiming its great but it’s a structure that could’ve been interesting with skilled filmatism. Instead they hired the dude that did “Mortal Kombat” and “Event Horizons” and apparently asked him if there was anyway he could make something alot worse. There is no tension because you don’t care about the characters and things are not staged to give you a sense of geography, of how fucked these people are when the doors close on them.

It just doesn’t feel like a real movie. I like looking at Milla and Michelle Rodriguez is pretty cool, even when she has nothing at all to do. But otherwise none of the actors have any presence. They even got that idiot from The Crow Part 3 in one of the lead roles. The sets are mostly storage closets with pipes. If this was shot in hollywood it’s an amazing facsimile of Canada. If it was shot with a hollywood budget, it sure looks like Steve Norrington’s “Death Machine” on less imagination.

At first I thought the computer was going to be the only interesting character. It manifests itself as a hologram of a little british girl. But the idea of a computer that makes snide comments doesn’t hold up. I guess it kinda worked in Knight Rider, but that was a long time ago.

All the attempted scares are cheats. There is a part where Milla is being chased by mutant dobermans. The lab goes totally silent – until the camera changes angles to reveal the dogs behind her. Suddenly they are panting and growling up a storm. This pattern is repeated several times within that sequence, that something is dead silent until it is revealed and suddenly it can’t contain itself.

There is exactly one shot that is worth watching in this movie and it was already in the trailer. Milla sees one of the mutant dobermans jumping through a window. So she turns around, runs up the wall, spins back around and kung fu kicks the dog in the head, mid-air. I must admit I had to rewind that part. If only the rest of the movie had been that stupid it would’ve been easier to sit through.

When my friend loaned me the screener of this picture, he mentioned the dogkicking shot, and one where you see the side of one of Milla’s boobs. I was surprised to find that those really were the only two memorable things about the movie.

The best thing I can say about this one is that it didn’t seem as long as Final Fantasy.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, March 15th, 2002 at 10:00 am and is filed under Action, Horror, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit, Videogame. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Resident Evil”

  1. Hey Vern, this one sucked and the second one sucked even worse, but you might want to give the third one a chance on account of it not being completely terrible. This time it’s ripping off DAY OF THE DEAD, THE ROAD WARRIOR, THE BIRDS, and a little 28 DAYS LATER just to be safe, so it spreads the cliches around a little bit. And the way it ends makes me want to see the fourth one that they’re supposedly working on, despite my highest recommendation on the series being “not completely terrible.” Kind of one of those CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK things where the movie sucks but the last shot leaves you hungry for more.

    SPOILERS

    I personally think a million Millas is exactly what the world needs right now. We might finally all be able to get along as a society if everybody had their own gorgeous green-eyed Ukrainian superhero kung fu zombie-killer savant. Obama should put that in the healthcare plan.

  2. Majestyk – i think I heard somewhere RE 4 is going to be in 3D. SPOILERS I’m actually looking forward to it if it does have a never-ending army of Millas coming after the bad guys, simply because I don’t think that’s ever been done before onscreen. (Temeura Morrison in Attack of the Clones doesn’t really count) It’ll be like (The Parent Trap + Double Impact + Multiplicity + Resident Evil) x 1000.

  3. and yet they made 3 sequels to this shit

  4. Wow, I really have no memory of making that comment that I made above. I finally saw RE4, and like the other sequels, I thought several times during the first hour or so “this one might actually be good!” and then towards the end I was like “yeah fuck this series”. It’s the old movie-as-abusive husband analogy, but for real this time.

    And yes – the Army of Millas thing (and her superpowers!) are hilariously disposed of as plot points almost immediately (and nonsensically). I have no idea who the villain was (was he in the other movies? I really don’t remember) but I don’t get why he looked like a dude Blade would have killed in the first scene, crossed with a fratboy. And it’s also kind of hilarious how when he does BULLETIME and dodges bullets at the end, the movie makes this huge deal about it, as if we’ve never seen that shit before.

    Speaking of which, I’ve been a Paul W.S. Anderson apologist for a while – i thought AVP was fun and I really liked Death Race, but I can’t defend him here. The story is terrible and the action scenes aren’t very good. Even the show-stopping big fight w/ the Silent Hill reject in the bathroom is obviously meant to be a highlight but it’s anticlimactic and I think it consists of 3 moves. Let’s not even get into how the movie doesn’t even bother explaining who he is.

    Plus (maybe b/c i saw it on TV) the framing is REALLY bad. Half of heads left out of the frame, shots way too close. I wonder if it was shot w/ a weird aspect ratio for imax 3d and the conversion to STARZ got screwed up?

  5. These RESIDENT EVIL films have never been my cup of zombie tea. I’ve seen 2 or 3 of them, but they’re sort of generic, mainstream fodder. No real bite to them, horror or story-wise. Even the concept of a female badass zombie exterminator like Jovovich running around in her undies isn’t enough to draw me back in. To be fair, I’ve seen Bridget Fonda running around in her undies with deadly intent in THE ASSASSIN, so I’m spoiled. For life.

    There are many more original and interesting horror films out there – recently I found this Italian director, Ivan Zuccon who’s been making indy horrors for the past 15 years or so, and heavily influenced by Argento. His recent WRATH OF THE CROWS was pretty damn good. And I picked up one of his earlier ones, THE UNKOWN BEYOND, based on a Lovecraft story. Hoping to get a chance to watch that one soon.

    But I digress. The anomaly in Paul WS Andersons filmic frothing is, in my opinion, EVENT HORIZON. I love horror more than sci-fi, but somehow this blends both into an atmospheric, well-acted, scary, gory, umm event. The scenes of hell when the portal thingy is opened up are some of the most disturbing horror images I’ve seen. I had to pause some of them to get a better look because of the quick-cutting, and holy shit…

  6. I agree for the most part, but I liked the most recent RESIDENT EVIL. It’s not even trying to be a horror movie anymore. It was really just a series of extremely well-shot action-horror set-pieces with very little connecting tissue. The series distilled down to its essence without any pretense to drama or world-building. I guess it’s full of callbacks to the series, but I didn’t remember any of that shit and I liked it anyway. Seen it twice, in fact, a first for me and this franchise. It’s exactly the sugar rush, no-nutritional-value eye candy it should have been since the first one. I mean, it’s beyond idiotic, but it’s entertaining idiocy.

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