Given that Resident Evil
is a Paul Anderson movie based on a computer game which was itself highly derivative (especially of George A Romero and James Cameron films), it's probably unfair to complain that it hasn't got an original idea or moment in its entire running time. In the early 1980s, Italian schlock films such as Zombie Flesh Eaters
and Zombie Creeping Flesh
tried to cram in as many moments restaged from American originals as possible, strung together by silly characters wandering between monster attacks. This is a much-improved, edited, photographed and directed version of the same gambit.
As amnesiac Milla Jovovich remembers amazing kung fu skills and anti-globalist Eric Mabius mutters about evil corporations, a gang of clichéd soldiers with nary a distinguishing feature between them (except for Michelle Rodriguez as a secondary tough chick) are trapped in an underground scientific compound at the mercy of a tyrannical computer--which manifests as a smug little-girl-o-gram--fending off flesh-eating zombies (though gore fans will be disappointed by the film's need to stay within the limits of the 15 certificate) and CGI mutants, not to mention the ever-popular zombie dogs. It's tolerably action-packed, but zips past its borrowings (Aliens, Cube, Deep Blue Sea) without adding anything that future schlock pictures will want to imitate.
On the DVD: Resident Evil on disc has the expected trailers, both teaser and theatrical; a half-hour making-of; zombie make-up tests; featurettes on music (with Marilyn Manson), production design and costume. A lively commentary track features Anderson, Jovovich, Rodriguez and producer/zombie Jeremy Bolt--Jovovich upbraids Anderson for talking about different gradings of film stock over her nude scene and everyone else talks about how much she hurt them by punching them out during action sequences. Anderson mentions an alternate commentary track with visual effects designer Richard Yuricich, but it isn't included. --Kim Newman
A big screen version of the popular computer game. A virus has been sealed in an underground research centre, the Hive, and Alice (Milla Jovovich) and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) are sent in with a team of commandos to destroy it. However, they have not counted on the fact that all the employees who were trapped in the Hive with the virus, and thought to be dead, have been turned into the living dead and one scratch from them can cause the recipient to become like them...