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 without 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. -- Kim Newman