Projections - Movie Reviews

Resident Evil

Resident Evil

Director Paul Anderson developed Resident Evil from the Capcom computer game series, but he fails to move from the computer game mode effectively into a feature film.

Initially Resident Evil convincingly moves us into the world of the Hive, an underground genetic research laboratory run by a massive biological engineering company appropriately called the Umbrella Corporation.  The elaborate setting fills the screen with an imaginative future world which can only be reached from a descending railroad with an engine called Alexi 5000.  Down at the three thousand foot level a vial is broken and the blue lethal contents spills into the atmosphere.  The challenge of escape for the hundreds of employees is trumped by the Red Queen, a supercomputer that controls and monitors the Hive.  Sensing the danger in the spill the Red Queen seals the facility and kills all the employees.

Commandos lead by Alice (Milla Jovovich - The Fifth Element)  and Rain (Michelle Rodriguez - Girlfight), are sent into the Hive to isolate the loose virus which has killed the staff.  The trip in and the mystery of what caused the accident along with the vast creative set mislead us into believing Resident Evil would be a creative science fiction adventure.

Once the commandos arrive at the level of danger we discover that the virus kills but resurrects the dead into the undead and a bite from the zombies infects and changes the victim into one of the prowling undead.

The challenges come in the form of slicing deadly lasers, mutant dogs and the vast distribution throughout the hive of the T-virus.  The most interesting challenge is the manifestation of the Red Queen as a young red haired girl with a British accent.

The captivating start quickly diminishes into a zombie romp with hundreds of mutilated former employees reaching and scratching for the small number of non infected characters.  Rodriguez and Jovovich have little to work with, except to react to the various monster attacks.

What's missing is restraint.  Resident Evil falls into the pattern of constant challenge which is very much part of a computer game, but not effective in a film.  Director Anderson also uses music as loud noise when danger arrives, but if we look back at Jaws, Alien or even Psycho the danger is not continual - it's sporadic with a build up to the shock with carefully planned music which is easily identified.  In Psycho, quick strokes on strings mimic the slicing knife, and we all recognize the thumping sound as the shark attacks in Jaws.

As Jovovich's Alice becomes the Omega woman similar to Charlton Heston's Omega Man we fear a sequel; perhaps better thinking will take the good and develop a better second version, but that's not usually the case.

Resident Evil

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