Resident Evil
directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
(Columbia Tristar, 2002)

Video games have inspired a raft of movies over the past decade or two. Most of them aren't much good, either because they fail to follow the parameters established by the game or because they fail to rise above the source material. Resident Evil falls among the latter; it's a lot like your standard shoot-'em-up zombie video game, in that you have people wandering through improbable locations splattering zombies with heavy firepower, but apart from cardboard characters and a flimsy plot, it offers little you couldn't find in a game.

Y'know, I think I might have enjoyed Resident Evil a lot more if I had a game controller in my hand. Then, at least, it might have drawn me in a little.

The plot involves an underground laboratory run by an evil corporation. When a dangerous virus is released in the lab, the computer brain that runs the facility shuts it down and gases everyone inside. It's not the best contingency plan, however, since all of those 500-plus dead people -- and a dozen or so security dobermans -- come back as flesh-eating zombies.

Milla Jovovich, who wakes up naked in the shower, sans memory, in a lifeless but opulent mansion, is forced into the underground with a the team of space marines from Aliens. (Not really, but close.) There, they have to blast their way through 500-plus zombie people and a dozen or so zombie dobermans so they can escape before the computer locks down the facility for a second time.

Basically, if you're looking for gore, it's here. If you think you might enjoy seeing Milla Jovovich snap a zombie's neck between her thighs, then dive right in. If you love the video game but your mother took your PlayStation away, here's a good substitute. Otherwise, there are much better zombie movies on the market.

review by
Tom Knapp

12 December 2009

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