Resident Evil (2002)

Written & Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes


Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Avoid It.

What the hell is going on? Well, don't ask Alice (Jovovich). She's just regained consciousness naked in a shower in some bizarre uber-mansion that she doesn't remember. She doesn't remember much of anything really. Except that a red dress and combat boots is good fashion sense, apparently. Not even the paramilitary whackos flying through the windows of the house and taking charge of the situation completely jogs her memory. But she needs to remember quickly--because below the house is a dark, terrible secret that threatens to consume all of mankind! Moohoohahaha!

Oh sweet mother of Jaysus. Let me say this up front--I haven't really played the game Resident Evil. I tried a few times and got tired of the Defender-esque joystick that the gaming console had with it--so I just bailed. I also don't own a gaming console of any sort, due to my easily addictive personality. All of this to say that I can't speak to how well the movie adapts the game for the big screen. For all I know it's lock stock and barrel the same. I can only hope it's the same, because in a video game--since you're the one playing the characters who are doing the massive zombie hunts--you don't really need a plot. Anybody remember the storyline from the original Doom? Didn't think so. However films are pesky in that they need something for the audience to hold onto, especially if the film is going to attempt to be a ride.

This film has a terrible plot, horrendous storyline and wants to be a ride--but never quite leaves the station. The entire character storyline for Jovovich is laughable. I won't ruin what passes for a surprise for you--but let me just say you're going to be wondering when the hell the film went into Kiss of the Dragon territory. Rodriguez is a badass and that's about all she's given to do. The rest of the characters are unfortunately eminently forgettable--so let's consider them forgotten and move on, shall we? The action sequences are on the opposite end of the spectrum from gripping--and a chance to create a kickass horror/action flick goes...well, to hell. There's so much blame to spread around I'm not even going to try. Consider it distributed evenly over the cast and crew, like manna from the netherregions.

That's not to say there is absolutely nothing of interest in the film at all. There are some brief moments--but they're few and far between. About the only moment that brings up anticipation is a zombie dragging a fire axe over a floor--and the sound it makes. Unfortunately that's about it--everything else is telegraphed from ten miles away. I'd like to point out that it's especially sad when you can anticipate the George Romero zombie film ripoff moments before they happen. I don't know if that was a jab at Romero, who at one point was attached to direct, or what. I would like to point out that in good movies, such things are called homages. Here we call them ripoffs.

As for the disc, well, it tries. The featurettes actually do impart some information. The "Scoring" one featuring talks with both Marilyn Manson and Marco Beltrami is rather interesting, if for no other reason than to get some insight into how the score was as freaky as it turned out to be. In fact, I suspect that if I went out and snagged the musical score, it would probably be more interesting than the film itself. This is certainly the case with the "Zombie Make-Up Tests," all of which are much more disturbing and horrific than anything that actually appears in the film.

Still, the best part of the entire presentation is the running commentary. Jovovich and Rodriguez are absolutely completely loopy and out of their depth. Jovovich is astounded when, around the second track, she asks, "You mean we have to watch the whole movie?" And Rodriguez imparts some sage wisdom when, discussing what she thinks the film is really about, she confides that it's really a cautionary tale about playing around with "genealogy." It's the first commentary track that I've found which has that Battlefield Earth quality about it.

So I guess if you must watch this thing, do so with the commentary for the laughs. Just don't spend any money on it. Trust me.

(UK!) (CAN!)
(UK!) (CAN!)
(UK!) (CAN!)

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