Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, based on the video game
Starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, Colin Salmon, Martin Crewes, Pasquale Aleardi and Michaela Dicker
Released by: Columbia-Tristar
My Advice: Skip it.
The Umbrella Corporation has been a very naughty corporate entity indeed. It seems that on the outside, they are putting forth a very wholesome image, all the while researching and developing a virus designed specifically for military applications. Lo and behold, someone tries to breach security and get the virus and antivirus from its secret underground lab called The Hive. A special military group is sent in to try to reset the computer called the "Red Queen" (voiced by Dicker) in the hopes of getting back down to business in said Hive. To continue with the really random Carroll references, Alice (Jovovich) wakes up in what she thinks is her home with a complete loss of memory. It seems that her marriage was a front to hide the fact that the house she and her hubby were living in was a secret back door to The Hive. She gets swept in by this paramilitary group and is taken down (the rabbit hole, natch) into The Hive, where a bunch of flesh-eating zombies and mutant attack dogs await them.
So, what we really have here is a good old-fashioned zombie movie with a high tech gloss coat smeared over it (and very thinly at that). Jovovich is okay in her role as Alice, but for the most part her talents seem a little wasted. It seems that the only reason she was cast was that she is a very athletic actor and could really do a lot of her own stunts and fight choreography. Rodriguez is horrible in this movie. All she does is look through the tops of her eyelids (see the picture provided) and try to be a badass paramilitary soldier, but all she winds up doing is looking stupid. I understand she received some acclaim on her debut in the film Girlfight, but apparently she's been squandering that cred on films like this one since. See Fast and the Furious for more evidence of this.
The movie is a little slow at times, and much too often they overshoot the building of a suspenseful moment. I found myself trying to hit the "Go" button on my remote (where can I get me one of those?) for some of the Jump Out And Get You moments well before they were executed on screen. After awhile, it became more interesting to see if I could guess when they were going to get these moments right rather than waiting to see if I would be scared. Unfortunately, they left it wide open for a sequel and it's scheduled for release next year. Gods help us. If my memory serves me (and it seems to be failing of late), the first images of the video game are the last images of this movie. So, it seems that what we have here is a "prequel" to the video game, but don't quote me on that; it's been a long time since I played the game.
So, you've got a Superbit release here. Very quickly, for the uninitiated, this is Columbia-Tristar's nod to the mad audio/videophiles who have their own screening room/uber-home theatres in their homes. Video and audio are transferred to the disc at a very high bit rate, which is supposed to be all of a high quality. Good news is, it is; although it's probably demonstrated better on, say, a better film. However, the picture takes up the space on the disc that is normally allotted for what they call "value added content." This is not a Deluxe version of a Superbit release, either, where you get the bonus features on a regular non-Superbit second disc. Granted, after reading Widge's review of the regular release with bonus features, maybe I got off lucky.
So, the movie really isn't worth watching even as a rental, so my recommendation is to just let this one sit and be forgotten about...until the sequel comes out. Then...we'll just forget it again.
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