“You’re all going to die down here.”
I’ve never seen any of the Resident Evil films but I am a big fan of the games. We thought it was about time we gave this (apparently) terrible film series a chance, to see if there was anything of merit hidden within. For the next few weeks we’ll be watching each of the Resident Evil films and reviewing them. If the first film is anything to go by, there’s some potential for some schlocky fun.
The film opens with some scientists in a secret facility getting bumped off by a virus. It then cuts to Milla Jovovich waking it up with no memory of who she is. I respect the film for keeping this air of mystery up for so long. The first 20 minutes are pretty good at just leaving it up to the audience to work out what’s going on. Right up until Colin Salmon dumps some exposition on us. But for the most part the film has a pretty decent mystery running through it, people betraying each other, hidden motives etc. It’s been done before but it’s still entertaining.
After being grabbed by a group of friendly soldiers Alice is led underground by train to the facility. From here on out it’s all zombie shooting, rampant AI and laser walls. It’s b-movie silliness but it’s a lot of fun to watch. And the movie makes the most out of it’s modest budget, with zombie dogs and a cool cgi monster straight from the games.
Don’t go in to this film expecting a straight up adaptation of one of the Resident Evil games. It doesn’t follow the story of any of them, but there are references. Umbrella for example plays a huge part in the story. And the monster I mentioned above is a licker from the original games. Some of the shots are the same as the angles in the game too. It’s nice that the people behind the film seem like fans of the game, so often with films like this it seems no one involved with the production cares about what they’re adapting.
The actors are great, Colin Salmon is a welcome appearance albeit a brief one. Michelle Rodriguez is playing a hardass Latina but she does it so well. James Purefoy feels quite underused though. Milla Jovovich was born to play this role however. She has the right air of fragility and vulnerability when the film calls for it, but she can kick ass and drop kick zombie dogs with gusto. The accents on the other hand, they need a bit of work. God knows why Colin Salmon couldn’t have just been British.
As you no doubt can guess, the film is far from perfect. It looks cheap and the plot is nothing new. It’s dumb and yeah it’s pretty gross and sometime it feels like a prelude to the real craziness of the later films. It won’t win awards for anything really, but it’s a lot of fun.
I recommend Resident Evil. Once it gets going it never lets up and the ending it so batshit crazy I can’t wait to see the sequel. It won’t change your life, in fact you might forget all about it straight after. But as a fan of the games, and a fan of trashy films, it accomplished it’s goal of entertaining us, and then some.
Next time: Resident Evil: Apocolypse. I’m guessing we won’t address that Jason Isaacs cameo.
Reviewed by Jack 😛