Movie #165 2020: Resident Evil (2002)

Stupid, but fun. That’s it. That’s the review.

Okay, let’s get our serious hats on and tell you what this whole franchise is about.

Resident Evil stems from the video game series of the same name. Like so many other movies and TV shows and Halloween costumes, it’s a zombie killing type of jaunt. We follow Milla Jovovich in the lead role, Alice, as she uncovers the Umbrella Corporation’s untoward motives. Like the majority of real life corporations, Umbrella Corp. turns out to be evil and corrupt, and they happen to hold the serum that turns normal human beings into the walking dead. Yikes.

Twists and turns occur, and Alice makes a few friends (and secret enemies) along the way, all of which have one goal: to escape the underground lab where the virus is kept, alive, and with the virus samples as proof of all these wrong-doings.

The premise itself – although not original in the slightest – is entertaining enough. Just like unicorns, we all know that their antithesis – zombies – also sell like hot cakes. Of course you can tell it is from the early 2000s but it’s charming in a “in the future we’ll have flying cars!!!” kind of way. There’s no excuse for average special effects when The Matrix came out three years before it though, and sadly, Resident Evil is sorely lacking in that department. (I can’t speak for the later movies, as – you guessed it – I’ve not seen them).

Plot lines are in short supply here, as you’d expect from a zombie movie, but one can assume that’s because it’s mostly based on the original video game. (For the record, the game is probably heaps of fun with all that zombie killing). Despite the thinness in its story, it’s still compelling to be entertaining enough to schlep you through the whole thing.

As you’d also expect from the early 2000s, there’s a ton of ridiculousness too. One of the best things about this movie though, is the use of reaction shots. Remember in The Rocky Horror Picture Show when they spoof such things? (”Dr. Scott!” ”Janet!” ”Rocky!”) Yep, this is just like that, but apparently they’ve used these shots unironically. Most people would cringe at such things, but to me it was some campy humour, which I love. As I said though, it’s not intentionally funny, so some might not be able to get past that sort of thing.

With Jovovich at the helm, she has the ability to carry the entire film. She’s instantly interesting, and probably the main draw for this since she became a huge success in The Fifth Element. Co-star Eric Mabius does quite well with the particularly awful material he’s given, but other cast members… Let’s just say they don’t quite cut the mustard. Two words: Michelle Rodriguez.

I’d wager that most people think the best thing about this movie is it’s soundtrack – I was particularly fond of Slipknot closing us out in the opening credits, thrasing and crashing and all. But obviously when a soundtrack is the best (and possibly only truly great) thing about a movie, it’s clear that the movie just isn’t all that great.

There’s one sequence that I thought was quite original, and rather gory, which is what we all really come to zombie flicks for. The type of skit you’d usually get in a spy movie, there’s a segment which includes skin-piercing lasers which is both entertaining and smart, and it ended up being the best bit of the movie for me.

So, will I watch the rest of the franchise? Maybe. If I get time. But it’s not high up on the list.

The best thing to do with this is keep the release date in the back of your mind, and you’ll at least have fun with it.

Resident Evil is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

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