So when today’s movie was first announced, I honestly didn’t have much motivation in seeing it. See, I never owned a Playstation so I never played any of the Resident Evil games before this movie came out, therefore I didn’t know much about the story. Still, this was a zombie movie so I was somewhat intrigued about it on that merit alone. I didn’t go to see it in theaters but when it finally came out on DVD, I did eventually rent it, and later on bought both it and the sequel when it was released. So let’s see if today’s movie is able to break the trend of the typical video game movie as I watch Resident Evil.
The plot: At the beginning of the 21st century, the Umbrella Corporation is the world’s largest company; providing most of the world’s computer and pharmaceutical needs while secretly generating profits through weapons technology, genetic experimentation, and viral weaponry. In a secret lab called the Hive deep underneath Raccoon City, somebody steals samples of a genetically engineered virus called the T-virus, then tosses one of the samples into the room behind him, where it breaks open and begins leaking out into the air. When the computer system detects the biohazard in the air, it immediately seals off the lab, then begins killing off everyone inside. Elsewhere, A naked Alice wakes up in the shower with no memory of who she is or what happened to her. Putting on a robe, she starts looking around a sees a note on the table and realizes that she did not write it, then finds a drawer full of gun as she goes to get dressed. Alice begins walking around the house to see if she can find anyone but when she opens a door leading outside, she is grabbed by someone just as a masked team of commandos enter the house. The man is restrained while the team’s leader asks Alice for a report but she doesn’t know what the man is talking about, and another soldier says the house’s security system was activated so she is suffering a side effect. Taking Alice and the man, who identifies himself as a recently transferred cop named Matt Addison, with them, the soldiers enter a doorway leading to the Hive. After starting the power to the underground train that leads to the lab, they find a man, Spence, unconscious in a locked door, suffering from the same effects as Alice. Reaching the Hive, some of the soldiers work on opening the door while Alice approaches the team’s leader, James “One” Shade, and asks him what is going on. James explains that Alice and Spence, just like his team, work for the Umbrella Corporation and that their marriage was a cover for their job of protecting the entrance to the hive. He tells them about the computer, an AI called the Red Queen, went rogue and killed everyone so they are there to take it offline and figure out what happened. After entering the hive, they head for the Red Queen’s chamber but find their way blocked by the flooded labs and are forced to go another way. Entering what is supposed to be a dining hall, they find the room filled with strange containers and James has Rain and JD stay behind and guard Matt and the exit while the rest of the team go on ahead. Entering the outer area of the Red Queen’s chamber, the teams computer expert, Chad Kaplan, begins deactivating her defenses so that the team can bring an EMP device inside to force a reboot of the Red Queen. As James leads the other three team members inside the chamber, the chamber doors seal and a laser defense system activates, killing all of them before Kaplan can get it deactivated. Kaplan and Alice take the device inside and begin setting it up when a hologram of the Red Queen’s persona, based on the designer’s daughter, warns them to leave and not to do it. When Kaplan hits the button, the Red Queen tells them that they are all going to die, just before the power goes out and all of the doors are unlocked. Back in the dining hall, Rain and JD hear a noise so Rain goes to investigate. When she finds someone, she calls out to JD that she found a survivor but the woman bites her and they are forced to shoot her. As Alice, Kaplan, and Spence show up, Matt notices that the woman’s blood has coagulated and says that is impossible as it would mean she was already dead. Suddenly, the see more people showing up and, given the wounds the people have, realize that they are all zombies. JD, Rain, and Kaplan begin shooting the zombies while trying to get the exit open but when they do, JD is grabbed by the swarm of zombies that are behind the door and Rain, Kaplan, and Spence are forced to retreat to the Red Queen’s chamber. Meanwhile, Matt manages to get out of his restraints and is saved by Alice when the creature in one of the tanks, called a Licker, escapes, but as they wander through the tanks, they become separated. Alice finds herself in the animal testing lab but is confronted by a zombiefied dog and escapes into a sealed lab, only to be attacked by a guard. She manages to kill the guard and grab his gun but the breaks through the glass window, forcing her to leave the lab. Outside the lab, she is confronted by several more zombie dogs and she shoots them all, then kills the dog in the lab. Meanwhile, Matt makes it to the desks and finds the one for his sister, Lisa, and begins looking through her files when he sees Lisa walking towards him. Lisa attacks him and tries to bite him but Alice rescues him and Matt explains that he and his sister were trying to get proof of Umbrella’s activities. Seeing Lisa, Alice remembers meeting with her about stealing the virus but doesn’t reveal to Matt that she was Lisa’s contact. Regrouping with the others in the Red Queen’s chamber, Kaplan and Rain explain that the Hive will automatically seal itself in an hour, trapping them down there as a last resort to keep the situation contained. Alice reactivates the Red Queen, but has Kaplan bypass the circuit breaker so they can shut her down if she doesn’t help them escape. The Red Queen explains about the T-virus and how it was released into the air so she killed everyone in order to keep the virus from spreading out of the Hive. The group makes their way down into some service tunnels but when they get attacked by some zombies, they are forced to climb up onto some pipes but Kaplan is bit in the process while Rain is forced to kill a reanimated JD after he bites her. Making their way across the pipes, they make their way to an exit but the pipes break, dumping Kaplan into the zombie hoard and though he is able to climb out, he tells the others to leave him as he doesn’t see a way out for him. Making their way through the lab, Alice remembers that an anti-virus was created and they head into the lab only to find that the anti-virus is gone. Spence regains his memory and remembers that he is the one that stole the virus and quickly grabs the gun that Alice put down. Holding them at gunpoint, he offers to take Alice with him but after he is bitten by a zombie and she tries to get the gun back, he leaves, locking them in the lab. Spence heads to the train and grabs the case with the anti-virus, which he had hidden on board before he was rendered unconscious, but after he injects himself, he is attacked and killed by the Licker, which begins to mutate. The Red Queen speaks to Alice and the others, saying that it will let them leave if they kill Rain, but when Alice refuses, it sends the Licker after them. Suddenly, the power goes out and the door opens, revealing Kaplan there, having fried the Red Queen to get them out. Sealing the door, they head to the train and Alice gets the case with the anti-virus, after killing a reanimated Spence when it tries to attack her. Leaving the Hive, Alice injects Rain and Kaplan with the anti-virus when they are suddenly attacked by the Licker, which scratches Matt and kills Kaplan. As Alice and Matt try to fend it off, Alice manages to impale it’s tongue and trap it, then yells at Matt to open the trapdoor. Matt goes to do that only to find a zombie Rain in front of him and after fending off her attack, he shoots her. Rain’s body falls back onto the button and the trap door opens, causing the Licker to fall onto the electrified third rail, where it ends up catching on fire. Alice and Matt make it back to the mansion but Matt’s wound starts to mutate and Alice goes to inject him with the anti-virus. Before she can, men in hazmat suits show up and restrain both of them, with Matt being strapped to a gurney and told to be placed in the Nemesis Program. Some time later, Alice comes to in a hospital room and after removing the needles and wires that were attached to her, she makes her way out of the room and heads outside, where she finds the Raccoon City is deserted and in ruins so she grabs a shotgun from an abandoned police cruiser and turns to face what happens next.
Resident Evil met with mostly criticism from the critics, holding a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Like other video game adapations, Resident Evil is loud, violent, formulaic, and cheesy.” The movie was initially scheduled for a 2001 release but Capcom, the makers of the video game, decided to push it back until 2002, while a novelization of the movie didn’t come out until 2004, over two years after the movie was released and only two months before the novelization for the second movie came out. Despite the reviews, the movie was a box office hit, earning $102.4 million off of a $35 million budget.
I can’t say much about this as a video game movie, but I will admit that this is a pretty decent zombie movie. The acting was pretty good, with Milla Jovovich (Alice), Eric Mabius (Matt), and Michelle Rodriguez (Rain) doing a really good job in their roles. I also liked Colin Salmon (James), Martin Crewes (Kaplan), and James Purefoy (Spence) but Michaela Dicker was pretty creepy as the Red Queen. The story was pretty interesting for the most part but there were some minor problems I couldn’t quite get over, primarily why a military team would take some 3 relatively unknown quantities (Matt and the amnesic Alice and Spence) with them into the Hive instead of simply leaving them up at the mansion. The special effects were pretty good, especially some of the make-up and CGI for the zombies wounds and the dogs but while the Licker was interesting, there were some aspects of it I didn’t care for. All in all, a good zombie movie, but from what I understand, doesn’t do as well as a video game movie.
Rating: 3 out of 5