US Release Date: 03-15-2002
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
- Milla Jovovich, as
- Michelle Rodriguez, as
- Rain Ocampo
- Eric Mabius, as
- Matt Addison
- James Purefoy, as
- Spence Parks
- Martin Crewes, as
- Chad Kaplan
- Colin Salmon, as
- Ryan McCluskey, as
- Mr. Grey
- Oscar Pearce as
- Mr. Red
Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil.
I must state that I had never played, or for that matter heard of, the game Resident Evil before watching this movie. Perhaps it would have helped me to enjoy this movie more if I had, but I doubt it.
The plot is interesting for one reason. It is completely unoriginal. An aggressive woman leads a group of military people around a facility as they get stalked by monsters. One of the good guys turns out to be bad. One of the military persons is this really tough Latin chick. At the end of the movie, the big monster gets killed by opening these doors and having it fall out.
This might be an decent movie had not each and every plot point I just mentioned already exist in the movie Aliens. I think James Cameron and his writer should have gotten screen credits considering they stole nearly the entire movie from them.
With that noted, I have seen worse sci-fi horror movies. I have also seen better ones; Aliens is a perfect example. Resident Evil is a B-movie dressed to look A-list. Milla is hot and the effects are good, but the plot is so ripped off that it dulls most of the entertainment value.
Michelle Rodriguez in Resident Evil.
I agree somewhat with Eric's assessment of this movie. There are definitely many strong similarities between Resident Evil and Aliens. I also agree that this is a B-movie. What I disagree with him about is how much this impairs the enjoyment of it. After all, it is so rare to find a completely original movie these days that it seems unfair to judge this one so harshly when so many other movies are doing the exact same thing, even if most aren't quite so blatant about it.
Eric briefly mentioned the best thing this movie has going for it. Milla Jovovich as Alice is hot, which is definitely not something they stole from Aliens, since I would never use that word to describe Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. As the slightly enigmatic amnesiac Alice, she presents the only character of interest in the movie, especially when compared to the rest of the cast who are all playing such completely generic parts.
There are also several moments of violent thrills. I found the opening scene when the entire staff of the underground complex is killed to contain a few scary moments, such as the crowd in the elevator. Milla's first appearance, as she wakes up dazed and confused is filmed in a stylish and creepy manner. And of course there's the infamous laser hallway scene.
This is a B-movie and it is definitely derivative of Aliens, but if you don't spend the entire movie comparing the two, there are some cheap thrills to be had with this one.
Martin Crewes and James Purefoy in Resident Evil.
Resident Evil, in its various incarnations, has had a large impact on popular culture over the past two decades. I'm no gamer so, like Eric, I've never played any video game version of Resident Evil. In fact, before watching this movie I had somehow managed to avoid this hugely popular multimedia franchise entirely. Besides the video games and feature films there have also been comic books, novels and the usual assortment of merchandise, including action figures. Shinji Mikami, who created the Resident Evil universe, has surely become a very rich man in the years since the very first video game went on sale in the spring of 1996.
Although it's probably safe to say that the video games have had a greater impact than the movies, it is worth noting that the five live action Resident Evil features in the franchise, with a sixth (and supposedly final) movie on the way, have grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide; making Resident Evil the highest grossing film series in history to be based on a video game.
I see the similarities Eric mentioned between this movie and Aliens, but to be honest they stole things from other movies as well, most obviously any George Romero zombie movie. An all powerful computer program like the Red Queen can be traced back at least as far as Hal 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Despite its lack of originality there is still some entertainment to be had here. Some of it unintentional, like the horribly outdated CGI. The monster, that once probably seemed menacing, now appears almost comical. Likewise the scene Scott called infamous, where several people get sliced into pieces by a laser in a brightly lit hallway, now looks completely fake.
I really expected to hate this movie but I actually enjoyed it on a very superficial level. It is stylishly filmed, fast-paced, and features an attractive cast. James Purefoy is always nice to look at and Milla Jovovich kicks butt. She did most of her own stunt work. The scene where she runs up a wall and turns to kick the zombie dog in the head took three months of training. Impressive. I can't say that Resident Evil was so good that it made me want to hurry up and watch the remaining four (or five) movies but the thought no longer fills me with dread at least.
Photos © Copyright Screen Gems (2002)