Sunday, March 25, 2018

Resident Evil

Movie Name: Resident Evil
Year of Release: 2002
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Eric Mabius, Michelle Rodriguez, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Colin Salmon, Pasquale Aleardi, Heike Makatsch, Indra Ove
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Amazon

After an auspicious debut in the UK with "Shopping", director Paul W. S. Anderson followed that film with bigger budget action films, which included "Mortal Kombat" and "Soldier", films that were met with derision and harsh reviews. "Resident Evil" which premiered in 2002, was a considerable success, and started a franchise that generated six films (and counting). The film is an adaptation of a video game, and follows the story of Alice, a young woman who wakes up in the bathroom of a mansion without a recollection of any events. She is soon joined by a group of soldiers who arrive at the mansion to participate in a rescue/assessment mission. Beneath the mansion there's a huge laboratory, by the name of The Hive, where fringe research is done (for all intended purposes, biological warfare is developed there) - all of this under the ownership of the corporate entity that is The Umbrella Corporation. Turns out a deadly virus has been unleashed in the laboratory, and the soldiers are sent to investigate - taking with them Alice, an investigative reporter they capture, and another man also suffering from amnesia. They quickly discover that the virus killed everyone, but what they soon find out, is that the deceased don't stay dead for long.
Paul W. S. Anderson is a director who primarily focuses on action set pieces, making character development something more secondary. On "Resident Evil" he mostly focuses on Alice, as the central heroine, but gives her very little to do in terms of arc. Even if Alice suffers from amnesia, she is remarkably self assured and reliant, which attests to her training and her profession, information that eventually comes to the forefront - the character is modeled after Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley, though without the empathy, emotional richness or subtlety. The remainder of all characters are treated as discardable archetypes, and mostly exist as fodder for the army of zombies that populates the film. Unlike the classic zombies from George Romero, who functioned as a metaphor for the state of modern society (films that targeted consumerism and capitalism), "Resident Evil" points the finger at corporate greed as the main villain, but doesn't humanize this entity, relying on the gore and violence to make the action more instantaneous and palatable. It's a film that still has some moments, mostly because of how it captures some references from John Carpenter's "Assault on Precinct 13" and even some moments from James Cameron's "Aliens". It's not much, but it's a film that's barely watchable, one that allows for Milla Jovovich to carry the film with ease and a certain charisma.