Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

With ‘Residential Evil: Extinction’ opening in theaters this week and since Sony Pictures shows no love to film critics by declining to offer up a screening I decided to spend my weekend watching the first two Resident Evil movies considering I haven’t seen them before.  Surprise, surprise, ‘Resident Evil’ is probably the best video game movie adaptation ever made.  Yes, I know that means I’m saying it’s better than ‘Street Fighter’ and Uwe Boll’s ‘House of the Dead’ but that’s what I’m saying.  ‘Resident Evil: Apocalypse’ probably less so, but this first movie wasn’t that bad at all.

Loosely based on the popular line of Capcom video games, our film starts beneath the surface at the secretive underground lab known as The Hive, which is part of the monolithic Umbrella Corporation.  The Hive has just suffered an unfortunate break-in where some unscrupulous cad has stolen the illegally researched T-virus.  Worse still, this clown decides to break a spare vial of this lethal virus and have it circulate throughout the vents.  We don’t know what this virus does, but the computer that runs everything sure does and it kills every human in the joint and seals The Hive off from the outside. 

With those poor saps safely locked away to die, we switch to the nippleiscious Milla Jovovich who wakes up in a huge mansion with no clue as to where she is or even who she is for that matter.  Without warning a group of armed commandos storm the mansion, unnecessarily busting through windows and breaking stuff, to find

not only this amnesiatic woman, but also finding an intruder on the premises who claims to be a police officer named Matt Addison (Eric Mabius).  They inform this woman that her name is Alice and she is the operator in charge of protecting The Hive as the mansion is the secret entrance to the lab, and she has been hit with shot of nerve gas by the computers defense system when the virus was let loose.  Whatever happened down at the research facility, this group of commandos, with Alice and Matt in tow is going to find out.  What they find unfortunately is that every body in the facility is dead.  As bad as that may be, worse is that didn’t stay dead and have become flesh eating zombies.  Like the game that spawned it our characters simply try to survive the zombie onslaught, make it out of The Hive in one piece and of course unearth the evil that is resident in this Umbrella Corporation.

I don’t quite understand why this thing received such crappy reviews when it was released five years ago as I found ‘Resident Evil’ to be real creepy fun entertainment.  I am aware that director Paul W. S. Anderson doesn’t get a heck of a lot of love out there and is the brunt of many a scornful comment but with RE (that’s what those of us in know call it) he has crafted a true zombie horror film that has an eerie ominous feel throughout, some legitimate jump out of your seat moments, plenty of blood and gore for those who like that kind thing and of course Milla is jumping around, scaling walls and kicking much zombie ass.

If you haven’t seen the recent horror movie ‘The Breed’ you might want to check it out.  Not because it’s all that good but because Michelle Rodriguez actually plays a normal pretty girl in it and she does it quite well.  Here she plays the atypical role we often see her in as the super tough, profane hard ass, but she does that pretty good too, it’s just a shame they have to hide all that soft curvy femininity under all that heavy bullet proof anti-zombie gear and hostility.  A crying shame. Call me.

Of course, as with most flicks of this nature, there are the occasional wide gaps is logic and characters often do things that make little sense, but I would imagine being chased by flesh eating zombies makes little sense in itself so we’ll let that pass.  But the five year old special effects hold up pretty well and the action is crisp and the story does keep things moving.  ‘Resident Evil’ may be your basic hack slash run and chase action movie, but it is very well done and it does bear repeating, its the best video game movie of all time.  And that includes both Tomb Raider movies and Uwe Boll’s ‘Alone in the Dark’.  Shocking but true.

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