REVIEWED
7/7/04

STORY



LOOK

Resident Evil
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Year: 2002
TRT: 1:41


Perhaps because of low expectations, I really didn't think this movie would be much. But it's got some pretty decent stuff thrown in the mix, enough to make it better than your average recent schlocky teen-age b-grade horror movie that wreaked havoc on the genre in the 90s. Plus it has an appropriate ending that left it open for the sequel, set to debut sometime later this year. Based on this, I may just have to check it out at the cheapseats.

After an initial setup determining that the Umbrella Corporation of Raccoon City is into some bad-ass shit, we follow our main protagonist who's left with no memory and wondering what exactly is going on when confronted by a group of commandos that appear to know her, or at least who she is. Some pretty funky shit's gone down in the Hive, and the house she finds herself in is simply an access point. Away they go to try and figure out why the AI system shut down the facility and apparently killed everyone in it. Unfortunately for the team, the computer system isn't particularly keen on having them down there, and elements of the "R&D" portion of the Hive turn out to be pretty tough to kill.

In spirit of its videogame origins, this movie is a stylish, somewhat intriguing modern take on the classic zombie tale. Some good and some questionable gore to be had, with a decent mystery as to what will become of the small group of people trapped in the underground research facility full of ferocious undead. While some good characters, there's also some overplayed ones (like the Bill Paxton-wannabe), and the "big threat," while in accordance to video gameplay hierarchy is necessary, is kinda lame here and would have been better without. A different in setup from at least the first game (haven't played any of the others), they shoulda just gone ahead and ditched the name Raccoon City as well.

Great Scene: Stylish intro to show the release of the contagion within the facility, and one with a laser-beam defense system.

DVD Notes: Decent enough "Special Edition" DVD put out by Screen Gems includes Cast and Crew commentary (not listened to, movie wasn't that intriguing), 5 featurettes on the making of (watched the one on set design, as it was a visual strength of the movie), brief filmographies of the majors, a clip-filled video by Slipknot, and nice little collection of trailers, 50% of which are halfway decent films.