[Movie Review] Resident Evil

Resident EvilStarring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes
Director: Paul Anderson
Genre: Sci Fi
Cert: 18
Released: 2002

Picture the scene. It’s the beginning of the twenty-first century (probably not too difficult to imagine as it, eh, is). The public face of the world’s most successful corporation, Umbrella Corporation, is of a company that deals in the technological and medical arenas. But behind the scenes, unknown even to its employees, is the truth behind it’s profits – genetic engineering and experimentation, and the development of a deadly virus called the “T Virus”.

When the virus escapes and infects thousands of employees, a military team is sent in to isolate the infected and shut down the facility. Alice (Jovovich – “Joan of Arc”, “The Fifth Element”) and Spence (Purefoy – “A Knights Tale”, “Maybe Baby”) are picked up by the military unit, but have no idea what has happened due to their memory being temporarily erased by a nerve gas released by Umbrella. As recollections return, they each start to piece together their part in the disaster. But the evil has escaped and stopping it is going to be an inhumane task.

My hopes for “Resident Evil” were not high. I was familiar with the computer game, but not to the degree that I knew the storyline. It’s not utterly complex – virus mutates humans, they become zombies and the poor old sods who are sent in to clean up, become breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ve seen it before. A mix of “Alien”, “Event Horizon”, “Sphere”, “Deep Blue Sea” or a hundred other movies that find a team stranded on a research facility of some description.

But thankfully, some smart writing and directing from Paul Anderson (director of “Soldier”, “Event Horizon” and “Shopping”) keep “Resident Evil” to an above average level. There’s plenty of tense scenes, surprisingly even more so in the last third of the movie. This makes a welcome change from the all too familiar collapse that normally kicks into these movies after an hour or so. The cast does not have to shine too much, but Milla Jovovich is a perfect action-femme, looks great in a short skirt and leather boots, and packs a mean roundhouse kick.

“Resident Evil” is way better than we had any right to expect. It’s hokum, but it’s bloody entertaining hokum.

The sequel, “Resident Evil II: Nemesis”, is due for release in 2003.


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