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“Invitation to Dance - It’s a Dance. And sometimes they turn the lights off in this ballroom. But we’ll dance anyway, you and I. Even in the Dark. Especially in the Dark. May I have the pleasure?” --- Stephen King ::::::::::: MY CRITERIA FOR DISCUSSION ENCOMPASSES THE HORROR GENRE AND BEYOND, SO I USE THE TERM "NIGHTMARE MOVIES". SPOILERS CAN OCCUR WITH OR WITHOUT WARNING. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Resident Evil

October 3rd 2007 03:17
Resident Evil movie poster
I’m not into video games. Not the modern living room ones. As a lad, after my swimming club, my mates and I used to spend an hour across the road at the local burger joint playing the arcade games; Defender, Galaga, Scramble, Pacman, Asteroids, Berserk. I remember when Centipede and Joust came along I thought the games were starting to get a little to clever for their own good.

Of course they’re entirely different to the ultra-violence and nihilism of video games now, which are played at home on the elaborate consoles of PlayStation and X-Box. Resident Evil is one such game. And of course, many of these games eventually make their way up onto the silver screen to kick and blast their way deeper into the adolescent psyche.
Resident Evil Milla in shower
Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakens to a nightmare
However, most of these motion picture adaptations are mindless and pathetic, or the best, curiously inadequate. Resident Evil (2002) was a cut above the rest. Several cuts actually. And watching it again the other night on DVD the movie holds up rather nicely, despite shortcomings in the acting department. But one must remember, video games were never about the performances of the protagonists and antagonists, nor were they about the philosophical ramblings of the state of the art of weaponry and close encounter combat. Although Resident Evil manages a few solid nods in both areas.

Resident Evil Milla Jovovich
Yeah, I kick ass and look hot while I'm doin' it
Writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson has had a very patchy career to date with hits and misses including the guilty pleasure Event Horizon (1997) and the utterly forgettable Alien vs. Predator (2004). Resident Evil is easily his best work, and arguably one of the very best video game-to-cinema adaptations. It's big and splashy, but it works.

Resident Evil doomed team
Some of the unit just before Red Queen's defence system kicks in
The plot is thus: The Umbrella Corporation is the most powerful mega-company in the world. Its success is due to an covert underground research and experimentation lab called The Hive where viral weapons are manufactured and tested, including ferocious mutant beasts. Red Queen, The Hive’s super-computer, detects a virus and shuts down the base to prevent infection … which happens anyway. All the staff become hungry zombies.
Resident Evil Red Queen
Hologram of Red Queen
An elite military unit is sent in to shut Red Queen down before T-Virus escapes into the outside world. They discover Alice (Milla Jovovich) in the compound directly above main entry into The Hive. She’s suffering from amnesia. They also discover Spence (James Purefoy), he too has memory loss, but the two are linked by vague memories.

Resident Evil Michelle Rodriguez and Milla Jovovich
Michelle Rodriguez as Rain and Alice
As the unit gets closer to Red Queen, they battle the undead, and suffer numerous casualties, whilst Alice and Spence regain their memories, realise the gravity of the situation, and the importance and significance of their roles. Time is running out … for this is one bio-hazard that must be contained!

Resident Evil Milla and gun
Alice's memories of her elite training return
Several things make Resident Evil great fun to watch. Anderson’s strong, vivid visual style, with dynamic attention to the editing, without it ever feeling like a ham-fisted music clip (often the problem with other video game-cum-movies). The production design is superior; both convincing and inventive. There’s a post-modern feel; a futurism streaked with retro.The special effects are very good, considering its CGIed the huge mutant beast is surprisingly effective.
Resident Evil zombie dog
Alice kicks zombie dog butt
I mentioned the acting wasn’t the best. It’s adequate, but Michelle Rodriguez facial style of acting through her eyelids is damn annoying. It’s ultimately Milla’s vehicle, and the arc of her character is great to watch.

Resident Evil unit captain gets his
George Romero eat yer heart out!
Resident Evil is the zombie movie for sf geeks, the techno thriller for gorehounds. Apparently George Romero was originally slated to direct but dropped out before pre-production began. The attraction to the source material is obvious. Paul W.S. Anderson does an exemplary job though.

Here's the original trailer:

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Comments
9 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by jon

October 3rd 2007 03:25
My brother used to play the original game for hours, although I think it was on a Nintendo of some sort. He made me watch the first film as well and I did enjoy it quite a bit. There is just something about hot gals beating up dead things -- I was a Buffy fan as well.

Comment by Damo

October 3rd 2007 03:50
As an adaptation it is no worse than Doom the movie but much better than Lara Croft.

There is a story line and a deep reason for things to happen. I kind of liked the little girl but there just wasn't enough of her menace but that was offset by plenty of action with some ugly monster.

My only problem was I did not find it disturbing or scary. Nothing really keeping up thinking it will get me.
It seemed a little heavy on the corporate conspiracy and less so on the tension. I mean, was I meant to be angry at the mythical Umbrella corporation? They were so brain dead that any zombie could do them in.

Anyway for the kids it was good value as they played it several times and watched the second part happily.

In the end I would say good for a Late Friday Night show.

Comment by JohnDoe

October 3rd 2007 04:00
One of the better game to film adaptations, still that doesn't say much...I did like the demon Hounds though and Michelle Rodriguez was good value....avoid the sequels at all costs, at least this one tried for soem graphic material

Comment by charles

October 3rd 2007 04:42
Great review Bryn.

I rather enjoyed this one but I agree with JD that the sequels were a bit of a let-down.

There's another RE film coming out this month too!

Comment by Ahmed

October 3rd 2007 08:03
video game to movie adaptions just don't gel with me, even 'slightly better' than the rest is like saying it's slightly better than bullshit (namely it's chook poo).

Comment by Mountain Fog

October 3rd 2007 14:37
As for games, I was a lad when there were only pinball machines and the like in amusement parlours! Then came Pong! A brilliant concept of it being made into a table top, so "pub pong" took off.....then came Space Invaders! What a blast! I can still hear its high pitched PING! and it reverberating down the street at 6am as I and my cohorts crumbled before the rising sun over Kings Cross...then dashing off to our blackened bedrooms to sleep off the Bloody Marys we had for breakfast which was used to sober up and get some vitamins in us...ok...so we were not exactly sane, but hey, WHAT FUN!!!!!

I have not seen Resident Evil the movie...Lara didn't work...have not seen Doom...but wasn't that Resident Evil game the one with the black canopy around the screen, so you had to stand and play it hidden from view, as the censors felt it would scare the shitter out of the kiddies?

Exhausting game to play, I always bombed out early as my finger would get too sore from pulling the trigger!

cheers

fog

Comment by Bryn

October 4th 2007 01:57
Cheers for the comments people ...
I saw Resident Evil: Extinction yesterday ... review tomorrow.

Comment by KylieW

October 4th 2007 02:51
I really enjoyed Resident Evil. The sequel wasn't so great (surprise surprise)....but the first one was good fun. I quite like Mila. Hardly the worlds best actress, but she kicked serious arse in this one.

Comment by Bryn

October 4th 2007 04:51
Kylie, yes, Milla's all growned up now ... I remember first seeing her on the cover of The Face mag when she was 12 years old, the article being about are parents allowing their children to model at too early an age .... lol

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