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Resident Evil is set in an underground genetic research facility called The Hive, where an outbreak of a deadly virus has caused the supercomputer (otherwise known as The Red Queen) to seal the facility and kill the trapped employees to contain the virus.
A rescue team arrives to find that the virus has had a slightly more devastating effect than death. You guessed it! The dead are up and about, wreaking havoc and the team’s mission soon changes from rescue to escape! A couple of the characters also have temporary memory loss which gives us a few twists as the film moves on. Anderson worked well within the story and stayed true to several Zombie rules; They must be led by a primal urge to feed, they must feed on human flesh, Zombies walk and NEVER run, they need a massive trauma to the head to die, and lastly, they must out-number the good guys by hundreds. Throw into the mix a couple of gorgeous ladies, Alice and Rain (Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez), four hero-type guys, Matt, Spence, Chad and One (Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes and Colin Salmon), and you’re pretty much onto a winner. There was a ridiculous monster too, that I can only guess came from the computer game as it was totally unnecessary to the plot and could have easily been left out.
George A. Romero was originally chosen to write and direct Resident Evil and I can’t help but wonder what the outcome would have been had he gone ahead. Paul W. S. Anderson did a fine job but it would have been interesting to see if the Romero touch would have lifted it even higher. I did notice a little nod towards Romero, the newspaper headline ‘The Dead Walk’ which was also used at the beginning of ‘Day of the Dead’. In the end though, it isn’t a Romero film and isn’t in the same league. What it is though, is a pretty good Zombie film, which will never be among my personal top 10 but is certainly an enjoyable watch and I have seen far, far worse. I did miss the gore however, Zombies pulling out someone’s innards in a feeding frenzy and fighting over a severed limb. People stumbling about with their entrails hanging out and the general nastiness we expect from this type of film. Resident Evil should not be shunned by the non-gaming population- I had no idea about the plot of the game and enjoyed the film for what it was, an above-par Zombie movie, superbly acted, nicely executed and well worth a watch.
RESIDENT EVIL (2002). Director: Paul W. S. Anderson. Writer: Paul W. S. Anderson. Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Colin Salmon.
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