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2002, dir. Paul W.S. Anderson
100 min, Rated R.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, James Purefoy, Eric Mabius.

Review by Beth Van Dusen

I was always a big fan of the Resident Evil games. I myself couldnít get past the impossible controls or the maddening camera angles to get very far, and Iíll admit that the damn thing just made me too jumpy. So when I heard that they were making a Resident Evil movie I was pretty darn happy. But just like the games, you have to take the good with the bad. This is not an exact movie version of any of the games. This movie instead takes the premise and some story lines from the games and takes them in a new direction. Just like the subsequent Resident Evil games (except, of course, for the remakes) went in a different direction each time. I know that this creative license is what angered a lot of the fanboys out there, but do you really want to watch two hours of Milla Jovovich running into a wall while zombies chomp on her neck? Or have the camera suddenly flip during the middle of an important fight? If you really want to watch the game on a big screen that badly just buy a projection screen TV and play the game. That isnít what this movie is about. Hereís what it is about:

The ubiquitous Umbrella Corporation is running illegal genetic and viral experiments at an underground facility called The Hive. One of these experiments is the ever popular T-Virus. For those who donít know: the T-Virus is one of Umbrellaís nasty little experiments gone mad. It reanimates cells and brings dead people back to life. This exciting new bio-weapon is released into the hive by someone who wants to cover his tracks as he steals the virus. The hiveís super computer, The Red Queen, proceeds to kill the 500 or so people down there to keep the virus from spreading. We then move from the hive to Alice, an Umbrella security agent with amnesia. The rest of the cast come bursting into the mansion sheís just woken up in, and we move quickly along. Alice, her boyfriend/partner (also with amnesia), a radical militant guy trying to expose Umbrella while pretending to be a cop, and an Umbrella strike force unwisely enter the hive to find out what happened. Our team of zombie chow enters the hive only to find the dead scientists shambling around looking for a snack. The survivors have just a few hours to get out again before the hive is sealed shut forever (as long as forever means until the sequel). Their numbers dwindle, they fight monsters and each other, they learn and grow. Alice gets back enough of her memory to realize that she is a super-badass zombie killing machine, and that she wanted to steal the T-Virus herself to take down the evil Umbrella Corporation. Her boyfriend/partner regains enough of his memory to realize that he is a giant tool, and actually stole the T-Virus to sell to the highest bidder. The guy pretending to be a cop doesnít realize anything, but heís just there to set up the sequel. Maybe someone out there hasnít seen this movie or Resident Evil: Apocalypse, yet still wants to. For whomever that person is I wonít entirely give away the ending, but just know that the ending does lead you to believe that the sequel will be really cool. Donít believe the hype! Please read my review of Resident Evil: Apocalypse before you waste your hard earned money. But, I digress...

This movie has some pretty good special effects, great old-school zombies (meaning that they arenít smart, fast, or agile), and plenty of blood without having gore for the sake of gore. This isnít a Resident Evil game, and I think thatís why it works for me. It has its problems: the seven times I heard the phrase ďjust do itĒ as if it were sponsored by Nike, and the pointless Lewis Carroll references that mean nothing and go nowhere. Overall though, itís a fairly enjoyable zombie romp that goes easy on the social commentary. And thatís a pretty rare find these days.

Rating: Three out of five Brains.


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