Deep within the earth, under a seemingly perfect mansion, lays an intense and sinister corporation. The corporation is breeding a virus that could wipe out all of mankind. The womb of the corporation is known as “The Hive”. This “Hive” is controlled by an artificial intelligence known as the Red Queen.
When the virus falls into the wrong hands and is accidentally released within the “Hive”, the populous becomes infected. The Queen has no choice but to retaliate.
The government sends in an elite group of commandoes to take out the Red Queen and liberate the facility. Unbeknownst to the commandoes, the corporation and the Queen are hiding a deadly secret.
Thrown into the mix with the commandoes are two unsuspecting amnesiacs, Alice (Milla Jovovich) and Matt (Eric Mabius), who hold their own keys to the secrets, which are connected to “The Hive”. Freakish mutations and animated dead flesh inhabit the facility and when the team finds out what happened to the people within the “Hive” it may be too late.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson crafts his second video-game adaptation with finesse and passion. Anderson worked on the last successful and faithful videogame adaptation, 1995’s “Mortal Kombat”. Anderson has had a couple flops in his directing career like “Event Horizon” but it seems to be “videogame films” that are where his magic lies. When Anderson brings about a videogame to the silver-screen he doesn’t forget the passion, story and heart that games have.
Hollywood has tried to tap into making a successful videogame film and we have fallen victim to atrocious adaptations like “Super Mario Bros.”, “Double Dragon” and “Tomb Raider”. Each one of those films forgot one of the key ingredients from the game, “what makes the game so enticing”. This is what makes Anderson “videogame” movies so much superior. He knows what makes a videogame tick.
In the case of “Resident Evil”, Anderson tapped into horror aspect mixed with the action which is the heart and soul of the “Resident Evil” videogame series. He also honed in on the genetic experiments and the intrigue that was in-cased with them. All the secrets, mysteries and action are what made the “Resident Evil” series so popular.
Anderson also does a wonderful “computer-graphics” rendition of “The Hive”. This rendition has the feel of the game and also aids the filmgoer on where the characters are in the film. It’s a really cool technique.
Anderson also photographs his film like our perspective in the video game. In some situations the door opens and we follow the squad into a room from behind as if we are apart of the group. These “first-person” perspectives, throughout the film, are great for setting up horrific events and gives us a more of a detailed feeling of the impending danger that is about to strike.
All of the acting is very flat and two-dimensional but what do you expect from a film that is basically “Aliens” meets “Return of the Living Dead”. Like in “Aliens”, we are more concerned about who lives and who dies than we are if they can act. Aside from the acting, my only other concern was some of the “metal-music” overtures that seem too drowned out some of the dialogue. That can get annoying.
The film’s star Milla Jovovich is showing that she is developing an acting range but it’s always been her physical attributes that have shined.
She has always been good in action stunts and oozing raw sex appeal.
She does for her portrayal of Alice what Sigourney Weaver did for Ripley in the Alien series.
“Resident Evil” is pure brainless carnage fun and its not surprising Columbia Pictures has already “green-lit” the sequel, “Resident Evil: Nemesis”. Words to the wise, make sure that Anderson is directing the sequel or you may just end up with an appalling videogame sequel like “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation”.
(4 out of 5)
So Says the Soothsayer.