Saturday, July 01, 2017
Resident Evil (2002)
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
When a virus is purposely released into a secret underground facility called The Hive. The computer program known as 'The Red Queen' that controls The Hive has to shut down the facility to prevent the virus from escaping into Raccoon City. A military unit is sent in to shut down the computer, but little do the unit realise that all of the staff and animals of The Hive have reanimated into blood-thirsty zombies.
Growing up, I sadly never owned a Playstation. I was more of a Nintendo kid. So my first taste of the Resident Evil games was when I acquired a Gamecube. This just so happened to be a month before the first movie was released in Australian theatres. I was lucky enough to play the first game and fell in love with this series. Where some people consider Resident Evil to only be a zombie survival horror game. I saw a much darker story about this worldwide corporation who was testing viral weaponry on their employees. A company trying to cover up some extremely sinister secrets. Something which I imagine happens in the real world, a lot.
Playing Resident Evil, RE: 0 2, 3, and 4. The entire Resident Evil series holds a special place in my cold dead heart. I still have all of these memories of being in high school and inviting my friends around to play the games with the lights on because we were all pretty terrified. This is a series that still holds a lot of nostalgia for me. So when I heard that a film based on the video game series was about to be released just after playing the game, I was excited to see what could be done with the premise and that it would hopefully live up to the games.
Being fifteen at the time of the film's release. I went into this one incredibly hyped as I was with a group of my close friends who were also fans of the video games. At the time of watching the original film, I came out of my screening and loved it. I got lots of zombies, I got zombie Dobermans, I witnessed a Licker as the final boss, and I got the Umbrella Corp. being the core evil entity who for the most part, delivered when it came to being a sinister and secretive organisation who are trying to cover up a viral outbreak that has decimated an entire underground facility.
Over the next fifteen years, I have revisited the original Resident Evil several times and still find that I thoroughly enjoy the film adaptation. Watching the entire series again in preparation for The Final Chapter last week, I still find the original Resident Evil is my favourite film in the series. While the film doesn't come close to any of the games, I still think the movie is a lot of fun. It's an action-packed, sci-fi, zombie film that has some solid visuals and tries to incorporate enough elements from the games to make a fan at least enjoy it on a guilty pleasure level.
What Resident Evil does get right, is that out of all six films, the original feels like it's closest in tone to the games. Yes, the original movie looks very clinical. It even has a futuristic sci-fi, action feel to it all, but when compared to the rest of the film series, I think this is the most grounded and confined. This feels just as much a survival horror and zombie film as it does a sci-fi action film. I think we get equal doses of horror and action. I think as this series goes on, we sadly see the action take the forefront here, and the horror gets pushed to the back.
While Resident Evil isn't exactly scary, I still found that the film had an eeriness and sense of dread to it all. I think the film also has a few solid jump scares that are well structured. I think Paul W.S. Anderson was trying to make a solidly scary movie with the first movie. I'm sure the guy had plans to expand the universe into what we see today from the very beginning, but with the original, I feel like he's tried to deliver a real survival horror movie. He could've gone all the way and given us all a really dark, scary, and a gory film but I'm hoping when they decide to reboot this series, we get a movie that is much more in line with the game.
The most significant problem that I had with Resident Evil all fall back on the fact that I wish the movie was more dark and scary like the video game. Being a big fan of the game, it's hard not to wish for a story that was closer to the experience that I had as I played the game. I think I would've loved a lot more time in the deserted mansion. Some of the visual effects in the first film are also a little cringeworthy, but I think on a budget of 30+ million dollars, the movie still looked pretty good for the time. They sadly just don't hold up when compared by today's standards and improvements in visual effects.
The acting in the film is solid for the most part. This is Milla Jovovich front and centre and kicking all kinds of ass. I think she is still an incredibly underrated actress. I think doing a lot of the action films like the Resident Evil series has people disregarding just how talented an actress she is. She is still a solid dramatic actress, and I believe her whenever she shows a vulnerable side. Michelle Rodriguez is Michelle Rodriguez, and you know what, I still love the whole tough chick schtick that she has built her career on. I think it suits her perfectly.
The supporting cast or better known as all the men who play supporting characters to two badass chicks are also good. Eric Mabius who eventually becomes Nemesis in the sequel is great in this flick. Sad that we don't see much of him anymore. Also, James Purefoy as the villain of the film is excellent. You love to hate him when it's revealed. He's made a career of playing the bad guy, and it works for him. Colin Salmon as the military unit commander has the best death scene in the entire franchise, and Martin Crewes who plays the computer expert is also decent in his small role.
Lastly, I think it needs to be noted that I like that Paul W.S. Anderson tried to inject a lot of Alice In Wonderland influences into the story. The Red Queen, the lead is named Alice, each character being based on a character from the original Lewis Carroll story. I really enjoyed this little twist on the story. Also, I must mention the score by Marilyn Manson and Marco Beltrami. I loved the score in this movie. It's industrial yet has this extremely creepy electronica vibe to it all. I'd love to see Manson compose more film scores as the man is exceptionally talented.
DEATH TOLL: 48 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A lift full of people plummets to their death.
- A woman is decapitated by a lift.
- An office full of people is gassed to death.
- Dead bodies are shown laying all over the floor.
- Three people drown in flooded locked room.
- Fingers and someone's head is sliced off with a laser.
- Someone is cut in half by a laser.
- Someone is sliced into cubes by a laser.
- Lots of zombie bites.
- A zombie's knees are shot out.
- Zombies necks are snapped.
- Zombies are shot.
- Zombies are shown half their face missing and rotting skin.
- A licker is electrocuted and burns alive.
- Someone gets an ax to the head.
- A licker attacks and bites someone.
- Zombies are shot in the head.
- A soldier is eaten by a lift full of zombies.
- A zombie has its head smashed in with a desk ornament.
- Zombie infected Dobermans attack people and are shot.
- A licker rips someone from out of a train compartment.
Resident Evil isn't a perfect film. Going into this movie as a fan of the games, it's hard not to find problems when trying to compare the film adaptations of the video games. Over the last fifteen years and continuous rewatches of the original film, I have grown to appreciate this film for what it is, and that's a stylized sci-fi zombie flick. The movie is polished, has some fun action set-pieces and some solid performances from all the actors. While it lacks the intensity, scares, and gore of the games and has a few dated visual effects, it's still the best film in the series until someone has the balls to reboot the series and give us a true Resident Evil movie.