Those of us who have played the Resident Evil series know that the games are primarily about two things: zombies and running out of ammunition. The style of strategy and skill combined with excessive zombie violence makes Resident Evil in scientific terminology, Rad to the Max.
With such kickass movies as Shawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and Land of the Dead, zombie flicks have, once again, become popular mainstream fare. So of course, an adaptation of Resident Evil made sense, even if it did come out before all three of the previously-mentioned movies and thus invalidating this whole paragraph.
Resident Evil stars Milla Jovovich, who you may remember as the girl who was in a bunch of scenes in Dazed and Confused but had no lines, as well as from a bunch of make-up commercials. Clearly she was cast for acting ability, and not for how she looks in tight, wet clothing.
One of the biggest problems with this movie is its lack of zombies. I never actually played the first Resident Evil, and I don’t care how accurate it is to that game; but when I know there are supposed to be zombies in a movie, the only thing I care to see are the flesh-eating, walking undead.
In order to prevent some sort of catastrophe, a team of badasses must accompany Milla Jovovich into the core of a giant underground research compound. A toxin was released into the compound which turned all of the workers into zombies, and the compound’s security systems have been activated. The problem with this is that most of the good guys get killed by the electronic defense systems before we even get to see a zombie.
At the end of the movie, we are treated with a cliffhanger ending that leaves Milla Jovovich in a bright, white room, all alone, wearing nothing but a large sheet of paper. Needless to say, by the end of the movie, not only do we feel like we have wasted our time, but we are also as confused as Milla Jovovich.
Faithfulness to Game: I used to have a friend named Charles, and he was an insanely obsessive gamer. As I wrote earlier, I’ve never actually played the first Resident Evil game. Charles and I were supposed to leave and do something, probably fuck around with payphones and shoplift candy, but I can’t really remember. I showed up at his house, and his grandmother let me in, and she often did. I went downstairs into the basement to find Charles sitting there playing Resident Evil. I told him that it was time to go, and he replied “okay, I just need to save.” I waited for about half an hour, before saying “fuck it,” and walking out.
Not once during this movie did I find myself waiting for Charles to get his shit together, so in that sense, the movie is nothing like the game.
Movie Quality: The thing with Resident Evil is that it isn’t really painful, like most other videogame movies, yet it still has very little going for it. The acting is non-existent, and the gore is unacceptably miniscule. It’s not that I want to forget watching this movie; it’s that the movie is so bland that I already have forgotten it.
If you were to have both a vat of acid and a vat of salt empty their contents onto you simultaneously, getting punched in the face afterwards wouldn’t be so bad. After all, the concepts of “bad” and “good” are relative. Friday the 13th: Part 4 is no where near a cinematic masterpiece, but it does happen to be the best Friday the 13th movie. Resident Evil: Apocalypse is to videogame movies what Friday the 13th: Part 4 is to Friday the 13th movies.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse picks up exactly where the first movie left off. The zombie hordes have broken out of the Umbrella Corporation complex and are now wreaking havoc on Raccoon City. Now with the city locked down, it is up to Milla Jovovich and her new-found super abilities to to get a band of survivors and herself out before nukes are dropped at dawn. Pretty standard-fare for a zombie flick.
Compared to the first Resident Evil, this movie has a lot more deaths and a lot more zombies. Sadly though, there’s not a whole lot gore. To be fair, lack-of-gore seems to be a growing trend in modern horror flicks; but that’s still no excuse. When I see zombies, I want to see brain-eating and bloody organs that have just been ripped from someone’s chest. That’s just how it is when George Romero is one of your favorite directors.
The movie seems to incorporate both the second and third Resident Evil games. At least I’m making the assumption, since the movie comes down to a fight between Milla Jovovich and Nemesis. As with any fight that features one or two unstoppable characters, it is kind of boring, because most of the fight is Nemesis getting hit, but barely even moving from the impact. It’s like Milla Jovovich is fighting wall, and I know the director was probably going for that; it just does not make for an entertaining fight.
In any case, the movie naturally ends with another cliffhanger setting up for Resident Evil: Afterlife, which the Internet tells me will be coming out in 2006.
Faithfulness to Game: The producers of the movie seem to have completely ignored Resident Evil 2 and jumped to Nemesis when looking for adaptation material. Though I can’t be too sure of this, since I’ve barely played the third Resident Evil. I rented it shortly after it came, and burned a copy of the disc since my I have a modded Playstation, but for some strange reason, after I returned the game, the burn stopped working. So I’ll randomly give it a six for faithfulness.
Movie Quality: When going to see a videogame movie there’s expectation for the experience that can be summed up in the word “pain.” This wasn’t the case with Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Sure, the acting was terrible, and it didn’t have enough zombie violence, but it was paced well, and was at least a little engaging. I even liked the token black guy, Mike Epps, who was able to avoid playing a minstrel character. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty bad movie, but it’s at least enjoyable to watch, making it one of the greatest videogame movies of all time. That’s what happens when you set the bar low.