Resident Evil Movie Review

Pity poor Paul W.S. Anderson. The genre filmmaker has always been the child on the block with all the cool toys but none of the communication skills. Throughout his career, which features a franchise picture in "Mortal Kombat," a true bomb in "Soldier" and an artistic "high point" in "Event Horizon," he has been unable to earn respect as a true auteur. Perhaps it is because he does indeed produce commercial dreck like "Mortal Kombat," incoherent trash like "Soldier," and buries the rich, captivating psychological ramifications of the "Solaris"-inspired "Event Horizon" with silly effects and explosions.

     In fairness, Anderson is a fine technical director. Few in the business could have handled the magnitude of a studio project like "Event Horizon" (witness Walter Hill running from "Supernova"). He knows how to use his bells and whistles to impress. As a storyteller, however, he falls flat. Any dramatic moments in his films, of which there are few, slow the film down to a halt. There are no gimmicks he can throw at the screen and the film becomes stagnant.

     And that is one of the million reasons why "Resident Evil", which he wrote and directed, falls flat. Based on a best-selling video game, "Resident Evil" is a high tech resurrection of the schlock zombie picture. However, the production falls apart under the weight of the fancy sets, garish special effects and goofy dialogue.

     Milla Jovovich stars as Alice, an amnesiac dealing with a flood of memories she cannot comprehend. She wakes naked in her shower [Editorís note: Isnít that worth three stars already?], and shortly after improbably donning a red miniskirt ensemble, she is attacked by a group of shady operatives who swarm her house. Apparently, the Umbrella Corporation, an outfit that, as explained before the credits, controls almost every business on this planet, has released a virus that has knocked her and her husband unconscious.

     It is not long before she is brought into "the Hive," an underground laboratory maintained by the Umbrella Corporation and the apparent source of the virus. She soon learns that she has some sort of connection to the entire mess, and she may be responsible. Or something like that. Clearly, not even Jovovich can make any sense of it. She has a distant, starry look in her eyes, one that is perfect for a supporting role in a film like her own "The Fifth Element", but not for the protagonist of a bloated Hollywood production.

     In working on "Resident Evil", Anderson clearly wants to pay homage to the great George A. Romero with his oozing blood zombies. However, what made Romeroís "Living Dead" pictures so phenomenal was the threat of zombies existing in real life. They did not hide and wait for you, but rather lumber, crawl and stumble towards their prey. In "Resident Evil", these zombies are everywhere, but apparently only travel in packs and appear in all-too-obvious "boo" moments dictated by the script.

     "Resident Evil" is an empty picture. The one character whom we are given any chance to know and understand is Alice, the one person who canít even make any sense of her identity herself. Perhaps itís a blatant joke. Then again, perhaps itís also a joke that an experienced filmmaker like Anderson can put out a film so joyless, humorless and dull as "Resident Evil." Meanwhile, the string of bad movies based on video games continuesÖ

Editors Note: Thanks to Gabe Toro for another fantastic review. Even If I dont agree with all of it :)

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