Resident Evil, a media franchise… From comic books, novelizations, to video games and action figures. It was Developed by Capcom and created by Shinji Mikami, and the series is known in Japan as Biohazard. Between books and films, I thought I’d take sometime out to share my comments on the Resident Evil films.
Resident Evil (2002)
An amnesiac heroine (Alice) and a band of commandos attempt to contain an outbreak at a secret underground facility where the virus has caused the dead to come back to life.
It’s a surprisingly great Zombie film. Past Zombie flicks have contained a lot of bad acting with low budgets and story lines that weren’t that great. Whle I can’t draw comparisons of the adaptation into the film Paul Anderson does a great job of creating an empty eerie atmosphere.
While some of the CGI effects are an unnecessary distraction the make up and costume design is first-rate. There’s an intelligent story and great script. The stunts are fantastic notably the dog attack and the supporting cast are great and the two strong female leads Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez are excellent. The music is hard hitting, foreboding which adds to the action and creepy moments.
A good chunk of flesh eating entertainment-a great update and revival of zombie movies which pays homage to George A.Romero.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
After a zombie outbreak, the corporation Umbrella beings a cover up by releasing the deadly creature Nemesis.
I enjoyed its predecessor and was glad that the unjustly criticised Paul W.S. Anderson was writing the sequel. However it was just a shame that he didn’t direct the flow up. Either there was budget cut or Alexander Witt wasn’t capable of delivering the cashing-in follow-on.
Mike Epps is funny, but unnecessary comic relief and Iain Glen as the ‘evil scientist’ Dr. Isaacs gives a good performance. There is amazing stunt work, Milla again plays heroine Alice superbly and Oded Fehr is on top-form, however, there are lots of problems… The film is let down by its TV feel, the zombies are ruined by blurry manipulated camera work. Sienna Guillory is handed a dreadful script and costume. The effects and music are a mixed bag, sometimes great and at other times sadly distracting.
It’s a sci-fi with plenty of action, but Apocalypse lacks the suspense, atmosphere and finesse of the first instalment.
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
As you can tell, I’m not a player of the Resident Evil games, so all the films including this 3rd instalment are non-bias. I’m not a fan of ‘super’ zombie’s, however, I enjoyed this one more than the second.
It was good to see zombies in a desert wasteland setting but the film has a cheap look to it in parts. Oded Fehr, Iain Glen and Mike Epps return, Ali Larter is a welcomed new addition as Claire, but the rest of the acting from the supporting cast isn’t too wonderful.
Milla Jovovich (despite a dodgy hair-cut) once again is just what the doctor ordered as Alice who develops her ‘powers’ throughout. There are plenty of tussles, zombie action, killer birds and. it has some great ideas, themes and a surprise electrifying closing.
Under Russell Mulcahy direction it has it’s moments. There is one stand out segment at a gas station, but again, like it’s predecessor it lacks the pulsing, foreboding, suspense and mood created by Paul W.S. Anderson in the first Resident Evil.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Boasting being the first live-action movie based on a video game to be in 3-D…
Alice is stripped of her T-virus enhancing powers continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to Arcadia, however, with more zombies, T virus mutants and Umbrella Corporation personnel it’s not going to be easy.
The intriguing set up of Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) for a clone orientated sequel is dolefully all wrapped up in the opening minutes of Afterlife. The originals Director/Writer Paul W.S. Anderson thankfully returns the reigns and puts the series on track, especially by making our heroine more human and like the character of Resident Evil (2002).
Milla is made for the role of Alice and looks partially in shape and focused in this action orientated continuation of the Capcom game adaptation, as too is Ali Larter as Claire Redfield, although she is underutilised.
Gamer fans will be pleased with appearance of game baddies and Chris Redfield played by Wentworth Miller. Boris Kodjoe is has a lot of screen presence, however, his and many of the other characters are not fleshed out or have enough dialogue nor time to make an impact. Afterlife lacks the depth and foreboding atmosphere of the first film but is more fun than Apocalypse and Extinction despite the hammy acting and overuse of slow-mo.
The Redfield bother sister relationship is left unexplored and there appears to be a lot of missed opportunities. That said, these threads may turn up in future squeals, however, you can’t help feel a little short changed as the plot feels to just scratch the surface.
There’s still a lot to like, zombies, guns, sword-play and explosions. Fantastic stunts, great sets, costumes, special effects and a pumping score. Sienna Gilroy’s cameo sets it up for another tantalising sequel, however, every instalment in the series has done the same, let’s just hope RE5 delivers in all departments.
Overall, Resident Evil: Afterlife is immense sci-fi fun, but alas chooses style over substance.
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Alice finds herself trapped in a Umbrella Corporation testing facility and with the help of some old and new friends she must do battle with infected zombies and T-virus mutants in order to escape.
Milla Jovovich as usual looks exceedingly good as Alice, her makeup is perfect and she is in top physical form. Also in the opening she get to display her underrate acting as an everyday mother who dearly tries to escape an infected zombie attack. Gamer fans will be content with appearance of the game characters including Leon S. Kennedy and Ada Wong to name a few but as with Afterlife the characters are not fleshed out and it lacks the depth and foreboding atmosphere of Resident Evil.
The Redfields are nowhere to be seen and the biggest shame about Retribution is the missed opportunity to effectively utilise the characters from the first and second film. Colin Salmon and Oded Fehr are painfully wasted and they have very little screen time reducing them to nothing more than tantalising cameos which go nowhere. Michelle Rodriguez thankfully gets a little more to do, but again even with the original writer at the helm the scenes are underdeveloped.
The original’s director/Writer Paul W.S. Anderson once again returns but sadly continues the style over substance approach, yeap and there’s slow-motion and lots of it. While it looks great it’s very derivative including Aliens (1986) missing young girl, cocoons and face hunger-esque robots. At one point director Anderson copies his own Alien homage from AVP and unapologetically puts it in this latest instalment.
The special effects, stunts and sets are marvellous, the music by tomandandy is exceptional but sadly these elements solely don’t make a movie. Like its predecessor it’s sci-fi fun, with some enticing ideas but alas it chooses the style over substance root leaving the viewer once again short changed.