Resident Evil (2002 Germany/UK)

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Resident Evil (2002 Germany/UK)

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:09 pm

First in the series of 5 (so far) films, based on the Capcom Video Game. The first sequence depicts how a thief breaks a vial of T-virus to cover his escape from the huge underground facility of the Umbrella Corporation, called "The Hive"; the building's automatic defenses engage, either locking in various employees or simply killing them. Then we switch to a young woman (Milla Jovovich) awaking in the luxurious house which tops the entrance to a side tunnel which leads to The Hive; she apparently has no memory. A plainclothes cop (Eric Mabius) shows up a minute later. In almost no time, a squad of black-clad commandos (including Michelle Rodriguez and Colin Salmon) break in - they have been sent by the corporation to investigate. They quickly find survivors (including James Purefoy) who also have lost their memory, due to a nerve gas.
Anyway, that's the gist of the story - the squad and a few others make their way through essentially a maze in this underground building, encountering various threats. Predictably, not many make it through to the end of the film. Actually, most of the commandos don't even make it to the halfway mark; they get trapped in a corridor and are sliced up by a laser defense system. That's the other problematic part of all this - the defense system is a rudimentary a.i. called "The Red Queen" - behaving at times like a petulant young girl.

The rest of the time, this is mostly  a Dawn of the Dead type of scenario - the group encounters other survivors who have been mutated into killer zombies; there's a lot of gunplay, but zombies usually do not fall from mere bullets (I was unclear if bullet shots to the head were effective or not). There are also grotesque mutated dogs.  The more intriguing aspect to all this is the mystery about the true identity of Milla's character - at first she and Purefoy are thought to have been the fake couple who resided in the mansion as cover for the corporation, but she eventually is found to have abilities that suggest that she is some kind of super secret agent. A couple of others are not who they seem to be either, setting it up for revelations. There's too much of that empty action in films like this, but the set-up, ending in a hospital in the middle of Raccoon City, also embodies an apocalyptic setting, and very similar to the start of The Walking Dead series, which started on TV only  8 years later.  BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10; the next film was Resident Evil:Apocalypse (2004)

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