Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson ("Mortal Kombat).
Written by Paul W.S. Anderson.
Starring Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 3/24/02
One of the Bellview mantras is "If a movie
is based on a video game, you have to go see it." Suffered through
"Tomb Raider", REALLY suffered through
"Final Fantasy: The Spirits
Within", and next up: "Resident Evil."
I am glad that heretofore Hollywood has not
touched any of my all-time favorite video games, for fear that they
will really mess them up. The Atari 5200 classic "Ballblazer", the
arcade classics "Ikari Warriors", "Shinobi", "Out Run" and
"Operation: Wolf" haven't been touched. Lately, home classics for
me that have included the "Wipeout" racing series, "Tenchu: Ninja
Assassins", "Twisted Metal 2" and the best game currently available
for home systems, "Grand Theft Auto 3", have not been placed under
the knife of a Hollywood scriptwriter.
But, now that "Resident Evil" has (and, made
big money in its opening weekend), I think that more classics are
about to be unearthed. The game of the same name is a classic--it
spawned a ridiculous number of rip-offs, and it created the genre
that is now known as "survival horror", games where a character goes
into a situation with a pitifully few number of weapons and tries to
outwit the competition rather than outshoot it. In most adventure
games up to that point in the mid-90s, they were either no weapons,
all intellect games (like the classic "Prince of Persia"), or games
where you could find an abundance of guns and other weapons to take
down The Man.
I loved the video game "Resident Evil."
Great story, incredible graphics, and it made you resourceful as you
took out enemies because there were simply too many of them to try
and kill them all. Whenever you ran out of shotgun ammo (and, it
was often), running around different baddies without being able to
put them down was always a chore. The backstory for each of the two
selectable characters was varied enough to keep you coming back to
play the game over again, and the game was tough even on its easiest
The movie, however, leaves a bit to be
desired. The first problem with it is the story that director Paul
W.S. Anderson ("Mortal Kombat") penned for the film; maybe he played
the game, but more likely, he looked at the box art for the game and
thought of how the evil Umbrella corporation from the game could be
made into this artificial-intelligence driven nightmare. So, gone
are Raccoon City SWAT officer Chris Redfield and his partner
Jill...here, we get a group of cops (led by actors so minor I didn't
even catch their names as they were being killed off) that
infiltrate "The Hive", an Umbrella underground lab that has a HAL
9000 rip-off computer that is killing off scientists. Luckily, the
cops brought with them an amnesiac secret agent (Milla Jovovich,
"The Fifth Element") that they found at The Hive's entrance that
actually might be able to figure out what the hell happened when the
supercomputer went haywire.
While the story is a waste and a disgrace to
the game, the look and feel of the game in film has been captured.
Zombies have populated The Hive after a virus gets cut loose, and
just like the game, there are way too many of these zombies to be
killed by the cops. So, they do a lot more running than shooting,
and plenty of thinking of ways to break out of The Hive once their
mission goes awry. The slick-looking sets and some nasty-looking
undead dogs help out, too, and the film does have a decent number of
genuine scares and nasty decapitations. And, the end of the film is
actually a great one, because it sets up "Resident Evil 2" just like
the video game does.
I actually thought this film was going to be
worse, but happily, it was just average. Hopefully, the
almost-sure-thing sequel will bring out a better script.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard