by Eric D. Snider
Released: March 15, 2002
No one has conversations in "Resident Evil." They make declarations -- "We have to get out of here!" -- and they issue commands -- "Pull me back inside!" -- but they never listen to each other or exchange information. It is based on a video game, and as such, it exists merely to go from one life-or-death scenario to the next.
But it is less appealing than a video game. The blood and gore here -- which is plentiful and gruesome -- is too realistic and relentless to be enjoyable. In the spirit of the film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," the people in "Resident Evil" are even less dynamic than their two-dimensional computerized counterparts. The music is loud. This movie has Excedrin written all over it.
I like the story. It is set in the "early 21st century," which I believe is right around now. The supercomputer that runs an underground laboratory has gone nuts and killed all the employees, and now a special military task force heads down to unplug her. Oh, and all those dead employees are zombies now, and not the nice kind, either. They lurch around like zombies do -- apparently, becoming undead strips you of coordination and speed -- and they can be killed (re-killed?) by the usual means, such as bullets and twisting their heads off.
The task force includes a passionless Milla Jovovich as a woman with amnesia who doesn't remember she's an unstoppable killing machine, and a fierce Michelle Rodriguez as a woman who remembers very clearly that she is an unstoppable killing machine. There are some men in the group, too, but they all look the same and are played by actors whose names you won't recognize.
The director is Paul Anderson, who also gave us "Mortal Kombat" and "Event Horizon." He wrote "Resident Evil," too, but it is based on an earlier work called "That Time Paul Anderson Smoked Crack and Watched 'Dawn of the Dead.'" In his directorial vision, everything that happens needs to be accompanied by a loud, jarring, metallic "SHOOOONK!" This is to ensure that you jump when, say, someone opens a drawer with T-shirts in it. If it weren't for the "SHOOOONK!," you would probably just think it was someone opening a drawer with T-shirts in it. You wouldn't immediately grasp the urgency of the situation. Thank goodness for the "SHOOOONK!" and for Paul Anderson, who with any luck will fall into a mine shaft ("SHOOOONK!") and never work again.
Rated R, abundant harsh profanity, abundant blood and gore, some partial nudity
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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