Resident Evil (R)
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Producer: Paul W.S. Anderson, Albert Botha
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodruigez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy
Rating: out of 5
Lately, it seems my cinematic diet has consisted of quite a bit of fancy, art-film type fare. Not that that’s a bad thing by any means. Most of what I’ve seen has been of good quality, and what wasn’t, well it left me in some way nourished, and what more can you ask for? However, there’s only so long that a man can eat caviar and toast points. Around the eighth helping of escargot, his palate begins to long for the sweet comfort of a large, greasy double/double from his local burger pusher. So after scrambling through this truffle-scented haze of artistically worthy films, I found myself sitting in a theater showing what may possibly go down in history as the ultimate Big Mac movie ever made—a little cheese covered, wax-paper wrapped, sloppy, messy little number known as Resident Evil.
Now, I know many of you have seen the above rating and are thinking, “Four stars? This cat is talking some jive!” (I assume all of my readers are 1970’s street pimps) The answer is, “No,” I speak no jive here. I cannot express to you how much I enjoyed this film, not as a critic, but in the most primal of moviegoing senses. More on that in a moment. First, for those of you out there who haven’t played the Resident Evil videogames, or who can’t figure out the plot from the trailer, let me clue you in. The Umbrella Corporation is your basic evil conglomerate, developing biological viruses to be used by the military to, for all intents and purposes, take over the world. (All similarities to Microsoft are purely coincidental. I think.) Anyway, our movie begins with a typical day in Umbrella’s underground facility/office complex/research lab (known as “The Hive”). People are working, chatting, doing what ever it is white-collar employees do all damn day when, unfortunately, the computer system that controls The Hive decides to kill everyone. Mainly, it decides to do this because someone (a shadowy figure, ’natch) has let loose the deadly t-virus, which makes Ebola look like the viral equivalent of a 13-year-old-girl. So, everyone is dead and the Umbrella Corporation wants to know why. They send in an elite team of paramilitary types who are supposedly there to investigate, but we the discerning audience know that their only real purpose is to get killed in a multi-hued rainbow of creative ways. Once at the place, they find Milla Jovovich (who has amnesia) and some hunky guys (one of whom also has amnesia) and they descend into The Hive. For the sake of plot integrity, I’ll stop there, but suffice to say there is a lot more to it than that. I was actually surprised at the amount of plotting they stuffed into this bad boy while still making it slick and entertaining (ahem… Tomb Raider… take some notes).
The next day, while digesting Resident Evil and seriously thinking about starting to think about writing this review, a thought struck me. When I left the theater, I was confused as to why, exactly, I had enjoyed the movie as much as I did. The answer—this movie is the 2002, techno-pop equivalent of 1950s drive-in movies. Back in the day, people ate those movies up and asked for seconds. They couldn’t get enough of the Beast With Three Noses or the Nurse With Eight Knees. If you take that basic all-monster, no-seriousness, all-for-fun idea and follow it to its logical conclusion, you come up with a film like Resident Evil. Do not go to see this movie with the notion that you’re going to see anything more than a well-made action/horror hybrid and you’ll have what can only be called a blast and a half sitting there in your seat. It’s all about having a good time and getting a good jump-scare and saying “ick” to the half-headed zombie people.
For god’s sakes, go see this movie and enjoy yourself. Stop pretending that movies are there for educational enlightenment only. Enjoy this giant piece of cinematic junk food in the spirit that’s intended and worry about the fancy food films later.
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
It’s worth a full-price ticket.
It’s worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...