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Resident Evil (2002)
Some people complain that I have been giving a lot of good grades lately. However, as any teacher or critic will tell you, we do not give grades, something earns one. Being a self-financed movie critic (for the most part) I choose to see films I am fairly sure will not disappoint me so I do not waste my money or my time. Normally, I have a fairly good instinct on what is good and what is bad. However, even movies I find are sure bets can be disappointing. Gosford Park was excessive garbage, Black Hawk Down was over-rated, and A Beautiful Mind is nowhere near the best film of the year. With that said, here is a poorly graded movie, not because I gave it this grade. It earned it.
I am a huge fan of the Resident Evil video games. I remember when the first game came out when I was maybe 13 years old. It scared me to death. It had it's share of scares, deeply drawn characters, and a well done plot. I was excited to hear that this film would be coming to the median of film a number of years ago, when George Romero of Night of the Living Dead fame was heading the project. However, Romero was dropped from the project along with his fair script adaptation of the video games. Chosen to head up the venture after him was Paul Anderson (not to be confused with the excellent director Paul Thomas Anderson of Boogie Nights fame). Anderson had done another video game adaptation, Mortal Kombat, and the fairly decent horror movie, Event Horizon. Seeing Event Horizon gave me some hope for this film, however, Anderson made it clear in pre-production that he hadn't planned on following the video games. A big mistake.
What Anderson gives us is your typical horror movie, lacking human reason and full of cliché moments. (Even last year's horrible Jeepers Creepers was better than this trash.) The plot begins in the Umbrella Labs, where one of the largest corporations in the United States is carrying on some research for biological weapons. Through human error, one of the samples contaminates the air of the lab and the security system (called Red Queen) goes homicidal, locking everyone into the facilities and killing them. However, this virus has the capacity to re-animate the dead and that is exactly what it does.
Meanwhile, a woman (Milla Jovovich) who remains unnamed for the duration of the film wakes up naked in a running shower. (Your typical excuse to show a nude woman to an audience of mainly teenage boys.) Upon her waking (and dressing) she is disturbed by a team of military agents who invade her home, which she discovers is a front for the underground labs. The team makes their way down into the labs to find out what happened and shut down the Red Queen. Shutting down the Red Queen unlocks all the "zombies" and the team has sixty minutes to leave the lab before it locks back down. This plot differs from the video games in almost every aspect. Such a shame....
The film, besides the plot, is weak in every aspect. The dialogue is only that of words like "RUN!", "DUCK!", "ZOMBIE!", and an occasional cuss word. The characters are shallow and indistinguishable from one another. They only serve as zombie food. The plot is horribly cliched and serves more as a comedy than a horror movie. The scares are hoaky and expected and perhaps worst of all, the ending is open for a sequel. If someone can get a budget of ten million for this piece of work, it shouldn't be a problem getting one tenth of that for one of mine.
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