Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Paul W S Anderson
Stars: Michelle Rodriguez,
While based on the popular video game, this big budget film adaptation of Resident Evil liberally borrows from a number of other well-known films for its visual style. Film fans should have little trouble identifying these influences, in particular George A Romero’s cult classic Night Of The Living Dead, which the film slavishly imitates for much of its duration. Like most other video games that have become movies (Streetfighter, Super Mario Brothers, etc) Resident Evil loses something in the translation to the big screen.
Most of the film’s action takes place inside the Hive, a top secret underground research complex, owned by the mysterious Umbrella Corporation, which is conducting research and illegal experiments into DNA, viruses and chemical weapons. When a spy steals the latest chemical warfare experiment he also deliberately contaminates the laboratory. The high tech computer that monitors security for the Hive quickly responds to the threat by poisoning all the personnel and closing the complex.
A small elite team (a B-grade cast led by the surly, continually pouting, tough and resourceful Michelle Rodriguez, from Girlfight) is sent inside to investigate what happened inside the Hive. They encounter a series of dangerous situations, including deadly booby-trapped corridors, zombie Dobermans, a rogue computer determined to protect its secrets, and a zombie army of cannibals.
There are plenty of gaping holes in the slender and unoriginal plot, but writer/director Paul W S Anderson (the chilling sci-fi thriller Event Horizon, etc) maintains a rather cracking pace throughout that rarely gives audiences time to catch their breath until the final credits. The action is accompanied by a grating heavy metal soundtrack composed by shock rocker Marilyn Manson, that is often more eerie and frightening than anything on screen.