Reviews of Resident Evil (2002) and related work

Resident Evil (2002Moving picture, 100 minutes)

The maximum number of things have gone wrong in a huge bioweapons research facility underneath Raccoon City, in the modern US. The vast corporation responsible for the illegal facility send a small team of corporate special forces to investigate à la Aliens (1986). They first encounter Alice, an amnesiac who gradually regains her memories of what has happened. The rest is creatures, Milla Jovovich’s nipple and a haughty little AI.

Based on a bunch of Japanese video games, originally called Biohazard. These games are in the so-called “survival horror” subgenre, where few protagonists face lots of zombies, virally enhanced beasts and more exotic creatures, as well as the darkly noble, dynastic leaders of the Umbrella Corporation. A severe shortage of ammo and the fact that slain zombies slowly resurrect and gain power unless burned make the games successful as horror. The franchise is also famous for its fixed cameras, an intrusion of film into the medium of video games.

The films, starting with this one, are very different: High-budget action where zombies are never labelled as such. The world is cleaner and brighter than in the games, and there is very little actual or personal horror, yet this film was arguably the kick-off for a zombie trend. Cinematography and effects are pretty good. Nice ending, bad music, many pointless allusions to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

References here: Story of Science Fiction (2018).

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Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004Moving picture, 94 minutes)

Raccoon City is being quarantined. Members of the “Special Tactics And Rescue Squad” from the games are left inside the walls surrounding the city and its increasingly dead population. An important scientist contacts the survivors and offers them extraction in exchange for the rescue of his daughter. Meanwhile, Umbrella decide to field test their Nemesis project in the zombified mayhem.

Significantly cheesier than the first one. The zombies and the apocalypse itself are relegated to the background, Nemesis is good at heart, and the end is a setup, this time a bad one. Pathetic villain.

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