REVIEW: RESIDENT EVIL

CAST

Milla Jovovich (The Three Musketeers)
Michelle Rodriguez (Machete)
Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Martin Crewes (DOA)
Colin Salmon (Arrow)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

Underneath Raccoon City exists a genetic research facility called the Hive, owned by the Umbrella Corporation. A thief steals the genetically engineered T-virus and contaminates the Hive with it. In response, the facility’s artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, seals the Hive and kills everyone inside.

Alice awakens naked in the bathroom of a deserted mansion with amnesia. She dresses, checks the mansion, and is subdued by an unknown person. A group of Sanitation Team commandos led by James Shade breaks into the mansion and arrests Matt Addison, who just transferred as a cop in Raccoon P.D. The group travels to the underground train under the mansion that leads to the Hive, where they find Spence. The commandos explain that everyone in the group except Matt is an employee of the Umbrella Corporation, and Alice and her partner Spence are security guards for a Hive entrance under the disguise of a couple living in the mansion. Five hours prior, the Red Queen had shut down the entire facility and released a gas which killed everyone inside, flooded the labs, and destroyed the elevators, also causing Spence and Alice’s amnesia.

At the Queen’s chamber, a laser defense system kills Shade and three more commandos. Despite the Red Queen’s urgent pleas for the group to leave, Kaplan disables the Red Queen systems, and the power fails, opening all of the doors in the Hive. This releases the zombified staff and containment units containing Lickers. When everyone regroups, they are ambushed by a horde of zombies and a gunfight ensues. J.D. perishes as the group becomes overwhelmed. A bitten Rain retreats with Kaplan and Spence; Matt becomes separated from Alice, who starts regaining her memories.

Matt looks for information about his sister Lisa and finds her zombified. Alice saves him, and Matt explains he and Lisa were environmental activists, and Lisa infiltrated Umbrella to smuggle out the evidence of illegal experiments. Alice remembers she was Lisa’s contact in the Hive but does not tell Matt. The survivors reunite at the Queen’s chamber, and the commandos explain they have one hour before the Hive traps them inside automatically. Alice and Kaplan activate the Red Queen to find an exit. To force her cooperation, they rig a remote shutdown. As they escape through maintenance tunnels, zombies ambush them, and a reanimated J.D. bites Rain before getting killed. The group reaches safety, but Kaplan is bitten and separated. Alice remembers that an anti-virus is in the lab, but they find it missing. Spence remembers he stole and released the virus. He hid the T-virus and anti-virus on the train. Spence is bitten by a zombie, which he kills before trapping the survivors in the lab. He retrieves the anti-virus, but is ambushed and killed by a Licker. The Red Queen offers to spare Alice and Matt if they kill Rain, whose health is fading and who has been infected too long for the anti-virus to work reliably. As the Licker attempts to reach them, a power outage occurs. The lab door opens to reveal Kaplan forced the Red Queen to open the door. The group heads to the train, where Alice retrieves the T-virus and kills a reanimated Spence before escaping with the others.On the train, they inject Rain and Kaplan with the anti-virus. However, the Licker is hiding on the train and attacks them, clawing Matt and killing Kaplan. In the ensuing battle, Alice subdues the Licker before Matt is attacked by a now-zombified Rain. He shoots Rain dead, causing her head to hit a trapdoor button, opening it and dropping the Licker under the train which ultimately kills it for good. At the mansion, Matt’s wound begins mutating. Before Alice can give him the anti-virus, the mansion doors burst open and a group of Umbrella scientists seizes them. They subdue Alice and take Matt away, revealing he is to be put into the Nemesis Program. Some time later, Alice awakens at the Raccoon City Hospital strapped to an examination table, with no memory of what happened since her capture. After escaping, she goes outside to find Raccoon City abandoned and ruined. Alice arms herself with a shotgun from an abandoned police car as the camera pans out.

The film did an excellent job establishing characters without too much unnecessary background, developing them just enough to make you want to know what they’ll do next, to make you care before the sudden and gruesome happens to them. The acting was above par for a Resident Evil, certainly much better than the first game. The plot was no more comic bookish than any of the games. My one complaint was that the characters were too battle-trained, too slick, too good at fighting for them to be sympathetic horror subjects. This could’ve been balanced out with more reaction shots showing the soldiers wetting themselves. But Alice’s over-the-top commando-style action made her too much of a super heroine to really make anyone concerned about her survival; characters made of Teflon make good action but apathetic horror subjects.

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