Resident Evil

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Review byMatthew Turner7/11/2002

Two out of five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Disappointing horror flick, with only the Zombie Dogs and Jovovich’s skimpy zombie-busting attire to recommend it.

Astute fans of both the original video game and zombie movies in general will no doubt already have spotted the fundamental flaw in Resident Evil – the ‘15’ certificate. Who in their right mind would make a 15-cert zombie movie?

The same excuse for a director behind Event Horizon and Mortal Kombat, that’s who. Step forward, Mr Paul “WS” Anderson (not to be confused with Paul T. Anderson of Boogie Nights and Magnolia fame, because P.T. Anderson is actually talented).

Shitloads of zombies

A secret underground lab. A deadly virus. A super-computer programmed to destroy ‘intruders’. Shitloads of zombies. Zombie Dogs. And last, but by no means least, Milla Jovovich wearing a skimpy red outfit and carrying A Really Big Gun.

With all those ingredients in place, you’d have thought something half-decent might have emerged. Sadly, this is not the case. There are precisely two cool moments in Resident Evil and both of them are in the trailer.

There’s no plot to speak of. A deadly virus infects a secret underground lab called The Hive. The scientists all turn into zombies. A military team are sent in to destroy the zombies. They meet Jovovich’s mysterious amnesiac. The computer goes bonkers and traps them all there. Zombies attack. And they bring their dogs. And that’s about it.


The main problem is that Anderson couldn’t direct an action sequence if his life depended on it. Or a suspense sequence. Or a decent exchange of dialogue. Instead, he substitutes sudden bursts of LOUD MUSIC for shocking moments and completely fails to understand the concept of tension.

What’s worse is that the essential gore factor is missing, meaning that the film never manages to scare or shock, which, for a horror film, is pretty much unforgivable.

As for the acting, only Jovovich and the sultry Rodriguez (from The Fast and the Furious) make any impact, with Jovovich’s Alice fulfilling her ass-kicking eye-candy criteria nicely. The screenplay (Anderson again) is almost completely devoid of humour (with the notable exception of one of the cool moments mentioned above), which removes anything even remotely resembling the sense of fun that might have livened this up a bit. (Imagine what Sam Raimi might have done with it).

Zombie dogs

The reason the film earns its second star is that, unlike, say, 13 Ghosts, it is at least partly watchable and, if nothing else, it has the excellent Zombie Dogs to recommend it. The sight of Milla running up the wall and then kicking the dog is the film’s one defining moment.

On the plus side, the final scene is impressive and paves the way for a potentially interesting sequel, providing the producers have the sense to keep Anderson at bay…

In short, this is just about watchable, but ultimately disappointing, given that it could have been so much better with a higher gore factor. As such, it’s probably not worth bothering with unless a) you really, REALLY liked Tomb Raider, b) you think Mortal Kombat is the greatest film ever made or c) you’re 15.

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Content updated: 23/10/2019 01:52

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