Resident Evil Movie Review

Extremely tedious action sequences and dull dialogues make Resident Evil a long and uninspired experience.

The Resident Evil franchise has been one of the most popular series in the zombie genre. Some of its elements (mainly its story) seem to make it particularly well-suited for a film, but unfortunately, flat dialogues, a soulless underlying message, tedious action sequences and uninteresting characters make this movie a mindless and completely shallow entertainment.

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Alice: “I’m missing you already.”

The main premise is quite simple: The Umbrella Corporation has become one of the biggest entities in the world as it’s the main supplier of medical hardware, military weaponry and health programs. Also, the pharmaceutical company secretly works in genetic experimentation and at the beginning of the movie we see how an unknown thief destroys a vial, releasing the T-virus and consequently turning people (and animals) into flesh-eating zombies. Immediately after that, the government sends a special team to The Hive, a secret entrance to the research facilities located beneath Raccoon City, in order to contain the deadly virus.

There, the team finds an amnesic woman named Alice (the film’s main protagonist) and an unknown police officer. As a result of the aforementioned experiments and the consequent accident in which the virus is released, people start mutating. Furthermore, the Red Queen, Umbrella’s main artificial intelligence, goes homicidal and as a result of this it kills everyone in sight and seals every door shut, successfully avoiding the virus to spread to the surface.

"I've really got to buy a new bed."

Alice: “I’m not sure I want to remember what went on down here.”

And then, 40 minutes later, the first zombies finally make an appearance and start biting people. What do you do if you see a zombie? You may ask yourself. Well, you shoot it, preferably in the head. And that pretty much sums up the rest of Resident Evil. A shooting sequence is shown after the other in a really fast-paced (but ultimately really boring) way. Though pretty entertaining at first, these recurrent action scenes get old quick and soon they start feeling bland and detrimental. In addition, characters get killed before you even get to know anything about them, making it even harder to care about their ultimate demise.

In addition, the main protagonists seem like puppets who simply don’t remember anything about their past. Eventually, they start having flashbacks but this conveniently happens at a very slow-pace. By the time the viewer gets all the necessary details to unravel the plot’s main points he/she’ll be way too bored with the concept to even care. Also, dialogues are poorly delivered and actors don’t react naturally to what others say or to what happens around them, they simply say their lines emphatically and that’s it.

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Alice: “Watch the tank! The tank!”

The film makes myriad references to the popular video game series and this let us see to what audience the film really aims at: fans of the games (who would have known?) These winks and nods include: The Umbrella Corporation, the Nemesis program, Alexia Ashford is mentioned (from Resident Evil Code: Veronica), there are Doberman zombies, a Licker, crows are used as a symbol, even the camera angles try to emulate the ones in the game and all the imagery (like the S.T.A.R.S. and Umbrella Corporation logos) are shown. Many clichés and stereotypes are also used, making the movie even more forgettable: there are slow moving zombies, there’s the person who has been bitten by zombies and knows he or she’s going to die soon, there are predictable jump scares, and the list goes on and on.

The movie uses several special effects. Though some of them are accurate enough, some others (giant creatures, the Red Queen’s hologram) are just appalling.  Music’s also not very impressive at all and some techno/heavy metal tracks have been used during most sequences. Instead of building tension, this ruins the atmosphere the plot has created and they seem extremely unsuitable to convey suspense or horror.

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Alice: “There’s a cure!”

In the end, Resident Evil isn’t a good movie. It adds nothing meaningful to the franchise, it’s not very approachable for those who aren’t familiar with the source material, dialogues are flat, characters lack depth and the story is quite uninteresting and predictable. It should be taken into account that its fast-pace nature makes the film entertaining enough, but only to fanatics of the video game franchise.

  • Fosforic

    I actually quite liked the first RE movie though… I don’t think it deserved that much of a hard beating :p. While I’m on the subject, why is it causing so many negative points to you if the film makes references to the game? I just don’t get it. That’s entirely the point, I would think, no? I mean, in a way, I can understand that you may have meant that the movie wouldn’t be that accessible to people who do not know anything of the game. Which is a point I get. But a point I don’t consider that valid. After all, anyone who goes out to watch this movie will most likely be a fan of the game lol , I don’t see why you would otherwise. The film has also been advertised that way, as a movie based on a game. Someone who does not know the game wouldn’t really go out to see the film, I would think. I don’t know, I don’t quite agree on those aspects.

    You’re dead on right for all the ones that followed though. Those, without a single doubt, really stir in ballsoup. Not to mention the 3D-aspect was completely horrendous in afterlife. I think at one point … Alice took about 3 minutes of slow-motion time to do a backflip and fire her shotgun. I mean, I like a bit of 3D like any other guy but I don’t need to see a 3 minute close up view of some rain drops and alice’s feet. I felt like they were trying ” show off ” their gimmicks for far too long and it ended up being exasperating to watch.

    Also, have you seen the trailer for the next one? LOL Holy shitballs on a cracker, dragons here we come! I’m not sure how they’ll justify a winged beast creature as a mutation of the T-virus but i’m sure they won’t bother explaining it anyway :p.

    • eric_s07

      I quite like this movie too, but as I stated in this review I also believe that it has some important issues which can’t be overlooked. Regarding references to the video games and to make my point clearer, think that Resident Evil: Afterlife was the most profitable movie in the series with almost $300 million. I’m pretty sure that most of the people who contributed to that staggering number have no idea that Resident Evil is a video game.

      Fan fiction and subtle references are great, but if you don’t complement that with something else (maybe a solid script would be nice,) the movie ends up being dull and bland, particularly to those who aren’t familiar with the source material. Still, this is my personal approach to this topic and even though we disagree I can see your point.

      • fosforic

        300 million? Really? Well you’re probably right. That would’ve been a lot of fans otherwise eh. I even saw a few people walk out on the film while i was in the theater :p. But hey, you paid for it anyway, might as well sit it out is what I say. I guess the franchise has always been good at portraying their trailers to look exciting, polished and neat. But the downside from that is, in most cases, they tend to give away all of the exciting things or discoveries that leave the film as a whole with no content. (not that it had any good content but this tends to apply for a lot of other movies out there as well)

        Furthermore, I only ended up liking the first film due to a silly man crush on Eric Mabius, who is the guy that turns into Nemesis. I’m sad, I know. And Michelle Rodriguez, because quite frankly, she’s not actually that bad of an atrice. Not to mention , she suddenly lives again in the newer installment LOL.

        • eric_s07

          I agree with you about the trailers detailing a lot about what’s going to happen in the films. Usually, I try to stay away from those kind of trailers just to avoid spoilers. Still, I did end up watching Resident Evil: Retribution’s latest trailer as you suggested, but I guess you can say that I did it for “researching” purposes.

          Moreover, I enjoyed the first Resident Evil film even though it had some obvious problems. Unfortunately, all the rest of the films in the franchise were even worse. Anyway, if you like movie reviews expect more of them soon!