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.
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.
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.
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.
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.