Resident Evil

on March 15, 2002 by Tim Cogshell
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   Alice, the heroine in the video game Resident Evil, is less well known than Tomb Raider's inimitable Lara Croft. Some might even say that "Resident Evil" star Milla Jovovich (“The Fifth Element”) is no match for "Raider's" Angelina Jolie in general. The odd thing is, while Jovovich actually makes a better, more empathetic action star than the cool and aloof Jolie, neither of their movies really work for anyone other than stalwart fans of the respective games--making any comparisons moot.

   "Resident Evil" is basically "Night of the Living Dead" meets "Aliens," with the storyline of the former and the visual sense (and much of the dialogue) of the latter. If one must pilfer, those are both good choices; the problem, of course, is that usually taking a bit from everything doesn't add up to much of anything, which is the case here.

   The Hive is an underground bio-development facility run by an organization called the Umbrella Corporation. Among other nefarious activities--many of which are explored in the several sequels to the game, and will likely provide fodder for the inevitable sequels to the film--Umbrella is developing a virus that effectively reanimates the dead. When the virus escapes (or is released), Alice, an eco-terroist named Matt and a team of containment specialists dispatched by the corporation are the only people left alive inside the Hive--if you don't count the hundreds of flesh-eating zombies.

   Just as in the game, Alice and company have to find out how the virus escaped, contain it and get themselves out of the Hive undead. The opening sequences in "Resident Evil" are tight and effective. Not long after that, the adaptation of the story by director/screenwriter Paul Anderson ("Mortal Kombat") devolves into the derivative, leaning on badly-rendered CGI effects. Fans of the game will get a kick out of seeing their hero brought to life, but the average moviegoer may want to rent "Aliens" and let the video game geeks have their day. Starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez and Eric Mabius. Directed and written by Paul W. S. Anderson. Produced by Brend Eichinger, Samuel Hadida, Jeremy Bolt and Paul W.S. Anderson. A Screen Gems release. Sci-Fi/Horror/Action. Rated R for strong violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity. Running time: 100 min

Tags: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez and Eric Mabius. Directed and written by Paul W. S. Anderson. Produced by Brend Eichinger, Samuel Hadida, Jeremy Bolt and Paul W.S. Anderson. A Screen Gems release. Sci-Fi/Horror/Action, violence, zombies, virus, game
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