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Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Paul Anderson
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 2 / 5
Video game adaptations are a hit-or-miss proposition. Some - like Mortal Kombat - are pleasant surprises, while others - Street Fighter, anyone? - are best not remembered. Of course, the $70 million domestic gross - despite a mere $20 million budget - attached to the former convinces movie studies that these are chances worth taking. Unfortunately, more often than not, these adaptations are rather disappointing. That being the case, my expectations for Resident Evil were rather minimal, and I am pleased to report that this quick-paced shoot-em-up is actually better than advertised. Noted thespians need not quake in their boots just yet, but Resident Evil can be just what the action-starved movie fan is looking for.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) has just woken up in the shower, curled on the floor with a dripping showed curtain wrapped around her. Not sure where she is, or even who she is, Alice stumbles around the bathroom, eventually moving into the outer chambers of what is a rather large mansion. Before she can gain her bearings, a mysterious stranger named Matt (Eric Mabius) crashes through the window. He is followed instantly by an armed commando team, the members of which quickly shuffle Alice and Matt to an underground sanctuary. There they meet Spencer (James Purefoy), like Alice also suffering from recent memory loss. They do not remember who they are, nor do they have any idea of the adventure on which they are about to embark.
Deep below the mansion, in an underground facility known only as "The Hive," death is running rampant. A short time earlier, a virus was released into the air, causing the automated defense system to initiate an immediate lockdown. Knowing the danger this virus would pose in the open air, the central computer system, the Red Queen, traps the facility's five hundred inhabitants, killing them all. The commandos are sent in to put a stop to the Red Queen, fearing the worst regarding the facility's deadly virus. When they arrive, though, they find more than they bargained for. The Red Queen might, in fact, not be behind the destruction below. Even worse, the commandos find themselves battling against a throng of zombies - the same people who died in the facility hours before!
Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) make a capable heroine as Alice, a young woman who slowly starts to piece together the fragmented bits of her mind. As she does, she begins to remember her years of training, including some nifty martial arts techniques. Alice does not have much in terms of dialogue - or character development, for that matter - but this is an action film, so Jovovich cannot be faulted for that. James Purefoy is intriguing as the mysterious Spencer, looking and sounding like a younger Christopher Lambert, although one hopes his career does not follow a similar path. The film does leave the audience with a cliffhanger, one sure to spawn talks of a sequel. Resident Evil accepts itself for what it is, and delivers to its audience the sort of frenetic action only its fans could truly appreciate.
Certification: Rated R for violence and language.
Running Time: 90 minutes.
Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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