Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Resident Evil (2002)

RESIDENT EVIL

(2002)


All notes and summary below by Schuyler Lystad (2006).


Notes:
Alice: Milla Jovovich
Rain Ocampo: Michelle Rodriguez
Matt Addison: Eric Mabius
Spence Parks: James Purefoy
Chad Kaplan: Martin Crews

Director, Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson


Type of Zombies: The slow, lumbering kind. They drag their feet, moan, and use crude weaponry. However, they are helped along by various animals.


Summary:
Alice wakes up in a mansion on a hill in her shower, not fully aware where or who she is. Strange memories come back to her as she wanders the mansion, trying to get her bearings. The house, owned by Umbrella Corp, is equipped with firearms that are locked in a dresser drawer.

Simultaneously, a man (Matt) and an elite strike team break in. They capture Alice and Matt, and bring them underground, into a large underground research facility called “The Hive,” also owned by Umbrella Corp. Some hours ago, the super-intelligent computer, called the Red Queen, sealed off the Hive killing all the staff inside. The strike team is ordered to infiltrate the Hive and discover the nature of the malfunction, as well as shut down the Red Queen.

Once the team gains access to the control room of the Hive, they confront the Red Queen, who kills some of the team in an effort to protect herself from anything living. She reveals that a new virus, called the T-Virus, developed in the facility, was released into the atmosphere of the facility, which was intended to revitalize recently deceased tissue and bodies. However, when released, it infected all the staff of the Hive. Since the virus is difficult to kill, the Red Queen sealed the Hive to prevent infection.

As the team fight their way to the surface of the facility, against all the zombies of the staff that have been recently revived, Alice remembers that she was going to sell the biological crimes against nature to the press, and reveal the T-Virus to the world. Spence also remembers that he had overheard Alice’s plan, and stole the T-Virus from the Hive in order to sell it before it could be taken away. He also released a vial in the Hive to cover up his theft.

By the time they escape the Hive, only Matt and Alice remain, having dispatched countless zombies, teammates, and genetically altered creatures, ranging from dogs to what is known in the corresponding video-game as Lickers. However, Umbrella Corp bursts in on them as they return to the mansion, takes Matt into what’s known as the Nemesis Program, and Alice goes to a hospital. She wakes up in an abandoned hospital room, and escapes outside, to find Raccoon City destroyed. Like many video-games from the franchise, she equips herself with a gun, and is left standing amongst hundreds of abandoned cars in the middle of the street.


Rating:
R for strong sci-fi/horror violence, language and sexuality/nudity.


Interesting Facts:
— The little girl modeled for the Red Queen was used instead of a grown woman, because the director thought it sounded too sexually explicit when she gave the line, “I’ve been a bad girl.”

— Spencer is the owner of the mansion, which is a reference to the first Resident Evil game, where the entire gameplay was based in a mansion called the Spencer Estate.

— The dogs were difficult to film with because they kept licking the meat and blood off themselves.


Commentary:
This still stands as arguably the only good video-game-to-film adaptation. The acting is nothing special, but the zombies are convincing, as well as the effects. There’s plenty of action to satisfy even the most rabid teenaged boy. The film is approachable by newcomers to the series, explaining itself fully, as well as veterans, throwing in references and creating the storyline outside of but parallel to the games of the same name.
Score: A-


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