Actors: Milla Jovovich, Thomas Kretschmann, Sandrine Holt, Ali Larter, Iain Glen
Directors: Paul W.S. Anderson, Alexander Witt, Russell Mulcahy
Format: Box set, PAL
Region: Region free
Number of discs: 4
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: 18 Feb 2008
Run Time: 276 minutes
Given that Resident Evil is a Paul Anderson movie based on a computer game which was itself highly derivative (especially of George A Romero and James Cameron films), it's probably unfair to complain that it hasn't got an original idea or moment in its entire running time. In the early 1980s, Italian schlock films such as Zombie Flesh Eaters and Zombie Creeping Flesh tried to cram in as many moments restaged from American originals as possible, strung together by silly characters wandering between monster attacks. This is a much-improved, edited, photographed and directed version of the same gambit.
As amnesiac Milla Jovovich remembers amazing kung fu skills and anti-globalist Eric Mabius mutters about evil corporations, a gang of clichéd soldiers with nary a distinguishing feature between them (except for Michelle Rodriguez as a secondary tough chick) are trapped in an underground scientific compound at the mercy of a tyrannical computer--which manifests as a smug little-girl-o-gram--fending off flesh-eating zombies (though gore fans will be disappointed by the film's need to stay within the limits of the 15 certificate) and CGI mutants, not to mention the ever-popular zombie dogs. It's tolerably action-packed, but zips past its borrowings (Aliens, Cube, Deep Blue Sea) without adding anything that future schlock pictures will want to imitate.
Resident Evil 2 - Apocalypse
2002's popular video-game-derived hit Resident Evil didn't inspire confidence in a sequel, but Resident Evil: Apocalypse defies odds and surpasses expectations. It's a bigger, better, action-packed zombie thriller, and this time Milla Jovovich (as the first film's no-nonsense heroine) is joined by more characters from the popular Capcom video games, including Jill Valentine (played by British hottie Sienna Guillory) and Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr, from 1999's The Mummy). They're armed and ready for a high-calibre encounter with devil dogs, mutant "Lickers," lurching zombies, and the leather-clad monster known only as Nemesis, unleashed by the nefarious Umbrella Corporation responsible for creating the cannibalistic undead horde. Having gained valuable experience as a respected second-unit director on high-profile films like Gladiator and The Bourne Identity, director Alexander Witt elevates this junky material to the level of slick, schlocky entertainment. --Jeff Shannon
Resident Evil 3 - Extinction
Movies based on computer games generally aren't well respected, but just because they aren't high art doesn't mean they can't be highly enjoyable. The only catch is that you need to be a fan of computer games to appreciate them. Resident Evil: Extinction is the third movie in the massively popular Resident Evil franchise, and it's probably the best one yet.
Between Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Extinction, the zombie-creating T-virus has spread far beyond the doomed Raccoon City; now the human race is almost extinct (hence the title). When a convoy of survivors meets up with the genetically-altered Alice, the shadowy Umbrella Corporation does everything in its power to take them down and reclaim her; but Alice isn't giving up without a fight...
Resident Evil: Extinction is part zombie movie, and part post-apocalyptic survival yarn. The big set pieces use CGI that doesn't look anything like reality, but does look very much like a computer game, which is possibly intentional--since this is a sequel to an adaptation, Resident Evil: Extinction does tend to assume a built-in audience which is already familiar with the various quirks of the franchise. If you're a fan of the games, you'll enjoy the various references to game characters and events; if not, you might feel a bit left out. It's not the best entry point to the franchise if you're a complete newcomer, but if you've seen the other films, it's a hell of a lot of fun