Resident Evil (2002)

resident evil poster 2002 movie review
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 7/10

The Lickers and the Dobermanns, Red Queen

Loses the horror of the game

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Resident Evil

Studio:   Constantin Film

Genre(s):  Horror/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  March 15, 2002

MPAA Rating:  R

resident evil red queen

The Red Queen has a plan!

Something has been unleashed in the Umbrella Corporation’s secret research facility called the Hive under Raccoon City.  As a result, the security program known as the Red Queen kills everyone in the facility…or so it appears.  The chemical unleashed has awakened the dead and the dead are hungry for human flesh.  A woman named Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up with no knowledge of her past and is brought in by a military team raiding the Umbrella Corporation in the hopes find out what happened in the facility.  Alice’s memories are coming back and she and one of the soldiers named Spence Parks (James Purefoy) had some sort of relationship.  The T-Virus is threatening to be released into Raccoon City, and Alice and the military must stop that from happening.

resident evil alice milla jovovich zombie dobermann fight

Bad Dog!!!

Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, Resident Evil is the film adaptation of the hit video game series.  The movie had the original title of Resident Evil:  Ground Zero, but the title was changed after 9-11.  The film was mostly panned by critics, but did exceptionally well in the box office.

Resident Evil (the game) was released in March of 1996 and can be credited for bringing back the “scary zombie”.  The tense third person shooter had characters Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine of Raccoon City’s Police Department Special Tactics and Rescue Services exploring a mansion used for scientific experiments.  The game was quite terrifying and the events of this game and aspects of Resident Evil 2 were incorporated into the film.

resident evil licker zombie

How many licks does it take to get to the squishy center of a brain?

Despite having a terrifying basis, the movie isn’t really scary.  Even the “big jumps” of the film aren’t very jumpy, and the zombies are lack luster.  The movie trades scares for action, and the action is below the level of a major action film.  It needs to pick a directionFor a zombie movie, the story doesn’t feel very intense.

The movie is relatively made up because Alice doesn’t exist in the game.  Milla Jovovich does a decent job for having no real direction for her character (the Alice in Wonderland aspect is played up a bit with the Red Queen, etc.).  She’s strong and powerful, but I don’t know that she’d work if her character was developed.  She’s backed-up by the two rather indistinguishable characters Spence Parks played by James Purefoy and Matt Addision played by Eric Mabius.  With no character development, no one has a chance though.  Michelle Rodriguez is somewhat fun as the doomed Rain Ocampo, but her fate is sealed rather early on in terms of a zombie movie.

resident evil zombie michelle rodriguez

I’ll swallow your soul!

A zombie movie needs cool zombies and despite huge advancements in the genre, the film doesn’t have them.  It does have fun rotting Dobermanns and the creepy licker creature.  The Dobermans are utilized well in their scene with Jovovich, but the licker doesn’t show up until too late in the film.  I do like the Red Queen security computer and the scene with the chopping lasers, but the film is so poorly directed and edited that it is not always clear what is occurring.

The first time I saw Resident Evil, I was little more bored than the rewatching which might just have been mellowed due to the obscene number of even worse sequels.  Resident Evil isn’t a good film because it can’t decide what it is…is it horror or action?  Resident Evil was followed by a direct sequel taking place immediately after this film called Resident Evil:  Apocalypse in 2004.

Related Links:

Resident Evil:  Apocalypse (2004)

Resident Evil:  Extinction (2007)

Resident Evil:  Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil:  Retribution (2012)

Resident Evil:  The Final Chapter (2016)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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