Resident Evil (2002)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Should have waited.

Let me transport you through time, to the year 1996. Back when the first Playstation was a thing. You remember Playstation 1 don’t you? I was only 8 years old when the first Resident Evil game was released on that game console, and I specifically remember making that character turn that corner to see the first zombie. Wow, what a nightmare-inducer. Sure, nowadays the graphics are completely pathetic, and it’s had so many sequels that I don’t even know where to begin anymore, but I’ll always remember the impact the first game had on me. I’ve already seen all of the Resident Evil films, but I haven’t really reviewed any of them, and I thought it would be kind of cool to go back and watch the films one by one again to see how they measure up.

This film introduces us to the character Alice (Milla Jovovich), who wakes up with amnesia after her place of operation, The Umbrella Corporation locked down a place called “The Hive” for some unknown reason. In reality, it was locked down because a virus called T-Virus was released in the compound, killing everyone and re-animating their dead bodies. No one working for The Umbrella Corporation had any idea of why it was shut down, so they went to investigate, literally opening Pandora’s Box. Before they knew it, hordes of zombies and unexplainable mutant creatures made themselves known – spreading death and mayhem wherever they went.

I can say that after watching all of the films over the course of the last decade, the first movie is definitely the most video game-like. It has the most shout-outs and it plays pretty similar to a video game. I can’t say how much it is like the Resident Evil video games, because I’ve only played the one game almost twenty years ago. That being said, the film opens on a very recognizable set – a mansion very similar to the one seen in the first game. That alone was iconic, and I’m honestly sad that they didn’t film more in this location. That was unfortunately just a short shout out. Okay, well how does it hold up in the horror department?

I think it’s more of an action film than horror. In the beginning, it has some things here and there that might remind you of the scares and thrills of the video game, but the way in which they are introduced just doesn’t measure up if they were looking for scary. In the first video game, for example, it was always about suspense. Real slow movements, like towards that first corner. You hear something, but you can’t think of what, and as soon as you turn that camera boom. If you played the game, you know what I’m talking about, if you haven’t….play the game and see for yourself. Horror writing was pretty good in that game, but I wouldn’t say the same for the film.

What it does have, on the other hand, is some great action sequences and memorable characters. Milla Jovovich actually requested a part in the film before there was even a movie. She loved the games and told her agent that if there was ever a movie made based on the games, she wanted to be a part of it, and bam movie magic was made. She is perfect in this type of role, and even though she’s great in a lot of things, she’s totally Alice. That’s who she is. Ultimately, learning about her past and following her on her journey is ultimately what makes this franchise so incredibly special.  The one major flaw I have to point out is the graphics.

Visually speaking, they weren’t quite ready for the film. There are these creatures in the film called “Lickers”, which are 100% CGI. As far as graphics go, these Licker’s looked little better than the Playstation itself. They looked fake, really fake, and it’s because of that…that I didn’t feel as drawn in as with the rest of the movie. I mean, there is really good make up, and decent music to set the tone, but that CGI, man. That CGI. It kind of ruins things.

The Good:

This is the zombie tale of zombie tales, man. Forget Dawn of the Dead, it’s all about killing zombies with a captivating story and characters that you’ll love, and that’s what you got right here. Milla Jovovich was built for this role, ladies and gents.

The Bad:

The first Resident Evil wasn’t exactly made for a great story. It was made mostly for shout outs to the game, which are cool, but we want a more compelling and scary story, which isn’t exactly apparent here. The sequels do a better job at telling a story. Also, the graphics were pretty poor here. Those Lickers just…no one is going to believe those are anything other than an incomplete computer rendered creature.

Memorable Quote:

Red Queen: I implore you.

Kaplan: Implore away!


4 thoughts on “Resident Evil (2002)

  1. Fun fact: First ever R-rated movie I saw in theaters, and I still have nightmares about it from time to time. Doesn’t make it a better movie, but definitely one that’s, oddly enough, had more of an effect on my life than some of the movies I see. Nice review Dave.


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