You are all going to die down here.
A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * * · · ) DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )
In one weekend two of my rules are violated badly. First I got the disappointing vampire movie, Queen of the Damned, breaking the "all vampire movies are good" rule and now they violate the "all video game movies are bad" rule with Resident Evil. It was all I could do not to stick this movie into the DVD player but a lazy Sunday afternoon left little to watch so in it went. While far from perfect, and a far cry from classic zombie movies, Resident Evil did not disappoint.
The problem with almost all video game movies is that they don't ever take themselves seriously. They are selling on name alone, much like Hollywood sells so much with big named stars and commercial endorsements. They expect that every lover of the video game will march in and plop down $10 to see actors go through the plot of the latest Playstation hit. When you have a big name like Mario Brothers or Street Fighter, it is hard to take the material seriously. Resident Evil took itself seriously. Mixing that with the right balance of mystery, suspense, science fiction, and heavy action all lead to a movie that makes it worth a $3 rental. Probably the ending alone is the only part that kicks it up a notch (thanks Brado!). The only drawback of the movie is the serious lack of character.
In 1978 Colin Salmon of James Bond fame), was developed well and unfortunately that didn't last long. Had the movie worked at all to make me care for the characters and had the actors taken their whole performance down a notch, the movie would have been far better. Even a Kojack-like lollipop would have done a lot.
The DVD for Resident Evil was another modern disappointment. It had a very clear and detailed 1.85 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture and a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack but had no DTS track. It does include a director's commentary but this isn't a movie I cared enough about to listen to it.
I don't think I am taking down my video game rule anytime soon, but movies like Resident Evil make me pause a bit before automatically denouncing all video game movies before at least hearing them out. This one is far from a science fiction masterpiece and if I had to recommend two movies in it's place they would be the before mentioned Dawn of the Dead and John Carpenter's The Thing. If you want a more glitsy special effect driven monster movie, Resident Evil isn't all that shabby.