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Resident Evil (2002)

You’re all going to die down here

Directed by:

Paul WS Anderson

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 97 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Milla Jovovich plays Alice, a highly-trained agent from the Umbrella Corporation, but unfortunately she remembers none of it. In fact, she remembers nothing before the squad of Umbrella Corporation commandos crashed through the windows, since the house's defences cause amnesia. The commandos are attempting to gain access to the Hive, a huge underground complex where the Umbrella Corporation have been carrying out secret military biological and genetic experiments. It seems that a virus has escaped, and the Hive's guardian computer called Red Queen has sealed off the complex and killed everyone within in order to prevent the virus escaping. Now the commandos have orders to shut down Red Queen and take control of the facility.

Setting off on an underground train which will take them to the Hive, the commandos find Alice's partner Spence Parks (James Purefoy), who has also lost his memory. Alice gets flashes of memory about him, but can't work out who she really is or what kind of person she was. The commandos make their way to the control centre for Red Queen, but the computer has the means to protect itself. And once the surviving commandos manage to shut down the computer, they find that Red Queen has been protecting them from something much worse.

'Resident Evil' is based on a video game and it shows. Travelling along with the commandos on their mission, solving puzzles and defeating threats before moving on to the next challenge, there is a distinct sense of watching a game being played. Jovovich is underused as Alice, a character the audience really need to know more about, and she displays great fighting skills when allowed to use them but we never quite get to see enough of her in action. The zombies and monsters are rather unsatisfying, both having been done to greater effect in other movies. Only the score is genuinely unusual, with thrash metal combined with more creepy elements that go a long way towards building some suspense that might otherwise be lacking.

It's Got: An alternately creepy and thrash metal score by Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson that perfectly adds to the thrills of the film.

It Needs: To feel a little less like we’re just watching someone play the game on which it is based.

DVD Extras It is interesting to hear Marilyn Manson discussing his experiences writing the music for the film in the Scoring featurette. Extras: Cast and film-maker’s commentary, Making of Resident Evil, Scoring featurette, Costumes featurette, Set design featurette, Zombie camera tests, Teaser trailer, Theatrical trailer. Music Video (Easter Egg): My Plague New Abuse Remix – Slipknot DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

Blade, Event Horizon, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Matrix

Summary

This is a workmanlike sci-fi shocker that will most please adolescents and some fans of the genre. Others are likely to find it exciting but not outstanding, although the music from the film does raise it above the ordinary – the score lifts this film’s mark from a 6 to a 7.

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