Resident Evil

Resident Evil

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Another futuristic security breach, during which the civilised world shuts down? Not really, not quite... What is good about Resident Evil is what's wrong with Minority Report. You are kept in the dark, but, in this case, you want to know why.

The title is a decoy. The poster ads of Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez looking sexy with big guns is a lie. Jovovich suffers from amnesia and has flashes of her past. Rodriguez belongs to a special forces unit sent into the underground offices of Umbrella Corp in Racoon City after a mysterious accident has closed it off.

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Umbrella Corp is the biggest multinational on the planet, manufacturing medicines as well as weapons of mass destruction, although noone is supposed to know about this. What happens in Racoon City is sabotage. A genetic virus escapes into the air conditioning, causing all kinds of mutation. First, the electrics pack up. The phones don't work. The offices are flooded. People die.

Why this should be any different from an off-the-shelf disaster movie is hard to define. Jovovich's character is intriguing. Who is she? What does she know and why is she there? When the special forces arrive, unannounced, in gas masks and black leather, you are uncertain whose side they are on.

Later, the plot loses itself in a maze of horror cliches and the film becomes the usual one of a small group, trapped in an alien space, surrounded by man-eating vampires who, only days before, were operating computers and doing experiments in the lab.

It is to writer/director Paul Anderson's credit that he retains the tension throughout. Rodriguez, so memorable in Girlfight, has little to do but scowl. Jovovich, overhyped after The Fifth Element as the next big thing, does an excellent job of pulling herself together, despite knowing next to nothing about who she is. The British actor, James Purefoy, provides hunkage and the Special Effects Dept chips in with a rather dishy monster.

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2002
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A futuristic genetic virus disaster movie, with a scary monster and living dead vampires.
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Director: Paul W S Anderson

Writer: Paul W S Anderson

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, Pasquale Aleardi, Colin Salmon

Year: 2002

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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