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Resident Evil Film (2002) Review

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Resident Evil, a zombie centric survival action horror movie, is based on the famous survival horror video game of the same name

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Alice in the Zombieland

Resident Evil, a zombie centric survival action horror movie, is based on the famous survival horror video game of the same name developed by the gaming giant Capcom. The game holds the credit of creating a new genre in the video game industry but the same cannot be said for the movie. Directed and co-written by the Paul W.S. Anderson, who also directed the movie adaptation of the Mortal Kombat video game, the film fails in comparison to the excellence of the game.

The movie revolves around a bunch of individuals and their struggle to survive a zombie infested research facility. A virus breaks out in the facility owned by a powerful organization called Umbrella. The facility’s A.I., the Red Queen, sensing danger seals the facility and kills everyone inside but once you are infected by the T-virus whatever that does not kills you turns you into a zombie and that is just what happened to the facility’s residents, they turned into undead flesh eaters.


The protagonist of the movie is an amnesia stricken woman named Alice (Milla Jovovich) although we are never told her name in the movie, maybe psychics were the filmmakers target audience. Anyways, she must battle flesh eating zombies and escape with her life and makeup intact; along with two other male casts and a few commandos. Just like ‘Alice’s adventures in wonderland’ this is ‘Alice’s adventures in zombieland’ but this Alice can sure as hell kick some serious zombie behind. Not only is she dressed to kill but she also has the ability to kill with guns and kicks undead flesh eating humans, zombie dogs and a creature with a mile long tongue. She takes out all adversaries like a one woman army but fails to even throw a single punch when lab coat wearing nerds overpower her, guess she is only tough against the undead.


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Anderson is not new to the horror genre and his awareness does show in this movie, the lighting and the environment sets the mood for a horror flick. The cinematographer did a fine job in this regard but it could have been better if he had kept the boom mic and other lighting equipment out of the camera shots. The movie offers its limited scary moments or to quote Michelle Rodriguez ‘jumpy’ moments but it fails to deliver the scare factor expected from it. The zombies are as scary as Michelle’s facial expression, who is this movie plays the part of a commando named Rain.


The best part of the movie however is the laser room scene, both the visuals and the coherent sound and background music made it thrilling but a shift from reality slightly managed to kill the moment. Four commandos get sliced and diced in the laser room but when the rest deactivate the facility’s defence mechanism and enter the room there are no bodies to be found as if they had vanished in thin air. This happens in the game, whenever you put the dead in the undead by blowing its head off, its body disappears. As far as borrowing from the game is concerned this is where the movie shouldn’t have aped the game.

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With its lack of concrete plot, character development and some minor glitches the movie failed to satisfy the existing audience of the franchise but still with good action sequence and soundtrack it managed to save face. The film was released in 2002 and grossed $ 17 million on its opening weekend and was commercially successful enough to even spark three sequels.

SYNOPSIS

Beneath the Raccoon City lies a top secret underground genetic research facility called the Hive, owned by the powerful Umbrella Corporation. Inside a lab in the Hive someone loads vials containing green and blue coloured liquids in a secure case. He then throws the blue vial in the lab, takes the case seals shut the lab and leaves. The vial breaks releasing the T-virus, developed by Umbrella, into the lab which then spreads into the facility through the air vents. The facility’s artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, senses the virus outbreak and takes countermeasures by sealing the facility and killing everyone inside to contain the virus.

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Alice (Milla Jovovich) the protagonist of the movie wakes up in an empty mansion. She suffers from amnesia and cannot seem to remember her past. However, clues in the mansion do shed some light on it. In the mansion she encounters Matt (Eric Mabius), who claims to be a police officer. Just then a group of commandos infiltrate the mansion and seize them, taking them to an underground train station that leads to the Hive. There they find Spence, who is amnesia stricken. The leader of the commandos simply called ‘One’ tells Alice that she, Spence and the commandos are Umbrella employees. The Red Queen had released a nerve gas in the mansion that caused their amnesia. Umbrella has sent the commandos to investigate the disturbing situation in the Hive.

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On reaching the Hive they make their way to the Queen’s chamber, little do they know, the corridor that leads to her chamber is equipped with a laser defence system. Four commandos including the leader enter the corridor and all of them are killed instantly. Of the commandos only Rain (Michelle Rodriguez), Kaplan and J.D. remain. Kaplan and Alice set up an EMP device to shut down the Queen. The Red Queen, in a holographic form of a young girl, pleads with them not to do so otherwise the end results will be catastrophic. Her warning is ignored and the system is shut down, power fails and all doors are opened releasing the undead staff into the Hive, they have all turned into zombies because of the T-virus infection. Soon a battle for survival begins between the commandos and the flesh eating zombies. In the course of the battle J.D. becomes zombie dinner and Rain gets infected. The group then makes a run for it and in the process Alice and Matt get separated from the group.


Matt goes on to look for his sister Lisa, who worked in the facility. Meanwhile, Alice has a face off with zombie dogs she much to her own disbelief defeats them utilizing combat skills she did not know she had. While Matt is looking for information regarding Lisa he is attacked by a zombified Lisa, Alice arrives just in time to save him. Matt reveals that he and Lisa wanted to smuggle the T-virus out of the facility to unveil to the world the sinister workings of Umbrella. He believes that Lisa’s contact betrayed her. Alice has a flashback that it was she who was Lisa’s contact.


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The survivors soon regroup at the Red Queen’s Chamber. Alice activates the Red Queen on the condition that she would help them escape. They then begin their escape through the maintenance tunnels and come under attack by a zombie horde. Kaplan gets separated and is presumed dead. Alice leads the team to the lab as she remembers that there is also an antidote to the virus, in vials containing green coloured liquid. On reaching the lab they find that the vials are missing. At that moment Spence regains his memory and remembers that it was he who had stolen the vials and released the T-virus. He leaves for the train, where he had hidden the vials, trapping the others in the lab. Before Spence could administer the anti-virus a mutated creature called the Licker kills him. Meanwhile, at the lab the Red Queen offers to help Alice and Matt escape only if they behead Rain, who has been infected for a long time. Alice declines instead destroying the monitor the Red Queen was using to communicate with them. Just then the power returns and the sealed lab door opens with Kaplan on the other side. Kaplan had survived and had managed to shut down the Red Queen.

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The four races for the train before the facility seals shut again. As they head to the mansion, the Licker appears on the train and attacks them, kills Kaplan and battles Alice. Matt delivers a headshot to put the now zombified Rain out of her misery. Matt traps the Licker by opening the train floor door, causing it to be dragged and burnt to death. In the fight with Licker Matt receives an injury which begins to mutate. Before Alice could inject the anti-virus in his bloodstream they are seized and overpowered by Umbrella scientists in the mansion. They take Matt away to be put into the ‘Nemesis Program’ while Alice is knocked unconscious. We then see Alice strapped in an examination table in the empty Raccoon City Hospital. She wakes up and goes outside to find the city in a state of chaos. The T-virus has spread to the surface after the Hive was reopened by Umbrella turning the city dwellers into zombies.

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