There are ways to make a good movie from a video game and there are bad ways. Whilst there are a great many examples of the latter (Super Mario brothers come on down) there are remarkably few examples of the former. Thankfully Resident Evil seems to be one of these rare examples.
Buried miles below Racoon City lies “The Hive” - a massive laboratory complex operated by the giant, multinational “Umbrella corporation”, in which it conducts top secret genetic and viral research. Unfortunately, a laboratory “incident” occurs causing all kinds of hell to break loose within the complex and leaving the amnesiac “Alice” (Milla Jovovich) and a crack team of commandos to fight their way past homicidal computer systems; zombie dogs and ranks of the undead in order to find out what went wrong and stop it.
As I mentioned, videogames don't normally make good movies. Stripped of their interactive element and paired down to run for two hours or less, the enveloping nature of a game is usually lost leaving only bubblegum visuals and zero story. This is where Resident Evil scores. In the (well appointed) extras on this disc, producer Paul W.S. Anderson comments that he faced a dilemma when making this movie - which Resident Evil should he make? If he made a movie of the first game some fans would be bored and others would be angry that he gave away the ending of the first game. If he made the second, a similar problem would surface. Here he made the decision that lets this movie work. He made neither. He made a prequel detailing the events leading up to the first game and thus allowing him scope to include elements from the game without slavishly having to follow it's plot. Yes, this is a (very) slick re-invention of the zombie genre but so was the game. Having a youth oriented soundtrack from Marilyn Manson and a skimpily dressed heroine in the form of Milla Jovovich didn't hurt its popularity either!
Having suffered through Andersons earlier outpourings in the forms of “Event Horizon” and “Mortal Kombat”, I must say I was pretty impressed with this big screen outing. The pacing is right, the atmosphere is kept suitably paranoid, oppressive and apprehensive and you really don't know what will happen to any of the cast next. In much the same way that you knew Ripley was safe in the Aliens movies (well, Alien 3 excepted) you know Alice is going to walk through mostly unscathed but, as for the rest of the commando team, nobody is safe and nobody is, necessarily, who they appear to be. It's still an action/sci-fi/horror romp but it's a damn good one that manages to sustain interest, not only throughout its 101 minute running time, but also on subsequent viewings. So what does this “deluxe edition” have to offer?
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