Resident Evil (2002)

Hurrah, a movie adaptation of a computer game. Featuring zombies. Right, that’ll be good, then.

The movie starts with the release of a top-secret virus in a top-secret underground laboratory. Security procedures kick in: basically, a psychotic artificially intelligent computer kills off the entire population of the lab under the flag of “containment”. All in good fun. Upstairs, an implausibly hot woman and some random guys who all look the same are waking up from a chemically induced coma – minus their memories. Enter some guys in virus suits, some painfully obvious explanation of the story so far: these apparent civilians are actually fellow agents of the scary gas mask men who were unfortunately caught up in the chaos when security was breached and have temporary amnesia due to the nerve gas. Jolly good. Now, these obvious liabilities are being taken back into the top-secret underground lab to find out what went wrong.

Cue more grisly “containment” killings, way too much talking and we’re finally into the fun. The walking dead! Turns out, although Little Miss AI killed all her employees, the virus has reanimated them. Everyone takes way too long to figure out that zombies need to be shot in the head and several plebs take the opportunity to get bitten. Alice (Milla Jovovich) walks around being implausibly hot and thereby surviving: highlights include zombie dogs, and Alice ripping a zombie’s head off with her thighs. No-one shoots the idiots who got bitten, so they take the opportunity to get bitten a few more times, just in case.

Through various glaring plot-holes, we follow our unlikely band of morons through various insane zombie encounters. The after-effects of the nerve gas are starting to wear off and Alice is taking the moral high-ground because she can’t remember that actually, pre-apocalyptic disaster, she wasn't actually in any position to do so. I’m not entirely clear on who was trying to sell out whom because I was too busy whining about the lack of zombies, but I’m fairly sure that being involved in selling a virus to the highest bidder makes you a bad guy under any circumstances. Alice later claims that she was trying to reveal what the big evil faceless corporation was up to and get them shut down (yay, anarchy!) but I maintain that… well, she’s just a moron.

Just as things are getting dull, a bizarre, almost humanoid alien thing with a long tongue turns up to petrify everyone out of their wits. Except it doesn’t, really. It does have claws that can rip through metal, though, so I should give it some credit. There’s more tension when people pretend to die and Alice still doesn’t shoot them, because she’s stupid and, as previously stated, has survived this long by being implausibly hot.

Maybe I’m cold and heartless, or maybe I’ve watched too many zombie movies, but seriously, I am not carrying around anyone who’s been bitten multiple times by the undead. If, at any point, someone who has been bitten by the undead appears to die, I am putting a bullet directly into his or her brain. Do not pass Go, etc.

For some reason, there’s a timer ticking down to something or other, more men in radiation suits show up, and the way is laid for a sequel to follow. Everyone in this movie is stupid. Paul W. S. Anderson may not be quite as horrific as Uwe Boll, but at least with good old Uwe we’d’ve got more spinning action shots and bullet time explosions. Some footage from the Resident Evil games might not’ve gone amiss, either. Apparently I’m supposed to turn my brain off to enjoy this movie, but I think that only works for people who’re sexually attracted to Milla Jovovich. Which, sadly, doesn’t include me.

Can somebody please make an intelligent zombie movie? Or, hell, an intelligent sci-fi movie? I know I don’t actually know anything about surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, but at least I wouldn’t be this utterly stupid. How many times did Alice plan on blindly running into rooms and slamming the door behind her only to find something worse lurked on the other side? How long did people plan on ignoring the fact that they were clearly infected by the zombie virus? HOW MANY TIMES CAN YOU SHOOT ZOMBIES BEFORE YOU REALISE YOU NEED A HEAD SHOT? I know the whole meta-text thing is getting tired, but it’d be nice if some characters could at some point demonstrate they’re not entirely ignorant of all pop culture since the beginning of time.

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