ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  paul w.s. anderson

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  Sci-fi

LENGTH  -  100 minutes

RELEASED  -  15 march 2002

DISTRIBUTOR  -  columbia pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  resident evil

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $33,000,000
resident evil - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from resident evil at

buy the dvd from resident evil at

a special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.

this film was originally titled "resident evil: ground zero," but the title was changed to just "resident evil" after the september 11 attacks.


picture from resident evil

picture from resident evil

picture from resident evil


two out of four possible stars

A B-Movie in the classic sense of the word, Resident evil fails to turn around the standard conventions of the sci-fi or horror genres and as a result, has only kick-ass quotient of its lead females stars to recommend it. But kick ass they do, and as Milla Jovovich and Michelle Roderiguiz run across the screen, guns in hand and expletive deletions flying out of their mouths, the separation between the classic male action hero and his woman counterpart is closed a bit. Which bodes well for the action genre in general, as it is bound to increase the female attendants in the audience. Though aside from this twist on the familiar action film set-up, this film hits most of the familiar points.

Feminine nudity, a few dense characters, and the required "knocking off" of the cast one by one. All these familiar conventions can be found in Resident Evil. Now, if a film can be considered successful by adhering to what people expect of it, than this film will win in spades. There's nothing about this film that will surprise the audience. It's business as usual for this film and it even takes a few large cues from a few famous and obvious examples. The first parallel can be seen in the strong resemblance to John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars. Both films deal with a violent batch of the undead and both star a group of military people charged with getting the situation under control. And both include powerful females in the lead roles.

If Resident Evil hadn't been based on a video game that's been in release for more than a couple of years, it wouldn't be hard to believe that Paul Anderson took a few ideas from Carpenter's movie. The two are about as much alike as are The Fast and the Furious and Point Break. films that actually mix the same genres: sci-fi and horror. Now, these two types of genres can easily compliment one another. Just look at the success of the Alien films. Even the classic, if not well made "Jason" horror series has taken its tenth film into the future, mixing the horror with a little bit of science fiction. But although this film has a large dose of the usual in it, that might be one of its selling points. People who like this type of sci-fi gore will be pleased that the film includes everything it should.

In point of fact, considering the amount of gore in this film, the fans of the video game will be especially pleased, given how violent those games have been. "Resident evil" the video game has made a name for itself in the creation of a fairly violent set of characters and situations. But still, for all the success of the video game, this movie falls into the class of "good B-movie thriller" easier than anything else. Just to drive that point home, the filmmakers leave the ending of the film quite open to a sequel and the start of a franchise. If the video game's got fifty versions, why can't the movie? In any case, there's a lot of horror and violence in this film and not too much brain.

Even action films can benefit from some smarts. A "deeper meaning" or a quick script or a unique set of cinematographic moves can improve the amount of appeal this film might have to a wider audience. As bad as it sounds, this film sometimes appears to be a straight adaptation from video game to big screen. Seeing this film on a fifteen-inch computer monitor would not decrease the value of its cinematography in the least. Filmed with standard action cues and a minimum of interesting angles, the creative juices probably weren't flowing when the camera operator flipped the switch on the Panavision.

But in considering these faults, it's an inescapable fact that Milla Jovovich and Michelle Roderiguiz kick a lot of undead butt and are probably the one reason to see this film. Whether it's seen on the big screen or not really doesn't matter. Standard horror conventions and predictability aside, these two women have a commanding presence on the screen. The audience will know what's in store for these characters long before anything happens. To enjoy this film the audience must leave their brain at the door, appreciate some feminine muscle, and hope that the filmmakers will have something more intelligent up their sleeves the next time around. Which, is inevitable, since sequel talks were on the table at Sony even before this film was released.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs columbia pictures 2002
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