Review: “Resident Evil”

One of the better shoot ’em up games in computing history comes to the big screen in a way that is not only near unrecognisable, but also one of the most disappointing adaptations of a game ever – making last Summer’s lacklustre “Tomb Raider” look like art. The concept of the RE game allowed for an atmospheric setting in a huge mansion surrounded by an eerie forest. Director Anderson has completely changed the environment to a high tech lab which hasn’t helped much at all and certainly displays the films obvious “Aliens” ripoff quality even more overtly.

Whilst the two girls are the ones with the big credit names above the title, they’re somewhat disappointing. Jovovich always goes all out in a physical sense in her movies but her acting – whilst good still needs a little tweaking. Rodriguez, who rocked in “Girlfight”, phones in a performance which is along the lines of (if not weaker than) last year’s “The Fast and the Furious”.

The performances of James Purefoy & Eric Mabius, two actors I’ve been a fan of for years and who have yet surprisingly to really break through mainstream wise, do counterbalance the girls well as they seem to realise the cheesiness of the material more and play to it. The rest like Bond vet Colin Salmon are blank cannon fodder. Still, they’re all better than the baddies here – the zombies are very cheesy, aside from their reluctance to go down after being shot – its their relentlessness that proves the only creepy thing as their makeup is pure B-grade. Still, they’re better than the horrifically animated large creature that of course only shows up towards the end.

The film does have a handful of strengths. A sense of urgency is present throughout the proceedings and keeps things moving along, there’s an almost comically fun action scene involving zombie dobermans, and there’s the occasionally effective scare but certainly nowhere along the lines of Anderson’s far creepier “Event Horizon”. A likeable cast and fast pace can’t hide the very cobbled together script full of inconsistencies galore right from the start (why would a high biohazard facility like that have open vents everywhere?) and just the sheer flatness of the whole thing. Try the game instead.