Resident Evil

This 2002 video game movie is not to be confused with President Evil, though it is made with Trumpian levels of incompetence.

Resident Evil is a fittingly boring name for an utterly tedious action flick. In it, evil conglomerate the Umbrella Corporation releases a deadly toxin called the T-virus which turns all their staff into zombies. A similar programme is used by Argos. It’s not clear why an umbrella company would be so hell-bent on the destruction of the planet. Maybe they’re hoping people buy brollies to protect against acid rain. Really there’s no rhyme nor reason behind the Corporation’s plan, they’re just evil for evil’s sake. Like Steve Bannon. Right down to the decaying flesh.

It all makes about as much sense as the addition of social care to Jeremy Hunt’s role (because that’s what he needs, more responsibility), which would be fine if the film was halfway enjoyable. Instead it’s a long 40 minutes before the zombies show up, and even then the action is toothless and bland. It follows Alice (Milla “Schlocktakovich” Jovovich) and some people walking slowly from point A to point B in order to procure the antidote from the Hive. Not to be confused with Antidote by The Hives.

“Don’t worry about the smell, that’s just the resident evil.”

Paul W.S. Anderson introduces a video game style countdown that’s meant to make things exciting but really just lets you watch your brain cells trickle away in real time. Conveniently the time they have to escape the Hive also happens to be how long is left of the film and the average teenage boy’s attention span. This being his primary (and sole) consideration, Anderson gives Alice as little clothing as possible. At one point she wears nothing but two blank sheets. The script perhaps.

Alice’s face is equally blank thanks to a bafflingly inexpressive performance from Schlocktakovich, who was once in films as prestigious as Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin. Here she joins the Kate Mara school of acting, keeping the same vacant facial expression regardless of whether she’s watching her friends get eaten alive or jump-kicking a zombie dog in the face. Incidentally that is the movie’s only fun sequence. One wishes they’d let George A. Romero make the film as originally slated, until one remembers the quality of the movies he was making circa 2002.

So lazy is Anderson (even his name is a Matrix rip-off) that he never bothers to explain who anyone is, because they’re not characters at all. Just zombie food. I can’t even remember how many of them there are. If you told me all the characters were called Steven and all talked backwards I’d have to take your word for it. Only Michelle Rodriguez escapes with anything resembling dignity or a career.

His action as mindless as a zombie and his CGI as dodgy as an evil corporation, Anderson gives dumb action movies a bad name: Resident Evil.

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