I was there Gandalf, 3000 years ago when the movie Resident Evil took the world by storm. The early 2000s saw a number of movies that perfected the nineties formula for a successful, stylish and commercial horror movie. A horror movie that had strong science fiction and action elements, mind you. I keep thinking of Blade, a movie that came out just four years earlier. However, Resident Evil had two more things going for it. First of all, it was based on a very successful video game franchise. Oddly enough, I did not play any of the Resident Evil games. Mostly because I didn’t have a console but a PC.
More importantly, Resident Evil stars the one and only Milla Jovovich. And not just her as we also have Michelle Rodriguez. Add to this a sleek visual style with excellent special effects for that time and you got yourself a blockbuster. A blockbuster that would go on to become a fucking franchise with no less than five sequels. So, if you’re looking for a stylish guilty pleasure, you just found it. That’s two movie nights sorted in one fell swoop. I remember how much I was blown away by when it first came out. And I think a lot of my generation felt the same.
You’ve got hot girls, cool action scenes, big guns, juicy special effects, and freaking zombies, what more to want? Perhaps rogue AI, like in System Shock or Half-Life video games? You’ve got it. Or maybe you would like traps and juicy kills? I could go on and on but I think you get the point. Resident Evil was the right movie released at the right time.
Welcome to Racoon City, a sprawling high-tech settlement with many secrets. One of them is a research facility run by the Umbrella Corporation. Deep underground, they’re trying to perfect a special formula when something terrible happens. One of the viruses gets loose and starts turning people into zombies. Right in the middle of this mess, we find Alice, a young girl who will fight for her right to survive.
It also features a lot of memorable scenes, including the opening one with that blue vial slowly falling through the air until it eventually breaks. Then you have the ones with the zombie dogs and Milla Jovovich doing that run-up-the-wall slow-motion back kick. Although I think some of the viewers were more interested in the finale with her completely nude laying on a table in a brightly lit room.
Starting with a bang, Resident Evil is basically a fast-paced action movie. It’s not only based on a video but it also has a video game structure. This gives it an exciting atmosphere and makes for very satisfying storytelling. And makes it one of those movies you can watch again and again. Much like two other Paul W.S. Anderson movies of that time period, Event Horizon and Mortal Kombat.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies similar to Resident Evil you should check out Doom, Underworld, Silent Hill and Æon Flux starring Charlize Theron. If you watched these movies during their initial run you can also count on a lot of nostalgia for this, very different time in movie history.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Ryan McCluskey, Anna Bolt, James Purefoy, Jaymes Butler
Fun Facts: Milla Jovovich did all of her own stunts except the pipe jump in the sewer scene. She practiced for three months to get that run-up back kick just right.