Resident Evil (15)

Review by Jack Foley

THE phrase ‘based on the wildly popular video game series’ is surely enough to strike fear into the hearts of most movie-goers.

With the exception (maybe) of last year’s Tomb Raider, games console to big screen transfers have largely been flops, what with the likes of Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat and Streetfighter to contend with.

Now, however, audiences are faced with Resident Evil, based on Capcom’s lucrative franchise, and the results are as predictably awful as we have come to expect.

The movie stars Milla Jovovich (of Fifth Element fame) and Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious) and is directed by Paul WS Anderson - of Event Horizon/Mortal Kombat fame and not Magnolia.

But while it looks, feels and even sounds like the game, the film fails to engage on almost any level. The plot, as such, centres around a group of commandos who must enter a genetic research facility, known as The Hive, to tackle a deadly viral outbreak, which has turned the workers into zombies.

Also pitted against them is a renegade supercomputer system and, lurking in the shadows, the results of the genetic experiments which the Umbrella Corporation is so keen to hide.

Needless to say, it doesn’t take long for the majority of the commandos to get killed - courtesy of some nifty laser beams - leaving just a few, possibly infected, survivors to find a way out of the living nightmare.

Resident Evil was supposed to have been directed by George A Romero but when his vision for the movie was considered too violent, Anderson stepped in. The result is a hardware-fixated non-event movie which viewers will feel like pulling the plug on at an early stage.

Devoid of tension, thrills or genuine chills, and heavy on crappy dialogue, Resident Evil ambles along, provoking the odd bout of unintentional laughter on the way to its crass finale.

Jovovich makes for an attractive lead heroine (in the Angelina Jolie mode) but does very little to justify the billing, while Rodriguez (so promising in Girlfight) merely gets to look tough and spout bad lines. The rest of the cast sleepwalk through the proceedings much like the laughable zombies which are supposed to conjure fear.

This is one for the console junkies only; although it has also been said that watching someone play the game is more fun than seeing Anderson’s movie.