Resident Evil

By Josh Albrecht

There is just something cool about Milla Jovovich killing zombies.

And as a swarm of flesh-eating zombies surrounds her, and she says they’re everywhere, they really are everywhere.

Excessive amounts of zombies is Paul W.S. Anderson’s (“Event Horizon,” “Mortal Kombat”) blatant homage to pioneer zombie movies like “Dawn of the Dead.” Unlike the video game “Resident Evil” is based on, the zombies start as one or two and then quickly become a mass of nearly 50 flesh eaters.

Even the savviest of video game geeks couldn’t control that many zombies at once.

And neither can the movie’s characters.

After waking up from being knocked unconscious by nerve gas, Alice (Jovovich) finds herself with an acute case of memory loss, wandering around a gigantic mansion.

After a few of the many loud noises that make you jump even though you know they’re coming, a team of military operatives busts into the mansion and takes Alice, along with a cop who just sort of randomly appears (which doesn’t matter too much since it’s a horror movie), into what they call “The Hive.”

The Hive is a secret underground city below Raccoon City that’s the center of the Umbrella Corporation’s “highly illegal” bio-genetic engineering. It’s also where the lethal T-virus is being made.

As it turns out, the T-virus has been released into the ventilation system, killing everyone in The Hive and turning them into zombies, which prompts the super computer called the Red Queen to completely shut down the city. So the military operatives must find out what went wrong.

The plot for this movie sounds much more confusing than it really is and merely acts as the reason for a bunch of people to be attacked by zombies. The acting is what is to be expected from a horror/action movie, so don’t expect any Oscar buzz, but Jovovich does carry the movie.

The real thrill comes from Anderson’s directing. Viewers can tell that Anderson really loved making this movie. And he does a tremendous job of staying true to the video game.

He even uses the same camera angles as the game at times, and he is able to create the same eerie suspense through the use of music and then again through the use of silence the same way the game does. And much of the movie features the same type of creatures, like undead dogs and super zombies, that the game uses.

Much of the movie seems recycled, like it’s all been done before, yet Anderson’s directing somehow breathes new life into the zombie film genre. Perhaps that’s because instead of just a horror movie about people trying to escape zombies, this is just as much an action movie with plenty of scenes showcasing Alice’s martial arts expertise.

Her skills never are explained, but maybe she took a karate class at a community college once.

The script also was co-written by Anderson, who apparently is a lover of really bad one-liners. There’s a point in the movie where you wish the characters would just stop talking and focus on killing zombies while they try to find their way out.

And toward the end, the film has a hurried feel, as if Anderson had to cut down much of what he had wanted to do because of time or money constraints, which makes the climax suffer a little.

But nonetheless, the film is intense.

And a word to the wise: To kill a zombie, you must use blunt force to its head or sever its spinal column.