Resident Evil

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When a virus turns all the workers in a corporation’s HQ into ravenous zombies, a team of commandos must stop it spreading. But they didn’t expect a homicidal super-computer or a strange amnesiac woman, Alice.


Tomb Raider’s box office aside, computer game movies have had it tough. Double Dragon? Dross. Street Fighter? Dreck. Super Mario Bros.? Drossy dreck. Still, when Paul Anderson, a man equally adept at horror and videogames, signed on to direct Capcom’s zombie-fest classic, Resident Evil, a slam-dunk seemed assured. Emphasis on “seemed”.

On the surface this is Resident Evil: The Game writ large, complete with a hoary race-against-time plot, puzzles that wouldn’t tax the average two year-old, atrocious dialogue, Gameboy-level CG, creatures galore (hail the zombie dogs!) and extravagantly bad acting. Trouble is, it’s not a terribly good movie, with incoherent plotting and action scenes, and not one iota of the game’s spooky atmosphere (nor plot).

It also, predictably, suffers from the lack of interactivity. There’s nothing as frustrating as watching characters who’ve obviously never seen a zombie movie waste bullets by shooting the mothers in the chest, when you know to aim for the cranium.

If the zombies were up to scratch, much could be forgiven. However, a few feeble homages to George A. Romero aside, Anderson is clearly unwilling to follow in the guru’s bloody footsteps, relying on suggestion, not schlock.

Not only is the result less gory than its progenitor, but the zombies here resemble something Tom Savini could knock up in a lunch break.

It’s no surprise when Anderson resorts to desperate measures to snag the teenage boys who are Resident Evil’s lifeblood. Suffice it to say, this involves Jovovich’s effective heroine, very little clothing, even less dignity, and a beaver shot gratuitous enough to make Sharon Stone blush. Now you don’t see that in the games.

Game fans will be disappointed. Zombie fans will be disappointed. Paul Anderson’s fan will be disappointed. If you want scary, boot up your games console.