Trying to ignore the videogame of Resident Evil (a collective rant).
Now, I love zombies and in the ninties there was one game to play, Resident Evil, but while I was terrible at survival horror games I was excellent at the puzzles and so I was present through each game untill the arctic type levels of Code Veronica, so I am prefacing my review of the Resident Evil series with one small fact, though I enjoy the movies I can not whole heartedly accept them as the same universe as the games, to me the movies have usurped the games I participated in.
And now onto the review, instead of reviewing each film seperate I will take the opportunity to provide a quick mini-review for each.
Underneath a mansion just outside Racoon City, an Umbrella research facility known as “The Hive” experiences an outbreak of the T-Virus, the advanced AI controlling The Hive seals the complex and proceeds to kill everything inside using the fire supression equipment.
Alice awakens inside the mansion with no memory of who she is or what she is doing there, she and Matt are captured by a bunch of commandos and taken through an underground rail system to The Hive where they find Spence who is also suffering from amnesia, it is revealed that all apart from Matt are employees of Umbrella and that the AI (The Red Queen) is the cause of Alice and Spence’s amnesia.
Upon entering The Hive, the group find their way to the Queen’s Chamber, the room housing the computer powering the Red Queen but the system is defended by a intricate laser grid which kills four of the seven Commandos, as Alice and one of the Commandoes enter the room housing the Queen, the computer manifests a hologram of a small girl and pleads with them not to deactivate her but the do so anyways and when the computer shuts down the emergency system opens all the doors allowing the reanimated staff and experiments free reign through the facility, in the initial battle two more of commandos are killed.
As they traverse The Hive Alice and Spence begin to regain their memory, Matt admits that he and his sister were attempting to steal a sample of the T-virus in order to expose Umbrella’s actions, Matt goes looking for his sister and Alice finds out she is not as weak as she imagined.
When Matt finds his sister he discovers she is infected and attacks him, Alice arrives just in time to save him, in order to find an exit, the survivors meet once more at the Queen’s chamber and have to switch her back on, the AI agrees to help and provides a route through the maintenance tunnels.
Alice remembers that there is an anti-virus but when the team get to the labratory they find all samples of the virus and anti-virus are gone, Spence recalls that he stole them and hid them upon the train, he traps everyone in a lab and proceeds to the train but before he can use the anti-virus he is killed by a Licker.
The Red Queen offers to spare Alice and Matt if they kill the last commando whom has been infected for too long and has no chance of being saved with the anti-virus but the power goes out and the Red Queen has been permanently disabled.
The survivors head for the train but before they can escape they’re attacked by the Licker who kills one of them, the last commando turns zombie and Matt kills her, in the struggle the Licker claws Matt before being dragged under the train through a trap door.
Matt and Alice escape the train but Matt begins to mutate due to the Lickers attack, but before Alice can give him the anti-virus the mansion doors burst open and Umbrella Corp scientists burst in, restraining Alice and Matt they’re seperated and taken away separately.
The movie starts with Alice recalling the events of the previous movie, ending with the team of scientists reopening the hive after her capture, thus allowing the infection to reach the town of Racoon City, Umbrella have since created a security checkpoint around the city to keep the infected citizenry inside.
After the Hive, Alice has some how staved off the zombie infection, instead she has become superhuman, having escaped the hospital Alice arms herself and enters the city.
At the only bridge out of the City, Umbrella are taking time evacuating the uninfected but as the virus begins running through the crowd the exit is closed and the civilians are turned back towards the city.
A group of Mercenaries under the paycheck of Umbrella end up teaming up with members of the STARS unit and attempting to hold off a group of the undead but they are overwhelmed and fall back, while Jill and a group of survivors lock themselves inside a church full of Lickers, being rescued by a gun toting Alice at the last minute.
Umbrella deploy a Nemesis unit (Matt from the previous movie) to kill all members of the STARS unit.
Doctor Ashford (a scientist working for Umbrella) refuses to be extracted untill his daughter has been found, he finds out she is hiding out at school, the doctor tells Alice and co that Umbrella plan to nuke the city but offers to save everyone if they rescue his daughter.
After finding the daughter, Alice is given the location of the extraction point but beore she gets there Major Cain takes Doctor Ashford hostage and uses him to force Alice to fight Nemesis, during the fight Alice recognises that the Nemesis is Matt and refuses to deliver a finishing blow, the mercy shown evokes an almost humane response from the Nemesis unit who turns against the Umbrella troops allowing Alice and co enough time to escape.
As Alice escapes in the helicopter, the city is nuked and the shockwave forces the helicopter to crash into a mountain, Alice is impaled upon a metal spike and recovered by Umbrella troops, weeks later she awakens in a vat of liquid, her injuries healed she is questioned by Dr. Isaacs on her past, initially she appears to have no memory but eventually she recalls everything.
Alice fights her way out of the institution and ends up out-manned only to be rescued by Jill and the other Racoon City survivors, but as they drive her away Dr. Isaac is shown to say “Program Alice Activated” which cuts to a close up of Alice’s eye flashing the Umbrella logo.
Opening much like the first movie, showing Alice awakening in the mansion, running a gauntlet of defensive obstacles, eventually Alice is killed, only for the body to be taken and dumped outside in a ravine, the body falling onto a broken mass of Alices, each one a clone of the real Alice, a mass of zombies are attempting to gain entrance to the facility.
It is five years after the events of Apocalypse, the world is overrun and Alice is in the wastelands of the United States, with superhuman abilities she has been surviving under Umbrella’s radar all the while Dr. Isaacs has been trying to convince the Umbrella Corp that he needs Alice’s blood to create a cure.
Claire Redfield heads a convoy full of Racoon City survivors and new faces, the convoy gets attacked b infected crows who swarm and over power the convoy nearly killing everyone, Alice appears and using psionic powers to take the flame from an out of control flame thrower and burn the crows.
Alice tells Claire about an infection free area in Alaska, but the group needs supplies first and head to vegas.
The Umbrella Corp have tracked Alice through her use of her powers and send a cargo container of new improved zombies to ambush the survivors, most of the convo become infected or killed in the ensuing battle, the Corp try shutting Alice down but she breaks their grip of her, she locates Dr. Isaacs and he becomes infected s he tries to escape, Alice uses Isaacs computer to find the location of Umbrella’s secret lab.
The group find Umbrella’s facility surrounded by a horde of zombies, one of the survivors is beyond the use of a cure and so runs into the wall of undead and sets off an explosive charge, Claire and survivors yse a helicopter to escape while Alice goes off to finish the job.
Isaac is killed but mutates beyond a zombie, mutant Isaacs kills everyone in the facility but is locked down by the buildings AI,upon entering the facility Alice meets the White Queen, the opposite to the AI she met in the first movie, the computer tells her that Alices blood is key to the cure and that she has Isaac trapped.
Alice agrees to kill Isaacs but on the way she sees a clone of herself who dies moments after “birth”, Alice and Isaacs fight rampages through the facilty ending up in the laser corridor, the grid activates and kills Isaacs but a clone stops the trap just in time to save Alice.
In Tokyo, Wesker is in talks with the Umbrella board, informing them that North America has been lost, Alice appears in place of the North American chair and tells the board that she is coming for them, behind her all the clone pods are opening.
After Extinction, Alice sends her army of clones to kill Wesker in Japan but he escapes and detonates a bomb that destroys Tokyo and the clones, Alice ambushes her but he uses a serum to remove her powers, he reveals that his abilities have surpassed hers, but before he can kill her the aircraft crashes, six months later Alice is following a transmission broadcasting the Alaskan sanctuary known as Arcadia.
On her search she runs into Claire Redfield who is being controlled by an Umbrella device, Alice manages to remove the device but finds Claire has lost portions of her memory.
The pair fly to LA where they find a small group of survivors in a prison, learning that Arcadia is a moving cargo tanker that provides relief to survivors, they plan an alternate route to Arcadia due to the plane only holding two people, the survivors show a prisoner to Alice and Claire, he is Chris, Claires brother but she can not remember him and leaves him locked up.
The undead find a way through the sewers, Alice frees Chris and they manage to fight their way through the sewers, they find their way to Arcadia finding a working but abandoned ship, exploring the depths of the ship they find that the ship is infact a trap by Umbrella to find new ninfected humans to test on.
In the deepest levels of the ships bowels, Alice finds Wesker who appears to be at war with the T-Virus infection within himself, Wesker believes that by consuming Alice he will master the infection, Wesker’s use of cannibalism has scared off the rest of the ship’s crew.
Wesker battles Alice, Claire and Chris, he is killed but regenerates and escapes in a helicopter but Alice has hidden a bomb on the helicopter, it blows up but unseen by the group, a parachute descends.
Alice decides to turn Arcadia into the haven it was originally intended.
The Resident Evil series is a good staple of the modern zombie movie, featuring suspence and action, a good amount of kills and more, the concept is good. An unscruplous corporation uses humans as subjects in it’s experiments in biological weapons research, the exectution goes well, we’re presented a universe in which things slowly become clear, first with the original movie, as we follow Alice as she regains her memory and through out the later movies as we see the extent of the damage done and the world crumbling before our eyes.
But it isn’t all fun and games, the movie does leave me with quite a bit of disappointment, most imprtantly (to me at least) at the end of the second and third movie, we are given moments designed to create suspense and excitement, namely when the Umbrella Logo flashes in Alice’s eyes and when we see the legion of Alice clones, but when we get to the next movie these things are shrugged off.
It often seems as though from movie to movie the ideas are changing but instead of adapting their established arcs, the writers just drop the points.
I also find it annoying that in the third movie, Isaacs tells us that Alice’s blood is needed to create a cure, then in the opening of the fourth movie they cure Alice of the infection, I can understand that as Alice grows stronger her godlike powers get somewhat unrealistic, but instead of just turning around and increasing the challenges that she must face, they reboot her effectively, but if they had a cure to the virus (and be under no doubt, Alice was infected with a variant of the T-virus) then why can it not be used for the other infections? It really doesn’t make sense to me that they can cure Alice when befor she was so crucial in creating a cure, but then I also don’t understand how the Alice clones all share her unique gifts, I also fail to see how Alice still seems to be super powered after she has the T-virus removed.
But depite what I consider to be logical fallacies, inaccuracies and down right bad writing, the series is decent enough to watch if you don’t take it too seriously.
I also have to wonder how the undead are still moving after 18 months, the decomposition after a month should make movement untennable.
Resident Evil, the series of live action movies scores a seven sequels for style but five for substance, as always out of ten on the geekenscale.
Originally written on a previous incarnation of Geekenbrau.
Content remains identical however article titles have been changed.