Film Franchise Reviews Video Vices

Video Vices Franchise Frenzy: Resident Evil

Over its 24 year history, the Resident Evil game series has become one of the most influential games ever made spawning a horde of sequels, imitators and duplicators. It continues to set the bar for the survival-horror genre.  

As far as film franchises go, Resident Evil is one of the most consistent ones out there. None of the instalments are total flops in any way.

Inspired by his success with the first Mortal Kombat film and being a big fan of horror grandmaster George R. Romero and his Dead movies, Paul W. S. Anderson set to work on a screenplay which would eventually become the original Resident Evil film.

Anderson would continue spearheading the entire series from Resident Evil in 2002 to the Final Chapter in 2016. Not only did Resident Evil led Anderson to a gig directing and writing Alien versus Predator and other video game movies including Dead or Alive and Monster Hunter but Anderson also married Resident Evil’s star Milla Jovovich who would evolve into the captivating and kick ass series lead, the reoccurring Alice. The crappy part is that when there is a discussion about female heroes in film Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, The Bride from Kill Bill are always mentioned but Alice, who starred in six movies, is forgotten about.

Mirroring the videos games it is based on, not all of the Resident Evil movies have been a success but with a Netflix television series on the horizon, the Resident Evil mythos has a lot of life left in them beyond the video game screen.

Resident Evil

Tag Line:Survive The Horror
Release Date:2002
Director:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Producers:Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Bernd Eichinger and Samuel Hadida.
Written By:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast:Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Ryan McCluskey.
Running Time:1 hour and 40 minutes.

A deadly virus is released in an underground laboratory known as the Hive turning anyone or anything infected by it into drooling, shambling, flesh-eating zombies. The first Resident Evil film takes place entirely in that compromised facility owned and operated by the devious and dastardly Umbrella Corporation.

Led by the mysterious Alice (Milla Jovovich), our heroes attempt to investigate and possibly contain the lethal outbreak. Contain the outbreak? Heck, no. What would the fun in that be?

Alice evolves during the subsequent films as Resident Evil becomes Jovovich’s calling card and essentially her series. With that though comes the burden of carrying Resident Evil on her shoulders but she has lots of help from her co-stars and the special effects department. In the first film we don’t learn a lot about Alice as she suffers from a very conveniently plotted amnesia. All that we do know is that Alice and her hubby live in a mansion much like Wayne Manor and like the Dark Knight of Gotham City, their home secretly serves as the entrance to a clandestine facility, in this case, Umbrella’s Hive.

Alice is joined by a team of Umbrella commandos who have been sent to secure the facility and one of them is Michelle Rodriguez as Rain Ocampo. She and Jovovich dominate the film and the action as they kick zombie and human ass in equal measure.

Standing in the way are not only zombies and zombie dogs (a nod to the video game series) and The Red Queen, an artificial intelligence controling every aspect of the Hive from the security systems to the computer to the life support. Her avatar is a young girl based on the daughter of the Umbrella programmer who designed and programmed The Queen.

The Red Queen can be as cruel as she is sneaky. The laser trap in the film’s most notorious scene proves that she is merciless to her very core.

Setting the table for the sequel and as another nod to the video games, Resident Evil briefly introduces Nemesis providing an intriguing origin story for one of Alice’s greatest enemies.

Although Resident Evil is inspired and borrows from Romero’s Dead series and 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as every nineties action film you can think of, Paul W. S. Anderson not only honours the source material but he puts his own stamp on it introducing his own twists and turns to the mythology and continues to do so in the other films. The original Resident Evil is a bloody good time and one of the best entries in the franchise.

Gravestonesbodybagssm People are splattered in an elevator accident.
bodybagssm Three scientists drown in their own lab.
bodybagssm Eight dogs and eight men die.
bodybagssm SIxteen are poisoned.
bodybagssm Head crushed by elevator door,
bodybagssm Six die in another elevator accident.
bodybagssm Laser beam to the head.
bodybagssm Laser beam to the hand.
bodybagssm Chopped in half by laser beam.
bodybagssm Sliced into pieces by laser beam.
bodybagssm Two necks broken.
bodybagssm Three zombie heads stomped.
bodybagssm Bitten, torn apart by zombies.
bodybagssm Zombie stabbed in head.
bodybagssm Seven zombie dogs shot to death.
bodybagssm One zombie dog kicked through a window.
bodybagssm Zombie’s head bashed in.
bodybagssm Six zombies take shotgun blasts to the head.
bodybagssm Zombies gobble two humans.
bodybagssm Electrified.
bodybagssm Axe to the head.
bodybagssm Transformed into a zombie.
bodybagssm Handgun to the head.
bodybagssm Train track electrocution.
bodybagssm City residents infected by virus, become zombies.
Naughty Bitsplucked_penguinSome quick glimpses of female nudity.
Memorable DialoguedialoguesmRed Queen: You’re all going to die down here.
dialoguesmAlice: That homicidal bitch may be our only way out of here.
dialoguesmKaplan: Bitch wouldn’t open the door so I had to fry her.
dialoguesmRed Queen: I’ve been a bad, bad girl.
Pints of Blood  / 5bloodsmbloodsmbloodsm
Rating 4couches

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Tag Line:My Name Is Alice And I Remember Everything
Release Date:2004
Director:Alexander Witt.
Producers:Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody.
Written By:Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast:Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Eric Mabius.
Running Time:1 hour and 34 minutes.

Alice leaves the Hive, heads out into the outside world and quickly finds out that everything has truly gone to hell. Raccoon City is a burning. The infection is spreading. The Umbrella Corporation has the city on lockdown. Nobody is getting in and more importantly nobody is getting out.

We are introduced to a new cast of characters including Sienna Guillory who plays Jill Valentine, one of the heroes from the video game series. There is also news anchor-turned- weather reporter Terri Morales (Sandrine Holt) who sees the outbreak as a career defining opportunity and Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) an Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service operative who has turned his back on the company after witnessing their dirty deeds in Racoon City firsthand. Carlos and Jill in particular become reoccurring characters, although their allegiances can and do change at times.

Alice and her new pals accept a mission of mercy agreeing to rescue and escourt the daughter of a high-level Umbrella scientist (Sophie Vavasseur as Angie Ashford) out of Raccoon City in exchange for their own freedom.

It is bad enough that Alice and her new zombie extermination crew have the undead to deal with but there is a far greater threat on Alice’s heels: Nemesis. Nemesis is an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction, a bio weapon originally created as the new prototype soldier.

Toronto stands in for the fictional Racoon City and features many recognizable landmarks including a big final boss battle between Alice and Nemesis which takes place at City Hall located in the downtown core.

Apocalypse suffers greatly though from Paul W.S. Anderson handing over the directing duties to Alexander Witt, who is a director of photography and had never directed a feature film before and it shows. As of 2021, Apocalypse remains as the only film he has ever directed and one can see why. The frequent use of slo-mo and techniques you would see in music videos or television commercials brings the entire film down, reducing the quality especially when compared to the original.

The action scenes are what count the most in a film like this and Witt’s are decent enough but not outstanding or stylish in any way. For the entry that heralds the debut of Nemesis, Apocalypse should have been more polished and better than it ended up being.

Gravestonesbodybagssm Police officers, news crew, scientists, soldiers besieged, eaten and otherwise killed by zombies.
bodybagssm Residents of Raccoon City infected, become zombies.
bodybagssm Gamma 12 creature run over.
bodybagssm Two Lickers killed by explosions and shotgunned.
bodybagssm 13 zombies shot to death.
bodybagssm Citizen commits suicide by jumping off a building.
bodybagssm Licker squashed by a gigantic cross.
bodybagssm Zombie takes a knife to the head.
bodybagssm Three zombies blown up by grenades.
bodybagssm Sniper blown to pieces by bazooka.
bodybagssm MA-39 Cerberus killed by shotgun.
bodybagssm Zombie has their neck snapped.
bodybagssm Two security guards killed by throwing knives.
bodybagssm Two security guards have their necks snapped.
bodybagssm Shotgun to the chest.
bodybagssm Helicopter pilot and their helicopter blown up by bazooka.
bodybagssm Creature killed by crashing helicopter.
bodybagssm Nuclear missile kills almost everyone left in Raccoon City.
bodybagssm Impaled on metal pole.
bodybagssm Security guard electrocuted.
bodybagssm Security guard’s head, mind is crushed by telekinesis.
Naughty Bitsplucked_penguinTwo zombie hookers are shown topless.
plucked_penguin Alice is seen naked in a healing chamber.
Memorable DialoguedialoguesmL.J.: Yeah! Ten points!
dialoguesmAlice: My name is Alice and I remember everything.
dialoguesmJill Valentine: Who the fuck are you?
Pints of Blood  / 5bloodsmbloodsmbloodsm
Rating couches_3out5

Resident Evil: Extinction

Tag Line:All Bets Are Off
Release Date:2007
Director:Russell Mulcahy.
Producers:Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Bernd Eichinger and Samuel Hadida.
Written By:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast:Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Oded Fehr.
Running Time:1 hour and 34 minutes.

If you put Day of the Dead and Mad Max in a cinematic blender, Resident Evil: Extinction is what you would get.

Umbrella was not able to contain that tricky Tyrant Virus after all. It has escaped out into wild and has infected the entire globe. Umbrella employees are hiding out in underground bunkers while mankind struggles to survive in the world they ravaged. Wandering around America like Kane in Kung Fu on her trusty motorcycle, Alice is a traveling good Samaritan lending a hand to anyone she can while learning to control her new-found telekinetic powers.

Apocalypse introduces Claire Redfield, another lead character from the video game series. Claire, is a former police officer leading a convoy of survivors to what they hope is a better life in Alaska. Claire – played by Ali Larter from Heroes and Final Destination – relies on her right-hand man, the returning Oded Fehr as Carlos Olivera, to clear their path to freedom of zombies and a flock of murderous crows that descend upon the convoy in a wicked segment.

Alice and Carlos reunite just in time to uncover an evil scientist’s plan to domesticate the living dead just like eggheads tried to do in Day of the Dead from the comfort of their underground bunker. Just like in Day, things go very badly, very quickly, leaving Claire, Carlos and Alice to clean up Umbrella’s mess.

Paul W.S. Anderson is back into the fold as a director and writer. His presence makes all the difference bring the series back to greatness. Not only is Extinction one of the best films in the series but it stands solidly on its own as a sensational action-horror film even though it has a very western feel to it.

Gravestonesbodybagssm Shot in the stomach and chest.
bodybagssm Crushing kick to the head.
bodybagssm Zombie dog impaled on a pipe.
bodybagssm Zombie dog’s head crushed.
bodybagssm Zombie dog’s neck snapped.
bodybagssm Nine humans ravaged by zombies.
bodybagssm 16 zombies sliced and diced with machetes.
bodybagssm Zombie splattered by a truck.
bodybagssm Zombie takes a crossbow bolt to the head.
bodybagssm Zombie shot to pieces with an M4 carbine.
bodybagssm Zombie devours two scientists.
bodybagssm Four humans pecked to death by mutant crows.
bodybagssm Zombie’s neck snapped.
bodybagssm 12 zombies get shotgunned and handgunned.
bodybagssm Human dies in a fall.
bodybagssm Three security guards die.
bodybagssm Three scientists and a photographer die.
bodybagssm Death by tentacles.
bodybagssm Horde of zombies and a human die in a fiery explosion.
bodybagssm The Umbrella security laser system claims yet another victim.
Naughty Bitsplucked_penguinBits and pieces of Alice in various scenes but the naughty bits are strategically covered up.
Memorable DialoguedialoguesmAlice: I knew your sister. She was a homicidal bitch.
dialoguesm Alice: You won’t have to wait that long, boys, because I’m coming for you and I’m going to be bringing a few of my friends.
dialoguesmSlater: No, just die. 
dialoguesmAlice: No, you’re just another asshole.
Pints of Blood  / 5bloodsmbloodsmbloodsm bloodsm
Rating  4couches

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Tag Line:Experience A New Dimension In Evil
Release Date:2010
Director:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Producers:Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Bernd Eichinger and Samuel Hadida.
Written By:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller.
Running Time:1 hour and 36 minutes.

If Extinction was the Mad Max installment of the Resident Evil series then Afterlife is the Matrix chapter. Easily the most stylistic of the bunch, Afterlife’s plot though is as basic as they come. Alice runs into another group of outbreak survivors. This time they are holed up in a prison surrounded by legions of hungry zombies. After they went their separate ways, Alice and Claire are reunited only this time it is Claire who cannot remember anything about her past.

Insert some more Umbrella shenanigans, some very evolved zombies and Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller as Claire’s brother Chris in the most obvious in-joke in cinematic history and you have a very paint-by-numbers chapter that is elevated slightly by lots and lots of Matrix-style scenes and design. Still, Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy, Bad Blood) is wasted here in his role as the slimy-selfish-Night of the Living Dead’s Harry Cooper trope we have seen in so many survivor films and TV series.

Besides the stylistic elements the only other good thing about Afterlife is that Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), the lead villain in the video game series, finally emerges from the shadows, rises to become Alice’s most formidable nemesis yet. Resident Evil: Afterlife, you will come for the monsters and gore, stay for the Matrix stylings.

Gravestonesbodybagssm Umbrella soldiers dies in large numbers due to an assault on their compound.
bodybagssm A massive bomb is detonated killing scores of people.
bodybagssm A pack of zombie dogs get sent to their maker.
bodybagssm A zombie rips someone apart.
bodybagssm A human shoots another human.
bodybagssm The Axeman chops someone in half.
bodybagssm Alice wipes out The Axeman and scores of zombies.
bodybagssm A human is eaten.
Naughty Bitsplucked_penguinNone.
Memorable DialoguedialoguesmAlice: I think technically it’s called crashing.
dialoguesmAlbert Wesker: Well, this is a pleasant surprise.
dialoguesmAlice: I’m not on the menu.
dialoguesm Albert Wesker: I’m what you used to be. Only better.
Pints of Blood  / 5bloodsmbloodsm
Rating  couches_3out5

Resident Evil: Retribution

Tag Line:The Ultimate Battle Begins
Release Date:2012
Director:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Producers:Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody, Samuel Hadida and Robert Kulzer.
Written By:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez.
Running Time:1 hour and 30 minutes.

From start to finish, Retribution is one big mind fuck..and a lot of it just doesn’t make much sense. The battle between the rebels (for lack of a better term) and Umbrella has become an all-out war.

Alice finds an unlikely ally in Albert Wesker and another Umbrella agent Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) who are a bit perturbed that the Red Queen and her entranced minion Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) have launched a hostile takeover of Umbrella.

The film shifts in and out of reality and what we are told are “test environments”, virtual cities, that Alice and Ada must travel, battle through to meet up with a rescue group led by another hero from the games: Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb). Why bad ass Alice, who has a wicked new battle suit, even needs a rescue team to save her is never explained.

You would think since they are virtual environments with virtual enemies that don’t really exist that human beings cannot be injured or killed but they can and are. The laws of the virtual world don’t make sense and in turn neither does much of the movie.

The fight scenes are up to par, many of them incredibly intricate and elaborate as Alice fights the usual zombies, Umbrella lackeys, an AxeMan from the games and a really big, really nasty Licker.

Retribution has its moments but it is still one of the weaker entries in the franchise and the unnecessary mindgames don’t help.

Gravestonesbodybagssm Attack on an aircraft carrier
bodybagssm Three soldiers shot
bodybagssm Impaled on a staircase
bodybagssm Three eaten by zombies
bodybagssm Ten zombies shot
bodybagssm 87 humans shot
bodybagssm Two zombies have their necks snapped
bodybagssm Two killed by a massive explosion
bodybagssm Soldier crushed by a car
bodybagssm Solider killed by a harpoon
bodybagssm Chainsaw death
bodybagssm A creature and then two soldiers run over by a car
bodybagssm Neck breaks in a fall.
bodybagssm Eaten by a Licker.
bodybagssm Killed by a grenade.
bodybagssm Death by a punch to the chest
bodybagssm Pulled underwater by zombie swarm
Naughty Bitsplucked_penguinNone
Memorable DialoguedialoguesmThe Red Queen: Project Alice, you’re all going to die down here.
dialoguesmBarry Burton: I’m kind of enjoying myself!
dialoguesmAlice: Waiting for a written invitation?
Pints of Blood  / 5bloodsmbloodsmbloodsm bloodsm
Rating  couches_3out5

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Tag Line:Back to the Hive
Release Date:2016
Director:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Producers:Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer and Samuel Hadida.
Written By:Paul W.S. Anderson.
Cast:Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter.
Running Time:1 hour and 47 minutes.

With only 4,472 people left living in the world it is the final battle between Alice and The Umbrella Corporation.

Alice returns to where it all began, Raccoon City and The Hive, to enact a plan to rescue what remains of the human race. With Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) riding shotgun and another band of misfits which includes Ruby Rose as Abigail, Alice has her showdown with Umbrella, Dr. Alexander Isaacs, The Red Queen and all of their flunkies.

We finally learn about Umbrella’s origins and like many things in life it was a venture with the greatest intensions in mind, an endeavour that was supposed to make the world a better place for everyone not bring it to its knees.

Alice is on the clock. She only has 24 hours to release an “anti-virus” into the world which will not only protect the survivors but will turn everyone affected by the Tyrant Virus back to normal. The Red Queen has booby-trapped the Hive so our heroes face one deadly trap after another along with zombies, zombie dogs and those Umbrella soldiers. Not everyone survives that final push.

The Final Chapter really isn’t that final as the film ends in a way in which Alice could head off on more adventures if the producers wished to add more chapters to her story. The film is the least gory of the series with the attention directed to more action movie violence than horror movie violence. If this is truly Alice’s farewell, her goodbye and the end of the series is a satisfying finale that epitomizes all that was amazing about one of the most underrated and entertaining film franchises.

Gravestonesbodybagssm Kid zombies kiled.
bodybagssm Choked out with a plastic bag.
bodybagssm Winged creature blown up with a well-placed mine.
bodybagssm Head chopped off.
bodybagssm Shotgunned and neck broken.
bodybagssm Eaten by zombies.
bodybagssm Entire tank crew killed.
bodybagssm Horde of zombies crushed by falling rubble.
bodybagssm Three people mauled.
bodybagssm One person ripped apart.
bodybagssm More zombies shotgunned.
bodybagssm Tied to a tank and eaten by zombies.
bodybagssm Nine zombie dogs killed.
bodybagssm Human eaten by zombie dog.
bodybagssm A zombie is crushed, another is stabbed to death.
bodybagssm Chopped up by a huge fan.
bodybagssm Humans killed in a fall.
bodybagssm Zombie bite to the head.
bodybagssm Five zombies shot.
bodybagssm Grenade kill.
bodybagssm Zombie eats a human for lunch.
bodybagssm Two fire deaths.
Naughty Bitsplucked_penguinNone
Memorable DialoguedialoguesmAlicia Marcus: Albert Wesker, you’re fired.
dialoguesmDr. Isaacs: Ah, how touching. The trinity of bitches, united in their hatred.
dialoguesmAlice: My name is Alice and this is my story. The end of my story.
dialoguesmAlice: Sometimes I feel like this has been my whole life. Running. Killing.
Pints of Blood  / 5bloodsmbloodsm bloodsm
Rating  4couches

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