I’ve been waiting for this movie since the end of opening day for Resident Evil, when they left a big blatant hook for a sequel. And I waited. And I waited. Then there was a teaser preview that literally jerked my head toward the screen when I realized what they were advertising, but that was over a year ago. So naturally, when the time came, I ended up having to wait three days before I could finally go see it. Then again, this is a movie about dead people getting up and walking around, so maybe three days is appropriate.
I’m obviously a fanboy for both this kind of movie and for the Resident Evil console game series, so I’ll try to temper that. One thing I’m not a fanboy of is videogame-to-movie adaptations. I mean, I invariably go and see them, but then I almost as invariably bitch about how awful they were. (See Mortal Kombat or Super Mario Bros., say. Or more to the point, don’t. Really.) So I went into the original movie with lowered expectations, and was very pleasantly surprised by it being both an excellent zombie film in its own right as well as a pretty good adaptation; they avoided the trap of basing things too heavily on the game.
This time, as above, yeah, I had high expectations. And this time, they didn’t avoid the based on a game trap. Particularly, Jill Valentine and the Nemesis creature looked like they had been lifted straight out of the game. (The saving grace is that both looked perfect, not just like an attempt gone awry.) On the bright side, this is almost my only complaint with the movie. There was too much hand-to-hand combat for a scenario where being wounded by a zombie turns you into a zombie, and the combat they had was choppily edited.
Everything else about the movie was gravy, though. Good (if unoriginal) plot: Everybody is trapped in the city by the evil multinational pharmaceuticals corporation that fucked up and released an unstoppable viral zombie outbreak. The few survivors make alliances inside and outside the city in an attempt to find a way out. Meanwhile, an unstoppable mega-zombie (excuse me, biological weapons project) armed with a rocket launcher is stalking the people skilled enough to survive all the zombies and zombie Dobermans. Good acting, which is to say it was never quite overwrought with farcical camp drama, but also not overwrought with laughable attempts at real drama. And let’s not forget the randomly zombified topless dancers.
Basically, it comes down to the genre. If you like zombie movies, you should see this one. It’s a nice break from the remake mania that has plagued the last couple of years, even if it isn’t quite as scary as the first Resident Evil. If you don’t go for the particular zombie subgenre of horror, this is nowhere near enough horror movie to pull you in on its own. See Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead instead, as those are both brilliant character study pieces, with zombies merely as the backdrop. (Only original Romero will do.)
And if you don’t like horror movies at all, well, that’s just crazy talk. Honestly, I don’t even know what to do with information like that.
Added note for fetishists: No zombies were frozen in the filming of this picture.