Thursday, October 20, 2011

Corporate Zombies

While certainly one of the most enduring of recent zombie franchises, I can't actually recommend the Resident Evil movies as "good." Based on the 1996 Capcon video game, director Paul W.S. Anderson's franchise starts in an underground facility known as The Hive, run by the evil Umbrella Corporation, which is working on creating bio-weapons for a corrupt government. The facility is overseen by a super-computer known as The Red Queen.* When a corporate thief breaks open a viral vial, he turns the facility's workers into a horde of hungry zombies and the corporation unleashes Alice* (Milla Jovovich -- who would eventually become Anderson's wife) to fight the monsters and the computer. Future "Lost" cast member Michelle Ridriguez and future "Ugly Betty" hottie Eric Mabius are along for the ride. The Hive is located deep beneath the fictional "Raccoon City." Really? Was "Beaverton" taken? Or how about "C*ntsville?" Too obvious? Honestly. I can't imagine a more ridiculous name for a city.

Anyway, the genetically superior Alice beats the odds and escapes the zombie horde, though nominal love interest Mabius is captured and mutated for the sequel, 2004's Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Oded Fehr (The Mummy) and Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong) co-star.

Alice, now super-powered by the T-virus, is sent back to rescue the daughter of the scientist who created the virus, a formerly crippled child who is infected similarly to Alice. Alice is forced to battle the mutated Nemesis and wins, though Raccoon City is destroyed by a nuclear air-strike. Not to worry, because Alice returns in Resident Evil: Extinction, in which she joins a caravan of survivors on their way to Las Vegas. Alice not only has super-strength, but psionic abilities, which she uses to stop an attack of zombie-crows and ingratiate herself among the survivors, led by "Heroes" alum, Ali Larter. Once they reach Vegas, Alice discovers another Umbrella facility, where hundreds of her clones lie waiting to be activated.  

Extinction is actually the last Resident Evil  movie Uncle P has bothered to see.  I suppose I'll get around to seeing last year's Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D when it shows up on basic cable (any day now) and next year's Resident Evil: Retribution a few months later.

While the Resident Evil movies obviously have many fans (thus the mounting sequels), I find them to be rather ridiculous action movies that use the sub-genre as a vehicle to feature Jovovich in increasingly ridiculous action sequences. I admit to loving the former model as Leeloo in Luc Besson's over-the-top Science Fiction film The Fifth Element, I refuse to say she's an actually good actress. And I don't imagine her appearance in the upcoming 3D version of The Three Musketeers will do anything to change that opinion. 2012 will see her reprise the role of Alice once more in Resident Evil: Retribution.

Much like junk food, the Resident Evil movies are sort of tasty going down but are empty calories when all is said and down. Stick with Romero and Russo for truly satisfying  Zombie fare. 

*I have no idea why they would sully Lewis Carroll's amazing nonsense novels in this way.

More, anon.

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