Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Resident Evil (4 Stars)

Today is the first time I've seen this film since it was shown on television shortly after being released, about ten years ago. I couldn't remember much about it, except that it's a zombie film, and I don't like zombie films. Or at least, usually I don't. Ten years ago I used to hate zombie films, but now I'm more open-minded, and I judge each film on its own merits. This is in contrast to vampire films, which I love. Vampires are much sexier than zombies.

The film is based on a video game made in 1996. I've never played this game, but while watching the film I could get a sense of game-playing logic being applied, suggesting that the film follows the game closely. What I mean is that it was apparent that puzzles were being solved to progress deeper into a virtual labyrinth, a typical feature of strategy games.

A woman called Alice wakes up in a mansion suffering from amnesia. She is attacked and overpowered by an unknown man who enters the mansion, claiming to be a policeman. Before they can talk a group of soldiers come who capture the man and free Alice, saying that she is one of them. Together they venture into an underground lair, The Hive, in which the computer system has "gone homicidal" and killed everyone. With some effort, including loss of life, the soldiers manage to shut down the computer system, only to learn that it was not malfunctioning after all; it had attempted to kill everyone in The Hive in order to prevent the spreading of a deadly virus. The foolish action of the soldiers results in the unleashing of the virus.

Enter the zombies.

Watching it a second time today, the film made a good impression on me. I enjoyed the fast action, which rarely let up. I know the film has been criticised for the lack of character development. In particular, the lead character Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, walks around with the soldiers as a seemingly superfluous hanger on, looking like she is only in the film as eye candy. When her memory begins to return the film has progressed too far to be slowed down so that we can get to know her. This doesn't bother me much. I enjoyed the action, and even though I don't find Milla overly attractive her red dress is a welcome splash of colour in the otherwise dark scenes. For me the outstanding actors are Colin Salmon and Michelle Rodriguez, the soldiers One and Rain. Colin is one of the best actors I know, who never fails to bring quality and distinction into every role he plays. Michelle is a skilled actress, and she also makes it into my revised list of the world's most beautiful actresses.

I've already decided to watch the other Resident Evil films. Watch this space.

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