Plot: What’s it about?
The Hive is a high-tech lab where viral research is done to enhance bio-weapons, the kind of stuff no one wants to experience first hand. The compound is state of the art and is run by a super computer, which means there is little room for human error, which is good, since this place houses viral toxins that could end mankind. But when someone looses a dangerous virus in The Hive, even the cutting edge lockdown methods and security measures can’t promise a safe end to the tense situation. This is just what happens when a virus is leaked into the atmosphere and while the computer enacts a total system lockdown, even then it will take a small miracle to ensure the continued safety of the world. A special military team is sent in to neutralize the threat, but with only three hours and some unexpected problems, that could be asking them to make the impossible a reality. The workers have been infected by the virus and turned into the walking dead, wanting nothing else but human flesh. Can even the elite team sent in manage to overcome this situation, or is the world doomed to be flooded with the undead?
The realm of video games holds a lot of material with motion picture potential, but the move to the big screen hasn’t often been a smooth one. So even with a title as popular and acclaimed as Resident Evil, it was no sure bet that the movie would be worthwhile. I had some doubts, but when director Paul W.S. Anderson and stars Milla Jovovich, Eric Mabius, and Michelle Rodriguez all signed on, the outlook was better than expected. The storyline does not mirror the one in the game, but takes place in the same situation and has the same elements, though it happens a few days prior to the events within the video game. As expected, the movie has wicked visuals, some cool zombies, and even decent blood & skin levels, as far as mainstream cinema goes. I was quite pleased with Resident Evil and found it to be a blast to watch, though it won’t win any traditional awards any time soon. Anderson has stated a new two disc edition is slated for release at some point, so let’s hope that version includes his unrated cut of the film itself. This new Deluxe Edition is ok, but doesn’t have enough to warrant a purchase in most cases.
The ideal director for this movie would have been zombie master George A. Romero and he signed on at the start, but after some script conflicts, he dropped out of the project. While Paul W.S. Anderson doesn’t have the resume of Romero, he has some films that seem to paint him as a wise choice to helm this picture. Anderson loves to use dynamic visuals, a frenetic pace, excellent atmosphere, and a wide range of visual tricks, all of which come into play as needed elements in the Resident Evil movie, of course. He is able to produce a solid storyline, draw out some good performances, and above all else, deliver a fun, wild ride of a film, just the kind of direction this movie needed. Other films by Anderson include Mortal Kombat, Soldier, Shopping, and the underrated Event Horizon. The cast here includes Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, The Million Dollar Hotel), Eric Mabius (Cruel Intentions, The Crow: Salvation), and the awesome Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight, The Fast and the Furious).
Video: How’s it look?
The image here is quite nice. It’s a very dark film in its overall look, but fear not, this transfer still satisfies. The image is AVC encoded with a 1.85:1 ratio. The print shows no traces of dirt or debris of any kind. Flesh tones are nice and accurate with nothing appearing over-saturated in any way. The blood is deep red and realistic looking (thankfully) and it adds to the film. I could go on, but you get the idea. The film looks great in HD.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The Dolby True HD track serves the film nicely. This is a powerful and dynamic soundtrack with hardly a dull moment. All the channels stay actively busy throughout and there’s a nice kick to all the action scenes. Vocals are consistently strong as well, but let’s face it, the action is what you care most about from a film like this and it delivers. There’s a nice smooth sound to the track. Background noises are always coming through and making their presence known, so to speak. No issues here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The edition reviewed here is the Steel-Book that is exclusive to Walmart. There are two discs with one of them being a bonus DVD disc. The case is one with a nice glossy finish to it. There’s rear cover art as well as inner art, though it’s subtle and nothing to write home about. Since I’ve never owned this on Blu-ray before, I can’t comment on the differences, but the disc itself appears to be the same as the regular edition.
- Audio Commentaries – Two tracks are provided here: One with the cast and and filmmakers and one regarding the visual effects. Go wild.
- Alternate ending – This includes an introduction by director Paul W.S. Anderson. This was fun to see and we learn the reasons why it was changed as well. It was never completed so some of the effects aren’t finished, but I still enjoyed checking it out.
- Featurettes – We get many featurettes here. There are 12 in all, these include the following: Playing dead: Resident Evil from game to screen, The making of Resident Evil, Scoring Resident Evil, Storyboarding Resident Evil, Costumes, Set Design, The Creature, The Elevator, The Laser, The Train, Zombie Dogs, and lastly Zombies. Some of these go are longer than others and discuss the various topics at hand. These all offer a wide array on background that it pretty much leaves no stone unturned. In other words, you should have all your questions answered about the film. There’s plenty of good info here and fans should surely enjoy it. I imagine at this point that most people have already seen these at some point on some edition of the film (possibly even this version).
- “My Plague” by Slipknot – This is a music video that did little for me, but it’s nice to have I suppose.
- Blu-Wizard – Truthfully, with these kinds of features I tend to not fool with them too much. This lets you create a playlist of features to watch with the movie. I’d rather just have the features in their own section and not have to mess with the remote to often during a film. The fame features from the disc are categorized here.
- Bonus Disc (22:39) – This package includes a bonus DVD (Program Alice: Activated) that serves largely as a promotion for Resident Evil:Afterlife. At this point I imagine this disc is fairly useless since it’s meant to promote a film that’s now more than a few years old. It does give some nice background into the game series and comparisons to the movie as well.