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. In addition, 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, as I know fans are dying to check out the extended footage. This new Superbit editions offers improved audio & video, but no extras, though the excellent DTS mix here gives this edition an instant edge.
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 does it look?
Resident Evil is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The original release of this movie looked excellent and as such, don’t expect a night & day difference when you compare these two versions. But as is often the case with the Superbit releases, slight improvements are present and if viewed with decent enough equipment, even the casual viewer should be able to notice the better visuals. The small details come through in more refined form, opening up the visuals a shade, while black levels reach starker, more accurate levels also. The other elements seem about the same, with a gorgeous source print, rich colors, and natural flesh tones all on showcase in this treatment. The improvements aren’t as massive as with some Superbit versions, but this is a sharper, more detailed presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The video might not offer landmark improvements, but the audio sure does, thanks to a new DTS soundtrack. I know the original Dolby Digital 5.1 track was top drawer, but this DTS option takes it to a higher level and offers an enhanced, fine tuned, and more powerful experience, one of the best tracks I’ve heard of late. The mix is able to make better and more creative use of the speakers, which gives us richer and more dynamic audio throughout. And this movie has tons of audio potential, so you know this track flat out rocks. The surrounds kick so hard, you might have to straighten your pictures afterwards, its that powerful of a soundtrack. So all the good, none of the bad, and improved audio in every possible respect, this is what Superbit is all about. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains no bonus materials.