Resident Evil

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

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, as well as a DTS track and additional supplements. If you’re a casual fan, you might want to wait for the new version, but I think this disc is solid enough to purchase in the meanwhile.

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. Aside from their recent slew of full frame only disasters, Columbia has been known for their terrific visual transfer work and this release is no exception. The film throws out all sorts of visual tricks to enhance the images, but this transfer never slips and delivers a dynamic, top notch presentation. The colors wander the spectrum from lifeless and dull to bold and vibrant, dependent upon the scene at hand, while black levels remain sharp and flawless throughout. I saw no evidence of compression errors either and aside from some slight grain, I have no complaints with this treatment. I know this had to be somewhat of a nightmare to transfer to DVD, but Columbia has done some impressive work and fans should be thrilled here.

Audio: How does it sound?

Although the included Dolby Digital 5.1 option doesn’t reach reference status, it comes close and ranks as a damn impressive audio experience. I think a DTS track might have pushed this material to a perfect score, but Columbia chose not to include a DTS option, though we can hope for one with the eventual two disc re-release. The tense and action driven scenes put the speakers through the paces and then some, with creative and highly effective presence, which adds to the eerie, offbeat atmosphere. The more reserved scenes also sound terrific, while the musical score is tight & immersive here, a very memorable audio treatment indeed. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as English & French subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

While director Paul W.S. Anderson has made it known a new two disc edition is in the works, this single disc version still sports some cool supplements. Anderson is joined by producer Jeremy Bolt and stars Milla Jovovich & Michelle Rodriguez on an audio commentary track, which proves to be quite memorable. This is by no means a technical session, as the focus seems to be more on fun and humorous moments, which works out well enough. Of course, those in search of in depth production details will be left in the cold, but this still deserves a listen, without question. A nice half hour featurette titled The Making of Resident Evil is next, which is your usual promotional, but still enjoyable look behind the scenes. You’ll see plenty of interviews with cast & crew members, behind the scenes footage, and a special look at the film’s visual effects. An additional four featurettes look at the film’s musical score, costumes, set design, and the zombie effects, but each runs a scant few minutes, so don’t expect too much. This disc also includes some talent files, a Slipknot music video, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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