Here is a film that does absolutely no service to the famous survival horror series that it is based off. It has some elements from the games, but is let down by lame effects, silly acting and a story that is nothing like the first game. Instead we are left with a bland mess that fails at being scary or providing any real entertainment.
At the beginning of the story the protagonist wakes up with memory loss and runs into a police officer and a team from Umbrella. They then journey down to the underground facility called The Hive. As you might have guessed this is not even remotely like the plot of the first game. The Mansion is turned into an unimportant background building that has no significance to the story. The main setting is The Hive which has become infested with zombies and is under the control of the artificial intelligence Red Queen. Naturally Jill and Chris make no appearance what so ever. While there is action and lots of zombies this story couldn’t be less like a Resident Evil game.
The effects are just ridiculous. The zombies don’t look anything like they did in the game and look like they escaped out of Night of the Living Dead. In the game the zombies looked like decaying corpses whereas here they actually look like people who are going to a Halloween party. The Licker is just laughable. The CGI is about as weak as it can get and if anything it just exacerbates the, by this point, obvious fact that the visuals are for dummies. The only decent effect in the whole film is the hologram of the Red Queen and even that looks like it was made by a toddler, though, I could just be saying that because of how visually constipated this film is. As far as appearances go this is less than weak.
The characters are not that much better than the rest of the film and cannot match Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Only the protagonist has any significant development, but that is stunted because of her amnesia. While Milla Jovovich is respectable enough I think she has done much better performances and her character, Rain, isn’t all that amazing. The same goes for Michelle Rodriguez who is a great actress it’s just her character gets next to no character development and it is only her performance that keeps her from being outright bland. James Purefoy gets the same treatment as Milla Jovovich. While his character is vaguely interesting his character development is stunted by the amnesia plot point which isn’t handled very well. Eric Mabius is decent enough as Matt Addison who is just about on the same level as the other characters. Why couldn’t they use the characters from the first game?
The main problem with this film is that it bears the Resident Evil title. Had it been given a different name it would have worked much better. As it is, however, it suffers from an insipid plot and stupid effects that add insult to injury. Did this film ever deserve to have a sequel? No, but Paul W.S Anderson obviously thought it did.