written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
ED NOTE: I wrote this post in the theater before watching the most recent Resident Evil flick... I was going to review it but... nope... not gonna try... let's just say it sucked balls... anyway...
The Resident Evil film franchise has evolved to become this whole separate sort of beast. For a movie franchise based on an established video game franchise, it has accomplished what many other games-turned-film could not do… be profitable. Where it does seem to follow suit with other games-turned-film adaptations is how critically panned the films are. When compared to other action flicks or zombie horror stories, these films really aren’t good… so I ask you, why am I typing this while sitting in a theater ready to watch the latest installment (Resident Evil: Retribution) with a kind of anticipation usually reserved for films like The Avengers or Dark Knight Rises? The truth it, I love these flicks, I truly enjoy them and critics be damned I’ll still enjoy them.
I’m not here to argue the reviews, I see why critics like Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly called the first film in the franchise “impersonal in its relentlessness as the video game series that inspired it,” and while I don’t share Roger Ebert’s opinion about the first two (he’s placed them on his “most hated” list) I see where they are coming from. So let me try to figure out what is it that I love so much about the film franchise.
I love Milla… I love Milla Jovovich and have adored her since seeing her in The Fifth Element (one of my favorite Sci-Fi flicks of all time). She succeeds as an action star and is a lot of fun to watch. During the first film when she goes from timid woman in a red dress to a bad ass taking down multiple zombie dogs in a tight enclosed lab, that solidified a bit of a “yes-ma’am-may-I-have-some-more” crush established when watching The Fifth Element. It’s a simple plot device but one that always has me rooting for the main character, up against seemingly impossible odds, and then BAM! Watch out we got a badass over here. The first two films seems to follow the story of the games more closely than the latter part of the series, it’s pretty much at the close of the second film that this film world of RE veers into a completely new territory. While both the film series and movie utilize the destruction of Raccoon City as a plot device, the film series moves in a different direction with a world-wide outbreak of the T-Virus.
So really, what is it? Why is it that I always feel so excited to watch these movies? Of course the plethora of bad-ass beautiful women doesn’t hurt. Despite the inconsistent story and the “at best passable at worst horrible” acting, the movies do succeed in packing the theatre full of zombie loving movie goers. It’s like watching a Romero flick without the inherent political commentary. While a Romero flick may liken the moaning zombie hoard to commercialism or materialism, the popcorn zombies of the RE films are there to scare you and make you shout an emphatic “AWW YEAH!” at the screen when our heroine lops one of their heads off.
Look here for a review of the latest coming soon, but at this point, the lights are going down and it’s about time for the movie. Whether this one is awesome or completely sucks, the road to get here was a pretty fun ride so far. The question I pose is how much longer can this film franchise really go? Okay, shhhhh… it’s Milla-time!