Not a lot of film franchises in this day and age make it to a fourth film let a lone a fifth and proposed sixth film, but the “Resident Evil” movies have defied the odds and made it work. With the fifth film coming up, we thought it would be a good idea to go back to the start of the series and map out each of the films – what they were about, their best moments, how they compared to the video game series they’re based on, how they connect to each other, and where they plan on going from here. So sit back and enjoy a retrospective and, of course, spoilers ahead in case you haven’t seen one or more of the films.
RESIDENT EVIL (2002)
What it’s about: “There was an incident. The virus escaped and everybody died, the trouble was they didn’t stay dead.” So are the words of Alice herself from the opening of the sequel, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse.” The plot is easily summed up that way, but the entire web of Umbrella Corporation conspiracy isn’t done much justice. While a team of highly trained ops are sent into a secret underground facility called “The Hive” to see what happened, the secrets about Umbrella start to open up. The film feels like a video game from start to finish as we’re thrown in the world head first with almost non-stop action and crazed antagonists (I would say ‘monsters’ but remember the Red Queen?). Though the first zombie doesn’t show up until forty minutes into the movie, the movie still manages to hold your attention for that long and only gets crazier after the zombie hoards start to appear.
The best moments: The massacre of the Umbrella Corporation employees at the start. It’s like watching a “Final Destination” movie but sped up and on crack. Also the scenes with the reanimated dogs. First Alice’s realization that there is a reanimated dog and then when she is confronted by an entire group of them. Also, that ending, when the men in white suits barge in and start talking about “The Nemesis Program” plus Alice’s wake up call in the abandoned streets of Raccoon City. And you can’t go wrong with music composed by Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson.
How does it hold up to the games: While not an exact adaptation of the games (what video game-based film IS though?) it does have the spirit of the games intrenched within it. The various camera angles, sounds, and set decoration for the first portion of the film are highly reflective of the first game. Of course, the references to Umbrella, the Nemesis Program, Raccoon City, S.T.A.R.S. and all of the undead people, dogs, monsters, also make it feel like it’s a part of the franchise, but this films feels the most like the games out of them all.
What is its connection to the other films: Well, you would think that being the first entry in a potential new franchise it wouldn’t have a lot of connection with the other films (which at that point were only a glimmer in Paul W.S. Anderson’s eye), the opening seconds of the film still refer to the next 100 minutes as a “Confidential Report: The events leading to the incident at Raccoon City.” While this puts the audience in a unique position for watching the film, it does even more then that by letting us know this is only the beginning.