Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes, and Colin Salmon
- Alternate ending with a video introduction by director Anderson
- Running audio commentary with writer/director Anderson, Jovovich, Rodriguez, and producer Jeremy Bolt
- Running audio commentary with the visual effects team
- 11 Featurettes: “Playing Dead: Resident Evil From Game to Screen,” “Scoring Resident Evil,” “Storyboarding Resident Evil,” “Costumes,” “Set Design,” “The Creature,” “The Elevator,” “The Laser,” “The Train,” “Zombie Dogs,” & “Zombies”
Released by: Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment
My Advice: Rent it
[ad#longpost]The Umbrella Corporation has been a very naughty corporate entity indeed. It seems that on the outside, they are putting forth a very wholesome image, all the while researching and developing a virus designed specifically for military applications. Lo and behold, someone tries to breach security and get the virus and antivirus from its secret underground lab called The Hive. A special military group is sent in to try to reset the computer called the “Red Queen” (voiced by Dicker) in the hopes of getting back down to business in the lab. To continue with the really random Lewis Carroll references, Alice (Jovovich) wakes up in what she thinks is her home with a complete loss of memory. It seems that her marriage was a front to hide the fact that the house they were living in was a secret back door to The Hive. She gets swept in by this paramilitary group and is taken down (the rabbit hole) into The Hive, where a bunch of flesh-eating zombies and mutant attack dogs await them.
So, what we really have here is a good old-fashioned zombie movie with a high tech gloss coat smeared over it (and very thinly at that). Jovovich is okay in her role as Alice, but for the most part her talents seem a little wasted. It seems that the only reason she was cast was that she is a very athletic actor and could really do a lot of her own stunts and fight choreography. What I thought was interesting was the fact that Rodriguez had equal billing with Jovovich. I was unfamiliar with her work prior to seeing her in this, though I know she rose to acclaim due to Girlfight. But nothing in her performance here makes me want to see another of her films. All she does is look through the tops of her eyelids and try to be a badass paramilitary soldier, but only ends up looking stupid.
The movie is a little slow at times and much too often, they overshoot the building of a suspenseful moment and I found myself trying to hit the “go” button for some of the Jump Out And Get You moments well before they were executed on screen. After awhile, it became more interesting to see if I could guess when they were going to get these moments right rather than waiting to see if I would be scared.
When I reviewed the Superbit edition of this movie, I stated that, unfortunately, they had left it wide open for a sequel, the release of which was the impetus for this DVD. They glossed it up a bit and added more features than they could on the previous release. The addition of a secondary commentary track does help this out a little bit, though on the first–with the cast–I couldn’t stand listening to Rodriguez talking about how “cool” it was to work on this film. She has to be one of the most inarticulate people that has ever drawn breath. Still, Jovovich and Anderson do the best they can, but it does devolve into a kind of “remember when” party and leaves the audience feeling left out of the fun. There’s that entirely separate commentary track with the special effects supervisors talking about the different CGI and special effects shots in the film, but it’s very tech oriented and not fun to listen to.
The alternate ending is okay, but like most of these types of things, it’s pretty easy to see why they decided to opt for the ending we saw in the final film. It does something a little weird in that they don’t actually show you the entire alternate ending. It’s just Anderson talking about why they chose to go with the ending they did with only a few clips for him to narrate over. Then there is a clip from the sequel to sort of tease you into watching it. It’s almost the entire opening sequence to the film. They are doing more experiments on Alice and she seems to be without memory again. Complete with flashbacks from the first movie. Joy.
So, while it’s nice to see these special features added to this release, it’s just not enough for me to recommend running right out and buying it. Rent it instead, but only if you are a big fan of the movie.