Thoughts on… the Resident Evil films

Last month I finished watching the Resident Evil film series for the first time. I watched the first film back in May on Netflix and then when I saw a cheap deal on a box set of all the films I decided to get them and slowly make my way through them all.

The films are apparently very loosely based on video games with the same name. The films follow Alice (Milla Jovovich), someone who was once a security operative for the Umbrella Corporation, a bioengineering pharmaceutical company that develops bioweapons, as she fights against the corporation and the undead monsters it created with its bio weapons.

They are not particularly great films and the early ones haven’t aged particularly well in regards to the special effects but generally there’s something somewhat enjoyable/good to be found in each one. There’s often a lot of quick editing, making it hard to follow or appreciate action sequences and the dialogue isn’t always that great either. there’s a lot of heavy-handed exposition dumps throughout the film-series, especially in Resident Evil: Retribution. The later films were obviously shot/converted into 3D as there’s so many shots of bullets or knives flying towards the screen. It’s this sort of thing that might have looked cool or added something to the film if you were watching it in 3D in the cinema but now, watching it on the TV it’s just a gimmick.

My favourites out of the six-film series is the first Resident Evil film and Resident Evil: Extinction. The first film because it’s really quite a tense film that combines mystery and horror well. Being in The Hive (the underground research facility), such an enclosed space with only a small group of characters who are learning about the undead at the same pace you are is interesting. Plus, the deadly artificial intelligence offers an extra layer of threat because it has control of the whole place. The characters themselves all follow pretty typical military-esque stereotypes with strong, in control leader James Shade (Colin Salmon) and the lone-badass girl in the team Rain (Michelle Rodriguez).

I like Resident Evil: Extinction because it really feels like a post-apocalyptic world. It’s set in the desert states of America, Alice’s outfit is the most practical out of all her various outfits she wears across the films, and it’s got a lot of interesting characters like Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) who is really cool and capable and I loved his relationship with Alice, and Claire (Ali Larter) the leader of this ragtag group of survivors you follow. All the other character you see in this group of survivors are obviously somewhat smart and capable to have survived so long and when Alice comes into their lives, you get to really see how her abilities have developed.

Both films feature the zombie dogs which are my favourite scary creatures in the series. I think it’s because you see monster-humans a lot in media but you don’t really see the animals become undead or evil. The sequences with undead dogs and crows are some of my favourite, they’re instantly more tense and scary in my mind.

The Resident Evil franchise is not the best thing ever but in my mind, it’s not the worst either. I think Resident Evil: The Final Chapter did a good job at wrapping everything up, especially as the films seemed to get more convoluted as they went on. There was the various clones, characters who didn’t stay dead and the Umbrella Corporation’s over the top evil plans, it all got a bit confusing and unnecessary at times. I don’t feel I’ve wasted my time on them, they were mostly entertaining, easy-watches – though I didn’t really like Resident Evil: Afterlife, I found it kind of boring.

Have you watched the Resident Evil films? What do you think of them?

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3 comments

  1. I call this series a good “bad” movie franchise. The first and third are also my favorites. They’re the only ones that, to me, seemed to bother having an interesting plot to them. The last one I believe I watched was the fifth one. I haven’t gotten to the final one, the fifth one is, in my opinion, the worst of the bunch. (That I’ve seen) and I just couldn’t really be bothered to watch it. If the final one ends up on NetFlix again, I might give it a go.

    1. A good “bad” franchise is a good way to describe it! Yeah, the first and third films allow for interesting character moments and more interesting plots than The-Umbrella-Corporation-is-Evil-and-Must-Be-Stopped. I can see why you haven’t made an effort to watch the last one after the fifth one – it was rather dull and while it was nice to see old actors back it was all rather unnecessarily complicated.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  2. I like Resident Evil franchise a ton. They definitely films that are flawed. The first Resident Evil is absolutely the best of the franchise as it captures what it had intended for the film for the most part. Afterlife is quite boring although I like it a bit less than Apocalypse. Both aren’t really memorable however, the recent ones like Retribution and The Final Chapter are pretty fun as they grab a lot of cool characters from the game as well. Alice is great because of her one liners, bad dialogue and such. Point is, I see the flaws of these films however they are great guilty pleasure franchises with the exception of the first one which I think is pretty solid as a horror/mystery experience. 🙂

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