the resident Evil franchise is, for better or worse, one of the most famous video game movie adaptations, spanning six films over fourteen years. The quality of the series varies wildly, some entries are unrecognizable from others, and each movie is a totally different experience.
Paul WS Anderson led each of the six resident Evil films, which starred Anderson’s wife Milla Jovovich. The series took inspiration, elements and sometimes scenes entirely recreated, from its source materials, but devised an entirely separate storyline and new characters. This led to a very controversial fan response to the series, with some writing it down entirely while others embracing the differences.
The first film take on Capcom’s classic horror franchise is arguably the best. Released in 2002, resident Evil was a first entry into the video game movie craze, before fans were made cynical by years of failure. Paul WS Anderson was cast to direct the film following the modest success of his 1995 film Mortal combat the film marked what was then the height of expectations for the genre. Anderson decided to avoid too much connection to games because video game movies tended to underperform. Anderson is said to have been such a big fan of the franchise that he wrote a screenplay for a film that he himself called a Capcom opus scam. In the modern age, R-rated movies are regularly edited to appeal to younger audiences, but Anderson knew resident Evil had to be true to its source. Apparently the movie needed some modifications to go from an NC-17 to an R.
resident Evil is the story of Alice, a mysterious amnesiac who wakes up alongside a couple of men in an otherwise deserted mansion. The trio discover a sprawling laboratory system hidden beneath the landscape, which they then discover they have been tasked with guarding. Joined by a team of heavily armed commandos, Alice and her company delve into the secret research center of the Umbrella Corporation. While there, they encounter high-tech traps, CGI reenactments of in-game monsters, and tons of gruesome and swift violence.
The film is far from perfect, but it is the most consistent entry in the series. It’s a story that seems totally reasonable in the gaming world, without just telling the story of a game. It gradually goes from a claustrophobic horror flick to an absurd action flick in a way that seems well deserved. His visual style is striking, with red lighting and visceral blood against the white, clinical lab environment. Most of the action is fun, although a good portion of it is very dated some of it still looks good. Globally, resident Evil is a solid film set in the beloved universe.
The second film established the series as an action franchise, the third increased the scale, the fourth is too hilarious to be hated, but Punishment, the fifth film, is an embarrassing disaster. Every movie in the franchise made reference to the games, becoming more and more intrusive over the years as the original ideas seemed to run out. Punishment is the point of critical mass, not only giving up any pretext for its appropriation, not just inserting random references, but smashing beloved characters into unrecognizable forms as if they were trying to win the day. angry fans. The previous entry, Life after death, offers a frame-by-frame recreation of a kinematics of Resident evil 5, and even, Punishment Still manages to feel shameless by series standards. But ruining parts of the source material isn’t the only thing the franchise is exaggerating with this fifth entry, it goes too far in almost every direction.
At this point in the franchise, Alice has been clearly established as the only character that matters. Most of the other original characters are dead or turned evil and all of the characters in the game are there to be recognizable, like cosplayers in a photoshoot. The film sees Alice, now so powerful that nothing seems to be a credible threat to her, step into a virtual reality simulation and fight through a frozen laboratory station. All of the unique visual style of the first franchise is replaced by generic wreckage and largely CGI suburbs. All the action boils down to characters firing guns at floods of zombies or engaging in endless melee brawls.
Every attempt at horror fled the franchise through the third entry, there is absolutely nothing scary about this movie, but not for lack of trying. The film retreads aspects of previous entries with even less context, resorting to stealing moments from its own franchise that often weren’t perfect the first time around. And perhaps worst of all, the film ends on a deeply unsatisfying cliffhanger that never pays off. The film is a full narrative dead end, so meaningless and silly it manages to be bottom of the barrel, in a franchise that seemed to go deeper each time.
resident Evil is a very enjoyable movie, and there’s a ton of fun buried in its sequels, even the bad parts are often fun to watch. With Welcome to Raccoon City Now in theaters, fans can only hope it will be a shining diamond in this adorably chaotic franchise.
MORE: Every Resident Evil Movie, Ranked According To IMDb
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