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In a vast underground genetic research facility, a deadly viral outbreak occurs, and in response, the Red Queen - a vast supercomputer that controls and monitors the Hive - seals the entire facility to contain the leak, turning all the employees into ravenous, zombie-like Undead, prowling the facility. A group of commandos led by Alice and Rain are sent in to isolate the virus. They soon discover that one bite or scratch from an Undead causes infection and instant transformation into their kind. The military task force have three hours to access the Red Queen, via a series of increasingly horrifying obstacles, and complete their mission before the Undead threaten to overrun the Earth. Based on the popular video game of the same name.
For more about Resident Evil and the Resident Evil Blu-ray release, see Resident Evil Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 29, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oscar Pearce, Indra Ové, Anna Bolt, Joseph May, Eric Mabius
Narrator: Jason Isaacs
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
» See full cast & crew
Resident Evil Blu-ray Review
What's this? A good video game adaptation?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 29, 2007
You're all going to die down here.
Comparing Resident Evil to other films proves to be a difficult thing to do. Looked at next to other zombie films, such as Dawn of the Dead and Re-Animator, the movie is mostly a flop. Compared to high-octane sci-fi/action movies like The Matrix and The Fifth Element, the movie begins to look a little more palatable. Finally, putting it up against other video game to film adaptations like Street Fighter and Doom, Resident Evil becomes downright good. This movie is a genre bender, combining elements of three major streams of entertainment revenue (zombies, action, and video games), and as such it's no surprise that it ranks somewhere smack dab in the middle of the good/bad chart in terms of quality. All the elements are here to make it a winner, but they could just as easily make it a loser. Fortunately, it falls into the latter category. It's much better than it has any right to be, but it won't walk away with any awards to be sure. Resident Evil is perhaps the epitome of the teenage boy fantasy movie. It's got an attractive female lead, lots of guns, plenty of blood, a decent yet ultimately underwhelming script that moves the story along in a coherent manner, and, of course, the undead. How could this formula possibly fail? Well, guess what--it can. See Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
The Umbrella Corporation. It's the leading provider of several important industries in the world, but while it puts on a happy public demeanor above ground, below the surface (literally) it is engineering and manufacturing those oh so pesky chemical weapons for military contracts. As the movie opens, it's just another day in the "Hive," the underground beehive looking facility where all of the shadier Umbrella business takes place. The day starts off normally enough. There's the release of a biochemical agent through the air ducts which will ultimately turn the living into the living dead; there's the girl who gets her head chopped off as she tries to exit the elevator; and, of course, what morning would be complete without a little spilled coffee! Above ground, Alice (Mila Jovovich, The Fifth Element) awakens on the floor of a shower, confused. She soon finds herself surrounded by a team of special forces type operatives who seem to think she's somebody she doesn't remember being with crucial information to their mission. It just so happens that the mansion they are in is really an entrance to the Hive, and she and the team descend into it in hopes of finding out what happened to kill everyone. As it turns out, the brains behind the Hive, a supercomputer named "The Red Queen" has gone homicidal, though possibly through third party interference. What the team discovers, after a few of them are sliced and diced along the way, is that Umbrella has been working on a chemical agent known as the "T-Virus," and that is what was released through the ducts. It re-animates dead bodies, but the catch is that these living corpses have only the most basic of motor skills and crave only one thing: food. And we're not talking carrots and celery, either. These suckers want warm human flesh, and they won't stop until they've had their fill of your brains and guts. Ultimately, it's up to Alice, who is really a highly trained killing machine, to fight off the zombies and monsters and escape the Hive before everyone and everything is lost.
Viewed simply as a "turn-your-brain-off-at-the-door" type movie, Resident Evil works very well. It has just the right mix of action and scares to satisfy most viewers. I found very little to dislike about the movie, especially when watched with low expectations. In fact, it exceeded my rather low expectations, proving itself to be a mostly slick, well paced, and fairly original movie that doesn't require one bit of familiarity with the video game series to get into it. I have only limited exposure to the game, and the movie worked very well for me, and I think it will work for any audience, gamer or not. The video game based movie has proven itself to be a pretty unsuccessful genre, thanks in part to lazy screenwriters who don't take the material seriously, afraid to push the boundaries in film that the games pushed that made them successful. It's also a hinderance when Uwe Boll is the face of the genre. Fortunately, it appears that, perhaps, the genre is on the upswing. While I didn't care for the sequel, Resident Evil is a very good adaptation, as is Silent Hill, one of the creepiest horror movies to come along in a while, and one that certainly approaches the level of the games it is based on. Perhaps the worst aspect of Resident Evil is the shoddy monster CGI that rears its ugly head in the film's final act, but it's not too terribly distracting. On the whole, this is one of the best movies of its ilk, but taken in context that's not saying a whole lot. For now, Resident Evil can hang its hat on the top rung of the video game turned movie ladder, and it's well worth a watch for fans of the game, of action, of science fiction, and of zombies.
Resident Evil Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in 1.85:1 and in 1080p high definition, Resident Evil is one of the best looking catalogue titles I have seen yet on Blu-ray. This transfer features rich, vibrant, and eye popping colors. Blue and gray hues are the primary ones here, giving the film an appropriately cold look to it, but what bright colors there are look fantastic. The print used for this high-definition master is in fine shape. I noticed no flaws whatsoever in it. The image is sharp, never soft, and highly detailed from the important, central images to the mundane ones; excellent attention to detail is evident throughout. Black levels fare very well and small details are never lost in especially dark scenes. There were a few instances where the image brightened up in the darkness, but as solid as the image is, I have to think this is something inherent in the source and not the fault of the disc. There is some innate grain in the film that director Paul Anderson discusses in his commentary, his explanation for it being sufficient in quieting the "anti-grain" crowd. This is a fine transfer from Sony.
Resident Evil Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Resident Evil is presented with a high definition Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that runs around 3.5-4.5 Mbps throughout the movie. This is a powerful, dynamic, immersive audio experience that offers true high definition, theater quality sound. Excellent attention to detail is paid in even the most minute aspects of the soundtrack. Bass is deep, powerful, and tight. Surrounds are active throughout, rarely letting up for a moment's rest. An instance of pulsating, almost psychedelic music that announces the first time we see a zombie emanates from all directions, with each frequency of the pulse wave coming from a different speaker creating one of the oddest yet most fascinating moments I've heart yet on Blu-ray. Dialogue can get lost underneath the music and effects which is the only real complaint I have with the track. Check out the sequence where the team is attempting to get into the Red Queen's chamber about 33 minutes in. Nevertheless, this is an awesome sonic experience and it offers a great way to start the series and the new year on Blu-ray.
Resident Evil Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sony delivers the Blu-ray version of Resident Evil with a nice grouping of extras. First up is a cast and filmmakers commentary featuring director Paul Anderson, actresses Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez, and producer Jeremy Bolt. Unfortunately, this is a very annoying track. The participants talk over one another, about different subjects no less (and often about nothing related to the movie), and it's nearly impossible to get anything out of it. There is a quite a bit of dead air throughout. This ranks as one of the worst tracks I've heard, and I cannot recommend passing it up enough. A second commentary featuring Paul Anderson and visual effects supervisor Richard Yuricich. As one would expect, this is a much more technical track that lacks the giggles and fluff of the first. It's infinitely more interesting and worth a listen if you are interested in the real behind-the-scenes information about Resident Evil.
A dozen featurettes are included. Playing Dead: Resident Evil From Game to Screen (1080i, 15:04) is a discussion about the impact of video games in today's society, the progress games have made, and adapting the series for film. The Making of Resident Evil (1080i, 27:20) is a promotional piece that offers up the cast and crew discussing the very basics of the movie and their feelings towards the Resident Evil franchise. Also included here is some good behind-the-scenes information showcasing the making of some of the more crucial sequences in the movie. Scoring Resident Evil (1080i, 11:03) is a look at the inspirations and choices in the music of the movie, featuring Paul Anderson and composers Marco Beltrami and Marilyn Manson. Storyboarding Resident Evil (1080i, 6:26) discusses this essential and oftentimes overlooked element of moviemaking. We are shown various final scenes along with their storyboards. Costumes (1080i, 3:26) is a brief look at the choices made in the costuming department. Set Design (1080i, 4:07) discusses setting this movie apart visually from the series of video games and choosing the look and locations of the sets. The Creature (1080i, 5:18) showcases the making of the large creature featured in the movie. The Elevator (1080i, 1:08) is a brief look behind-the scenes of the making of the elevator scene from the beginning of the film. The Laser (1080i, 5:05) looks at what it takes to slice and dice a character on-screen. This was my favorite featurette. It's simply amazing at how much work goes into some of the brief shots in the movies. The Train (1080i, 2:20) is a look at the effort behind adding the train sequences to the film. Zombie Dogs (1080i, 3:54) showcases the make-up applied to the zombie dogs in the film and the difficulties in ensuring that they don't inadvertently remove the make-up. Finally, Zombies (1080i, 4:30) details the look and feel of the zombies of the film and keeping them true to zombie lore but also updating their behaviors for modern audiences.
A look at an alternate ending featuring a discussion with director Paul Anderson (1080i, 3:20) is next. A music video entitled My Plague by Slipknot (1080i, 3:05) is also included. Finally, 1080p trailers for 30 Days of Night, The Company, Resident Evil: Extinction, Dragon Wars, Ultraviolet, Underworld, Blood and Chocolate, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind round out the supplemental package.
Resident Evil Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Resident Evil is clearly one of the best movies out there that is based on a video game. From beginning to end, it's a well polished, competent movie that delivers exactly what one would expect it to--good action, some scares and gore, decent acting and direction, and plenty of undead with a bad case of the munchies. Thankfully, this Blu-ray disc is stellar. The video and audio quality are top notch and the supplements are of sufficient length and quality to satisfy most fans. Resident Evil, when taken for what it is, is fine entertainment that is a decent entry into annals of the zombie/action genre, and is, for now, arguably the best of the video game movies. On the whole, this one is well worth adding to your collection. Recommended.
Resident Evil: Other Editions
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Resident Evil Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Amazon Blu-ray Deal of the Week: Resident Evil (Expired) - September 9, 2012
Amazon's Blu-ray Deal of the Week affects films from the Resident Evil series. The Resident Evil horror franchise examines an Earth under the thrall of the Umbrella Corporation, a multi-national pharmaceutical company that undertakes unethical - and dangerous ...
• Blu-ray Deal for Resident Evil: The High Definition Trilogy (Expi... - August 2, 2011
For a limited time, Amazon.com is offering Resident Evil: The High Definition Trilogy at 76% off its SRP. This three-disc set features three Resident Evil films - Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and Resident Evil: Extinction - which show how Alice (Milla ...
• Blu-ray Boxed Set of the Week: Resident Evil Trilogy $25 - September 13, 2010
Amazon's current Blu-ray Boxed Set of the Week is for Resident Evil: The High Definition Trilogy (comprised of Resident Evil,Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Extinction), which can now be had for only $25.00 (58% off, or just over $8 per movie). The ...
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