The latest in a line of video game adaptations, Resident Evil was released over the weekend. While past conversions such as Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter were box-office flops, Resident Evil has the chance to break the game-to-movie-flop habit. While the movie is not a straight port of the game, it can still offer a good viewing experience.
The movie takes place in Raccoon City, USA, within a secret underground research lab called The Hive. The lab's work on a cell regeneration medicine ("the T-Cell serum:) for the Umbrella Corporation has a very negative side effect: it reverts the donor into a creature with basic instinctive needs. A lab experiment causes the virus to be released in the air circulation system and, after a logic snafu from the Red Queen (The Hive's AI), this AI quarantines the lab and kills everyone who may have been exposed to the virus.
A SWAT team (not STARS, for the Resident faithful), is sent to find out what's going on. After finding Alice (Milla Jovovich), they break into the HIVE. The Red Queen's traps have fun with the troops, and one they figure things are going their way, the dead scientists of the HIVE are released. On top of that, they're all thirsty for blood.
From here, it goes into a Night of the Living Dead shoot-and-scream-a-thon. There are some genuine scares, but most of them are peppered with shouting and running. There wasn't enough time to get to know the characters before they start getting killed off. The movie tries to be like Aliens in some respects, and sometimes it works.
Plot notwithstanding, the movie still offers a good viewing. It is a shame that George Romero didn't take the project, as was the original plan. Instead, it was taken by Paul Anderson (Soldier, Event Horizon, Mortal Kombat), whose influences show with strobe lights, dark passageways, and a loud soundtrack. Go and see it during the matinee, or wait for it on video. AfterThought: For those who are also fans of anime, here is a video you may wish to download: Resident Eva . It uses the trailer's audio track and makes good use of Neon Genesis Evangelion.