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DVD Review: Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil on Sony Home Entertainment

You ain’t seen nothin’ until you’ve seen Milla Jovovich kick a Doberman in the face.


Resident Evil

If anything, Resident Evil is true to its munch n’ crunch PlayStation origins. Unlike Tomb Raider, Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest video game adaptation doesn’t bullshit around. Five minutes into the film, the Red Queen computer system has quarantined the Hive (codename for the top-secret, underground Umbrella Corporation) after the T-Virus floats into the air-ventilation system. Anderson is no stranger to comic-book sci-fi and dopey mnemonic despair. As psychological torture chamber, the Hive is all about the stimuli-induced regression fantasy (this cornball flash-of-the-mind worked better in Anderson’s underrated Event Horizon). As torture mechanism, the Red Queen is the awesome female equivalent of 2001’s passive-aggressive Hal. No, she’s not scary, but her toys are cool (she slices and dices better than Emeril) while her yakety-yak is strangely akin to a Fiona Apple whine. The Queen is a fierce killer but she has nothing on Milla Jovovich, who can turn a corner and kick a bloody Doberman like no other. Anderson is a great interior designer, milking the film’s most unconventional chill from a wide-angle shot of bathroom marble. The film’s schlocky intro is the film’s minimalist highlight but it’s not long before the film is boggled down by the tiresome escape-from-the-Hive wind-down. Sans moral discourse (Romero this ain’t), Resident Evil may be brain dead but it’s great popcorn entertainment nonetheless. After all, what could possibly be wrong with Milla wearing Kylie Minogue’s clothes in a techno-zombie wonderland?


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The image and sound on this Deluxe Edition DVD of Resident Evil is exactly the same as it was on the original DVD release of the film. Because there are slightly more features available on this edition, the image should suffer as a result, but I didn’t notice any glaring flaws. The film still looks tawdrier than ever and the bass and fidelity on the soundtrack is outstanding.


Carrying over from the original DVD release is the dopey commentary track with Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, director Paul W.S. Anderson, and producer Jeremy Bolt. This time around there’s an added track featuring Anderson and visual effects supervisor Richard Yuricich that should please more serious fans of the film (assuming there are any). More impressive and comprehensive is the eleven-part featurette that chronicles the film’s video game roots, John Carpenter’s influence on the film’s score, and all the work that went into the film’s other departments. Replacing the vignettes and music video included on the original DVD is a more “up” alternate ending, an extended clip from Resident Evil: Apocalypse, filmographies, and trailers for both films, Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital, and Hellboy.


You ain’t seen nothin’ until you’ve seen Milla Jovovich kick a Doberman in the face.

Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Colin Salmon, Marisol Nichols, Heike Makatsch, Joseph May Director: Paul W.S. Anderson Screenwriter: Paul W.S. Anderson Distributor: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment Running Time: 101 min Rating: R Year: 2002 Release Date: September 7, 2004 Buy: Video, Soundtrack

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