With “Resident Evil: Retribution” hitting theaters this weekend, I bit the bullet and watched the previous four films in one big marathon of Milla Jovavich, CG monsters, and slow-motion gunfights. I have a confession, though: I actually enjoyed it.
The “Resident Evil” movies have been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while now, with the first being the weakest of the bunch, but the rest aligning into this wild, ridiculous narrative thread involving a virus that turns some people into zombies and some people into super-powered mutants, and changes animals into crazy monsters, and leaves civilization in ruins, and puts the entire world at the mercy of a mysterious corporation called Umbrella that created the virus and may or may not have killed all its potential customers in the process. It’s truly diabolical.
It’s also silly, brainless fun, and I can’t help getting a kick out of it.
Sadly, the studio releasing the movie decided not to screen it for the press before its release, which is generally a very, very bad sign. And that also means I won’t have a review of it any time soon. But hey, if you’re thinking about seeing it this weekend but could use a reminder where everything’s at in the series, I wrote up a recap of the entire franchise up to this point. (You’re welcome.)
Here’s an excerpt:
The first four chapters of the franchise saw Alice escape from the locked-down Umbrella research facility that created the T-Virus (in Resident Evil), then escape from the walled-off Raccoon City where the virus first went public (in Resident Evil: Apocalypse). After discovering that her unique reaction to the T-Virus has made her one of Umbrella’s most-wanted people, she goes on the run, saves a few survivors, kills some zombie birds with her psychokinetic powers, and then decides to take the fight to the corporation because, well… what would you do if you had psychokinetic powers? (Okay, maybe that wouldn’t be our first choice.)
In Resident Evil: Extinction, Alice takes down the virus’ creator with some help from a group of cloned versions of herself, then the whole Alice army goes after the chairman of Umbrella himself, Albert “I always wear sunglasses” Wesker (Shawn Roberts). He seemingly meets his end when Alice crashes their getaway plane into the side of a mountain, only to pop up again later on a floating tanker that’s been posing as a refuge for survivors. Now all tentacled and super-powered thanks to a hefty dose of the T-Virus, Wesker takes on Alice and her pals Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller). Yes, they’re related, and yes, they win. (Sort of.)
You can read the rest of my “Resident Evil” recap at Movies.com.