Defending The Resident Evil Films

December 26, 2012 6:00 pm

My housemate hates the Resident Evil films. He thinks the storylines are lazy, the characters two-dimensional and the zombies not scary in the slightest. However, personally, I enjoy them, despite acknowledging them as films that will probably never win an Oscar. So I’ve dedicated my article this week to defending the four Resident Evil films (I haven’t yet seen the fifth installment). I could do with comments for support and I am sure my housemate will like his points backed up too.


The first is my favourite. Ironically, it was disappointing to most of the fans, because it wasn’t as action-packed as the games. However, as a generic zombie movie, I prefer it over more recent depictions of zombies (Zombieland). The tension is handled perfectly (the scene where we are introduced to the zombies by the sound of an axe being dragged across the floor is superbly chilling), the characters are developed just enough that we care when they are killed, and I enjoyed the twist at the end, although I feel it could have been taken further. Sure, the tension is taken away by Milla Jovovich’s sudden martial arts skills (not unlike Jason Bourne), but this is an action film, so it’s a flaw we need to expect.


The second film is the hardest to defend, being the worst one yet. The action is taken to the city, but the open space takes away the horror from the film. Jill Valentine seems unnecessary; just an addition for the fans, and the villain’s plot is hazy at best. However, it does have some good moments. The church fight with the Lickers is handled well and the zombie schoolchildren are eerily perfect. It is a shame that they ruined the ultimate Resident Evil monster: the Nemesis, but the movie is still suitable for a mindless action movie night.


The third film made up for the second’s flaws. The action jumps ahead a few years, so the apocalypse is old news and the characters have been on the run for a while now. As the characters are now well developed, when they start to get killed off by the zombies, heartstrings are pulled. Also, Iain Glen is brilliant as the villain, barely gripping onto his sanity. The film is reasonably paced and introduces enough fresh monsters into the mix to keep the action going.


Thankfully, the writers moved away from the worrying cliffhanger Resident Evil: Extinction left us with, and took the story back to basics—the survivors are trapped in a building and need to escape. I feel that these claustrophobic environments with minimal characters are the best setup for a zombie film. We are finally treated to Albert Wesker in action too, the biggest villain in the Resident Evil games (arguably video games in general). Not that the film is without its flaws. There is far too much slow motion and there are certain sequences that could have been squeezed for more. Also, the scares are minimal in this one, missing opportunities to make the audiences squirm.

So, in conclusion, the Resident Evil films are by no means fantastic films, but they are well-suited for a lazy night in, if you crave action. Also, I’ve changed my mind. If you agree with my housemate, don’t bother leaving a comment.

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