The Resident Evil Movies

Resident Evil (2002)

Yo it me your favorite Paul W.S. Anderson apologist here to remind you that the Resident Evil movies are good actually??? Like, this one is basically just a perfectly passable zombie movie with one or two Resident Evily elements and really bad CGI and the sequels are basically just perfectly passable action hero vehicles for Milla Jovovich (think an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie but with a hot lady instead of him) with one or two Resident Evily elements and bad CGI and yeah I’ll take it!! Also it’s Paul W.S. Anderson so everything is brightly lit and the camera is always moving like Michael Bay but for some reason less offensively like there’s a different universe where Anderson had Bay’s slot as the super actually successful director with this kind of style that studios actually trust with money AND I WANT THAT UNIVERSE, GUYS. I want that universe.

Oh also I’m very gay for Michelle Rodriguez in this one and she says a few very horny/dommy things and I’m into it.

Anyway, yeah. These are fun. I like them.

(B-Rank)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

It’s tempting to say the reason this is the worst one is because Paul W.S. Anderson didn’t direct it (at least, it is for me), but Extinction is the only other one not directed by Anderson and it might actually be my favorite of the series? (I think it’s that one or The Final Chapter. We’ll see!) And also, like, Apocalypse isn’t the worst of the series by much! It kind of stuck in my mind as The Bad One for years, but really it’s on about the same level as the rest of its siblings, just a bit behind them. And it’s the start of Milla Jovovich: Action Hero being the central thrust of these movies, so, that’s awesome!

Resident Evil is badly overdue for one of those It’s Good Actually popular critical renaissances like Fast & Furious got, but I don’t think it’s ever gonna happen, and that’s just really sad!

Oh well. Just come over here to the cool kids table with me and watch Milla Jovovich crash a motorcycle through a stained glass window. I made Rice Krispy treats!

(B-Rank)

Resident Evil: Extinction

Yeah, this is still pretty easily a contender for my favorite of the series. That may partially be nostalgia from this being one of the only ones I saw in theaters, but I also just genuinely like it as a movie. I really like the post-apocalyptic/survival vibe, and the desert setting really enhances that! Though, it’s kinda silly how they have a whole plot point about how the virus is causing a mass desertification of the planet and then this is set in… Utah and Nevada. Still, though. Zombies in the desert is a fun vibe. And all-powerful Alice rules.

(A-Rank)

Resident Evil: Degeneration

I remembered liking this one a lot better, but I also didn’t remember anything that happened after the airport, so there’s that. It is good to see everyone’s favorite twink zombie fighter, don’t get me wrong. But yeah, I definitely prefer the more off-book Alice movies. Sorry!

(C-Rank)

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Excuse me, I’m sorry, Extinction didn’t even last ONE MOVIE as my favorite this time. AMAZING WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GIVE PAUL W.S. ANDERSON SOME MONEY, THOUGH. The opening sequence, starting with the stunningly good credits montage and continuing all the way through the Alice army’s assault on Wesker’s base KICKS ASS, the fights (especially with the axe guy in the prison shower and with Wesker at the end) are amazing, and they keep finding more ways to make it feel like a video game in all the best ways.

I remember my main impressions of this one being that it gets bogged down with too much plot (dunno what I was thinking here) and that Wentworth Miller is badly miscast as Chris (I was right, but I kinda don’t care because I like Wentworth Miller better than Chris).

Uh. Yeah. This KICKS ASS.

(A-Rank)

Resident Evil: Retribution

Maybe a slight step down from Afterlife, but still a lot of fun! And actually ties a lot of things together and explains a lot of things going as far back as the first movie that didn’t really make much sense at the time..

It feels like they included their garbage version of Leon completely out of some weird obligation to include some new game element in each film, but Ada kicked ass so kinda an even split there, and I’m glad the movie included her badass knife fight intro from RE4. Just, RE 4 was the first RE game I actually played, so I actually care about how little the rando resembled Leon unlike Wentworth Miller as Chris.

But yeah. The Alice & two boys vs. Jill & Rain fight was one of the best things in the entire series! Especially the way Rain just kicks everyone’s ass and totally trivialized the two boys. What a freaking beast.

(B-Rank)

Resident Evil: Damnation

So uh. You’re writing a zombie/action movie that has a heavy side dose of political thriller, right? And you need a form of government that concentrates wealth in the hands of a small elite at the expense of the larger populace, leading to a rapidly widening gap between rich and poor and the de facto establishment of a ruling oligarchy. But you put a friendly face on it! A woman! The first woman to ever be president! Progress/girlboss/more(clap)women(clap)guards/etc! And you think to yourself, “Hmm. What form of government would lead to that kind of situation? Like, that kind of exact situation that we are clearly in? Right now? In this country? The capitalist one?” And then it hits you. “I know! COMMUNISM!”

Anyway, everything I just said happens in the incredibly overbearing opening narration, so it’s likely that I didn’t really give this one much of a chance given that my mood immediately soured. Our favorite twink zombie hunter does get tied up for a good stretch of the movie, so that’s pretty rad. Kinda weird they didn’t just gag him rather than threatening him with a knife every time they needed to shut him up, though.

Some of the action scenes were pretty ok, I guess. Idk. Like I said, I didn’t really give it a chance.

(C-Rank)

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

I remembered being a bit higher on this one, but I think that’s mostly because I remembered the unexpectedly emotionally-resonant ending more vividly than the rest of the movie which was honestly kind of a slog in places. But like. It’s a fucking Resident Evil movie, so it’s still good. (Yes, I know that’s not the opinion most people have of this franchise.) Just… not as good as I remember.

Kinda super wish Ruby Rose hadn’t been so unceremoniously killed off. They make everything they’re in gayer, and this series was already plenty gay to begin with.

Also, this is probably the only time in the series that I wish the previous movie’s cliffhanger hadn’t basically been ignored in favor of them doing whatever they felt like doing? And the way they wiggled out of it with Wesker stabbing them in the back kinda makes no sense? Like, why give Alice her powers back if you weren’t actually on the same side??? And swapping him out in favor of Dr. Isaacs as the big bad of this movie is just kinda weird. I just care 0% about Isaacs.

The final fight ending up in the laser hallway ruled, though. And Alice being willing to sacrifice herself to save everyone and having her amnesia explained (… even though I thought they did that in Retribution…) and then sorta cured at the same time just tied up so many plot points at once in such an emotionally satisfying way.

So, yeah. Definitely in the lower half or so of live action Resident Evil movies, but like… these movies rule! So that’s not exactly a bad place to be.

(B-Rank)

Resident Evil: Vendetta

Switching out Leon for Chris didn’t do this movie any favors. Leon is at least a twink, so like. Eye candy. And you generally buy his peril more. Chris is the walking avatar of Generic Musclebound White Male Protagonist they stuck in the first game because they weren’t brave enough to just let Jill be the only protagonist. He was also weirdly off-model in this one, which is wild to me because surely one of the biggest advantages of a CGI adaptation over a live action one is that you can just make them look exactly like the video game models? Oh also when Leon did show up they tried to make him all haggard and shit, and like, sorry I’m just not buying it. Dude is a prettyboy.

The beginning with the mansion honestly kinda ruled? As did the first few scenes with Rebecca. I’m enough of an RE novice (I’ve only played a bit of RE1, all of RE4 and RE5, and like maybe 5 minutes of RE6) that I didn’t even realize she was from the video games (yeah, I’m a fake geek boy), which makes her large role in this make more sense in retrospect. But yeah, her bullying her coworker/coffee bitch was wonderful. And she wasn’t even close to the femdommiest character in this!! That would be Maria, the baddie who walks around in boots and a leather dress and chokes bitches out. (I want to be bitches! No fair!)

The main plot of the movie, and the main baddie, though, are… eh. The two fistfights between him and Chris fucking rule, though? In spite of them both being such nothing characters? So that’s impressive, honestly!

But yeah, other than that, can’t say much about the main plot really did much for me. Mostly what I enjoyed about it was some of the character stuff and some unintentional humor. Like, when the main baddie’s family is tragically murdered in a drone strike at their wedding, he picks up her arm out of the rubble and it’s meant to be grisly and poignant, but it’s just impossible to take seriously because of the way it’s animated. That, and so many characters are given reasons to want revenge throughout the movie, that every time it happened we just kept saying, “Oh no, now he has a Resident Evil Vendetta!” I guess you can’t argue the title isn’t an accurate reflection of the story!

Oh and thank you for having Rebecca’s aforementioned coffee bitch bring her her coffee in what was blatantly a Starbucks cup and having her order make no sense so I got to pause the movie to explain to my partners why it made no sense. Appreciate that one!

Overall this is probably the best of the three CGI movies, but I’m afraid that just really doesn’t say much for the series as a whole. They’re all just kinda lukewarm. I just find myself struggling to give a damn.

(C-Rank)

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

I think I love this nearly exactly as much as I love the Paul W.S. Anderson movies but for basically the opposite reasons? Which is honestly kinda exactly the way to go when you’re rebooting a series.

It is super, super clear that the people making this either love Resident Evil games or did a ton of research, and either way the end result is an amazingly faithful adaptation that is creepy in exactly the same ways as the early games from what I’ve seen of them. And like… it’s not “scary” exactly? But it’s a really distinct mood and I really dig it. Also it feels like they basically mashed together the plots of the first two games, and it super works!! The biggest thing they actually seemed to change was race swapping a bunch of the protagonists to make the cast less oppressively white, which if you’ve been reading my reviews for long you probably already know I’m very in favor of.

I’ve seen a lot of people complain that the characters are paper thin, and like… yeah, kinda? But I really enjoyed what they did bring to the screen with pretty much all of them. I especially love that our favorite zombie-killing twink Leon was a dumbass fuckup in this one, and was constantly getting berated by badass Claire. It was such a great dynamic!

I also loved all of the cheeky late-90s references, especially the intentionally blatant “product placement”-framed shot of a Sony landline phone.

Everything added up to a movie that was perhaps greater than the sum of its parts simply by virtue of having the same very specific mood as the games. I definitely hope this one does well, because I’d love to see sequels!

(B-Rank)


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