Last week I was able to squeeze into my already hectic schedule watching the movie RESIDENT EVIL RETRIBUTION. It was my friend Lou who introduced me to the movie series and I was never able to watch the first one on the big screen. I can still remember the first time that I asked her about the movie series. She said that it was entertaining enough and the action sequences of the movie is really worth watching. Lou has always been a very easy lady to please when it comes to movies and does not bother with intricate plots like I do. Still, I watched the second movie alone and then I bought the first movie on DVD.
Since I watched it relatively backwards, my perspective on the series is different. One, I appreciated the follow up movies much more than the first one. And yet when I watched the very first movie franchise, RESIDENT EVIL, I began to realize why it became such a hit at the time. At the time of its first release in 2002, it was a big challenge to get the movie out on the big screen since there are very few computer games who could cash in on the big screen. Most of the games that were turned into a movie usually don’t make much money or either become a total flop. So what’s the enduring appeal of the RESIDENT EVIL and why it became a success?
I think that the very first thing that I can see works for the the franchise is the star power of Mila Jovovich. From her humble beginning in the movie The Fifth Element, she has made the RESIDENT EVIL movies here main source of income for a decade. True that she has made great films in between like playing the character Joan of Arc and all; but her role as Alice is the most unique. I do not know if the writers were playing with analogies, themes and concepts but whenever I hear the name Alice, my mind immediately thinks of Wonderland and the book of Lewis Carroll. Alice enters into a strange world through the rabbit role. And in this case, Alice enters a strange reality where the undead rule the earth and humanity is nearly almost extinct.
I notice that one of the constant themes that Hollywood films love doing is the concept of the end of the world. The world has ended in different ways. One movie froze the entire planet. Most of the movies are all about alien invasions. Lately, extinction movies are about the plague and the fight for survival from the undead creatures of the night such as vampires and zombies. And yet what is it with zombies that people seem to be more afraid of than vampires? So as Alice tumbles through her earth, the new Wonderland of sorts were precious few people are still alive — it then makes it interesting for me because most of the time, it is always the men who take the lead in survival films and the women who always act as support roles. Think about it. Recent diaster movies such as KNOWING left the earth burned and no female lead role left the planet alive. The movie 2012 also had no strong female character that was grounded on strong leadership skills either. I can only recall John Cusach in that film and that’s about it. Let’s move a few years back to the movie The Day After Tomorrow. I can go on but let’s bring it closer to home. The new television series based on the popular comic book The Walking Dead just recently introduced a strong female leader. But she was not there for two seasons.
In other words, Alice’s character in the RESIDENT EVIL movies stands out among apocalyptic zombie movies as she’s the only female character who for some reason, has managed to survive wave upon wave of zombies and still managed to churn out one spinoff movie to another and after watching the latest movie, it seems to me that they still plan to have another movie after this one. In fact, I dare say that RESIDENT EVIL also help pave the way for other zombie moves to come into existence. From what I recall, the RESIDENT EVIL movie franchise is the first one that talks about zombies as a viral infection killing people and mutating them into undead. Since then this concept has been capitalized by other films such as 28 Days Later, where they introduced the first concept of the “running zombies” that later became the main staple of zombie movies these days. Zombies in general are no longer the slow moving creatures of the night as they used to be in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. These days, zombies have become more intelligent and even wittier than ever.
Overall, I was still entertained by the latest installment of RESIDENT EVIL. Forget about the plot — because there is nothing new that has not been done and nothing that would really be interesting to begin with. What I love about this movie is that there’s never a dull moment and that the movie is short and sweet, making it easy for people to understand and follow. Essentially, it makes the movie more appealing because the latest movie seemed to have been designed for people who have not yet watched any of the previous movies. Unlike in previous films of RESIDENT EVIL, this one had a lengthy introduction of how things begun and how the series started out with the first film. I like it because it does not assume that people who watched it before would watch it again and gives people more reason to watch it without watching the previous movies.
Yet in the end, I will not be surprised that sales of the previous films DVDs goes up after watching the RESIDENT EVIL EXTINCTION. That’s also one of the purposes of having sequels and having spinoffs. It’s a business and a fantastic one at that as one becomes “infected” with the concept of the undead. The question now is, are we truly alive or are we just sleeping awake? Or are we walking around like zombies already dead to the very life that is around us? Perhaps it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee or bite the bullet before it bites you.