STARRING: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes

2002, 100 Minutes, Directed by: Paul Anderson

A powerful supercomputer named the Red Queen (!?) running a huge underground research facility located underneath Raccoon City (!?) goes amok when a deadly virus is unleashed. The research facility is owned by an evil 21st century multinational corporation named the Umbrella Corporation (who thought up all these names?); a bit like Enron I suppose, but not quite as evil. The supercomputer, in a bit of twisted logic, kills off all the people in the facility to contain the virus. One suspects that the computer is a bit of a sadist when one considers the inventive and cruel ways she (it?) goes about killing off all the unsuspecting office workers. But then again, naming your powerful computer after the psycho queen in Alice in Wonderland is probably asking for it . . .

An elite commando team is sent to investigate. Despite having to deal with a crazy computer that makes HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey look like the very picture of mental health, the virus has changed all the dead researchers and office workers into the living undead, human flesh eating zombies! Pretty much like one's own co-workers, I guess. The team includes the babe from The Fifth Element dressed in a sexy red dress and, um, combat boots. As you might have guessed by now, we're not exactly talking Citizen Kane territory here.

Quick. What's the last mainstream Hollywood zombie movie you saw?

No, Attack of the Clones isn't one (even though it feels that way). And no, I couldn't think of one either. Resident Evil is based on a computer game, but even if you didn't know that you would have guessed it. Whereas other action flicks such as Predator and Aliens spent some time on bare bones characterization, this movie is as single minded as the zombies in it, which we are told, only wants to satisfy basic needs. The movie wastes no time at all in getting down to the action and the dialogue consists mostly of barked commands as the elite team infiltrates the underground labs.

Horror and action fans will lap it up. I also had a fun time watching it. Hey, how can one not like a movie with Milla Jovovich blasting away disfigured and shuffling zombies? It's nothing we hadn't seen before, but the pace is fast and there are some great action set pieces (I loved a bit involving slicing lasers taken almost entirely from Cube). Did I mention it has zombie Rottweilers too? Yup, you've been warned . . .

By the way, Paul Anderson whose previous movies included Event Horizon and Soldier directs the movie. Resident Evil is better than both: a lot more fun and tense. It resembles the recent Ghosts of Mars, but doesn't drag like that movie did. The soundtrack is by one Marilyn Manson, America's bad boy of rock before Eminem took over from him.

Also, I just loved that ending. They used to end movies like that in the 1970s . . .


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