Resident Evil
Original VCD
(Review copy supplied by

Movie: * * *
* * 

Starring : Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez
Directed by: Paul W.S.Anderson
Language : English
Subtitles : None (No subtitles)

Resident Evil has Milla Jovovich in army boots! And a skimpy red dress! Blasting away human flesh eating zombies! And mutant zombie Rottweilers! By the director of Event Horizon and Mortal Kombat!

Sounds like your cup of tea? Then it probably is. And to be honest I too had a fun time watching this horror/action/sci-fi flick about a secret underground lab facility owned by the sinister Umbrella Corporation being over-run by the living dead and the elite commando team sent to investigate. Fast-paced and action-packed, there isn't a dull moment. Speaking of zombies, one almost wishes that this guy instead of George Lucas directed Attack of the Clones! When that improbable romance between Princess Whatsisname and Young Darth Vader gets dull, this director would probably enliven things by letting them be unexpectedly attacked by a monster with a nine-foot tongue!

THE DISC: This is the "original version" VCD sent to me, compliments of the web-based in Malaysia. So it's the official VCDs then, not some hack pirate job and one can see it in the professional finish. It comes on two discs in a thin jewel case. Unlike most CDs and VCDs, it doesn't have the usual sleeve covers, but instead a slightly oversized carton container. Nice. (For more info regarding the VCD format, check out my Final Fantasy VCD review and this link on what it is and how to play them.)

The discs themselves are single-minded, a bit like the zombies in this movie. No trailers or extra featurettes whatsoever. VCDs use MPEG compression and this shows its limitations in some of the darker underlit scenes where the red colours bleed off the edges. Otherwise, the usual artefacting can be expected occasionally. All in all it is quite acceptable quality for the VCD format, which in all fairness cannot be compared to DVD.

Where this disc truly shines however is in its digital sound: excellent stereo that really packs a punch. Forget about VHS: the Marilyn Manson soundtrack (that's right) and ambient sound effects comes across quite clearly here. You'll want to crank up the volume to 11 to get the most out of it and terrify the neighbour's pets.

(One odd thing though: when the discs end, they don't stop but start from the beginning again on my DVD player. Your experience could be different on another DVD player, but it's no biggie: just press the Stop button, eject and insert the next disc.)

WORTH IT? Man, the VCD sells for about a third of what the DVD will cost you. (The Amazon list price is $27.96 for the DVD and will charge you $7.88 for the VCD. All prices exclude shipping.) Note the tense used as well: the DVD will only be shipped from from the 30th of July. operates fast and will send you the discs via Fedex (with a tracking number so that you can see on the Internet where they are at any given time). 

If you order now, then you'll probably have your discs before your show-off pals get their DVDs. Like a CoolVCD rep told me: "Normally if the customer orders two or more pics, we will send it out by express post which takes about 3-6 working days. If they order four pics and above we will ship it out by courier service. However, if they only order one pic, we will ship it out by general postal order which usually takes 14 - 28 working days." 

RECOMMENDATION: I read somewhere recently that huge American media conglomerates aren't exactly quite keen on having the VCD format in the States. This is because they fear their huge DVD and VHS profits being undercut by this much cheaper format. So strike back at these evil multinationals like the, um, Umbrella Corporation, Enron and Worldcom today by ordering your first VCD.

Find out why it so popular elsewhere in the world today . . . (By the way, Resident Evil will make a great double bill along with the ultraviolent Ninja Scroll anime which I also recently watched on VCD.)


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