It’s the living vs. the undead in the gory horror thriller Resident Evil, a brutal grudge match of genetically engineered proportions. Chaos ensues when a huge underground research facility known as the Hive gets contaminated by a vicious virus designed to reanimate dead cells. A supercomputer named Red Queen seals all of the employees inside in an effort to contain the leak. Chances of survival: zero. Soon after, a team of military commandos enters the Hive to isolate the virus, only to learn that the deceased workers have been transformed into ravenous zombies who add to their number by infecting healthy humans. To save the earth, the task force has three hours to navigate mazes and obstacles, and work their way from one level to another amid flurries of violence. Goals include finding an anti-virus, defeating the computer and making it back to the surface. Sort of sounds like a video game, doesn’t it? It’s hardly any wonder. This sci-fi adventure/horror flick is loosely based on a popular game in which players blast the rotting flesh off of mutated zombies.
positive elements: On separate occasions, characters in peril put the group’s safety ahead of their own. The film condemns irresponsible corporations and scientists who think they’re above the law, and play God through genetic engineering. An opportunist planning to sell the deadly virus to the highest bidder is vilified.
sexual content: Before Alice can don a robe, the camera catches some side breast nudity. Quick-cut flashbacks of a sexual encounter show a couple rolling and clinching in bed. Rain uses a crude term for intercourse.
violent content: When the virus escapes and the workers find themselves trapped, some are gassed, others drown and still others die in runaway elevators (it’s implied that a woman half in/half out of an elevator door gets decapitated when it restarts). Disfigured, decomposing zombies converge on soldiers, clawing and biting them. The heavily armed task force fights back by karate-kicking them or mowing them down with round after round of gunfire (it seems a severed spinal column or massive head wound is all that can stop them, so bullets mainly just slow the creatures down). A zombie takes an axe to the head (implied). Mutated canines and a gruesome monster with a huge tongue chase humans. The latter catches up to one and devours his "fresh DNA," leaving a bloody mess. Four soldiers get caught in a hallway and, hard as they might try, can’t evade a laser beam which cleanly decapitates one, slices another in half at the midsection, takes off the third’s fingers and finally shifts from a straight line to a crosshatch pattern, which dices the last officer like someone in a Tom & Jerry cartoon running through a chain-link fence.
crude or profane language: About 30 profanities or obscenities, a third of which are f-words. Also several misuses of the Lord’s name.
drug and alcohol content: People inject themselves with an anti-virus, but there’s no recreational drug or alcohol use.
conclusion: Creepy. And those employees-turned-zombies are really angry! Perhaps it’s because they’re stuck roaming around for eternity with hundreds of rotting coworkers. Or it could be all those hours of unpaid overtime. Regardless, when they go on a rampage, it gets ugly. Jumping out of the corners of the screen. Baring their bloodstained teeth. Although extremely graphic in places, Resident Evil seems equally interested in giving audiences sudden jolts. An obnoxious, over-modulated rock score pounds home every piece of action. In the end, it was far too violent, gory and ridiculous to make me care about who sabotaged the lab or why. I just wanted the rampage to end.