I saw the first Resident Evil and hated it. Then I watched Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and haven’t really forgiven the person who made me do so. The third falls somewhere in between, bridging the gap between bad zombie cliché and unwatchable zombie tripe.
There’s a difference between something being not being good and something being bad. This film does both. It’s “not good” because it’s a boring zombie movie with barely any zombies in it. For a movie based on a game series that is so suspenseful, once again, there is no suspense to speak of, and no really great action to make up for it. Throughout, I kept checking my watch to see how much longer this was going to be.
It’s a bad movie because of the layers of shit it piles on top of you. Whether it’s the zombie movie clichés (like the guy who finds out he’s infected, but doesn’t tell anyone it’s too late), the doctor who seems genuinely interested in helping the world, but oh wait, we can’t think like that because he’s evil and we know that because he just locked two men in a cage with a feral zombie so that he doesn’t get his suit dirty, the wretched dialogue (“Vegas is our best bet”), not to mention the enormous where-the-fuck-did-that-come-from of Alice becoming telekinetic. Even though she has acquired and shown the ability to use these new psionic powers, she nonetheless engages her enemies (whether it’s a horde or just one super-zombie) with guns first, hand-to-hand second, and, if it occurs to her, psychic powers last. I realize that it would be kind of a disappointing movie to just have Milla Jovovich psychically blow up the head of every zombie she encounters, but when faced with a tidal wave of zombie carnage, is using two knives really the best way to win?
Then, of course, at the end, Alice decides that she is going to threaten the corporation that is behind all of this. Great in theory, except for the fact that Umbrella is the most powerful company in the world, and if anyone is going to find a cure for this whole zombie issue, it’s them. So, instead of deciding to 1) offer her help, 2) go off and let them do their thing and just try to take out as many zombies as possible, she 3) interrupts their secret communication in order to say that she’s coming for them, with the help of her clone army. Even writing this out now, I’m making it sound cooler than the movie actually is. The excitement that you felt picturing this scenario is probably about twice as good. So hold on to that imaginary scenario you’ve created and treasure it. Don’t taint it by actually watching the movie.