Pro's: Well it was either that or Big Brother to watch last night, and even my life is to short to watch that crap!
Voice acting was at times almost good – although the voices never matched what you would expect the characters to have (Leon with a deep voice for e.g. – when he looks like a West Life reject)
At least it was not directed by the cinematic criminal Michael 'Pearl Harbour' Bay
Plot – Waffer thin (to be said in a Monty Python French accent) and very contrived, with no surprises or real suspense
Used the standard 'Where surrounded by flesh eating Zombies, so need to watch each others backs' suspense tool: "Let's split up!" – yeah, right you would do that in the real world!
G-Virus – Viruses, even synthetic ones still have to follow Darwinian laws (i.e. survival of the fittest), so for one of the mutation effects to be a 1 meter diameter eye ball where the crown of the shoulder should be, which as part of the movie was shown to be a venerable and weak point. I mean come on a meter wide soft spot – it should have had a big neon sign above it saying 'shoot here please' yet a whole squad of soldiers putting thousands of 5.56mm rounds and 40mm grenades down range managed to completely miss it whilst being giving a kicking. Did they attend The A Team school of rifle marksmanship as they could not hit a barn door from inside of the barn!
Lip Syncing – What can you say it was like watching a badly dubbed Sonny Chiba Kung Fu movie at times, with lips and mouth movements not being even close to what was being said – welcome back to the 1970's and imported Schlock Suey cinema!
The Kid – So annoying I would have gladly thrown her to the Zombies for a bit a piece and quiet, totally superfluous to the plot development of the piece in general.
Plot Hole – If the previous nuking of Racoon City (from the game) was needed to eradicate the T-Virus, why the hell did they send people into WilPharm when the government knew exactly what they had there? In the words of Ripley from Aliens (1986) "Why don't we just bug out and nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure!"
Animation – Considering that the movie is less than a year old (late 2008 release – straight to video!) the standard of animation was woeful, it is only on a par with Saturday morning fare such as the new adventures of Captain Scarlet and the very good but short lived Starship Troopers spin off CGI series. If you consider just how almost photo realistic that 2001's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (yet another game franchise movie – with a ridiculous plot) was, with detail even like the movement of hair being almost real, it makes RE:D look a very lazy effort indeed.
Summary: Whilst this movie is in no way as bad as the live action Resident Evil –Milla Jovovich (Well, hello, pretty lady!!!) money spinners – it does highlight that this type of movie is based on two very tired formats, ZOMBIES and VIDEO GAME tie ins. Whilst some zombie movies were original and seminal for their time, such movies as George A Romero's original zombie trilogy Night of the living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) or the surprisingly scary 1943 classis "I walked with a Zombie " for examples, this movie just seemed formulaic and bland.
Sadly this seems to be the norm now with new movies simply being lightly re-hashed versions of things you have already seen a million times (this is especially true with the schock horror flicks like Texas Chainsaw etc). However from time to time the odd gem still turns up to give you faith in the genre. Films such as Return of the Living Dead (1985 - hilarious comedy value), Shaun of the Dead (2004 and again a comedy, which borrows more than a little from Return in it's script) and the James Gunn written 2004 re-make of Dawn of Dead (better for Gunn's sharp and witty scripting – which was further highlighted in his darkly comic and accomplished directorial debut 'Slither' in 2006), prove that the format can still work when done properly. Other Zombie/Virus classics that need a notable mention should include The Crazies (1973 and again a Romero flick), Danny Boyle's classic and innovative (1st film ever done completely on a hand held digi cam) Brit Flick - 28 Days Later (2002, kind of a mixture of classic zombies with a 'Day of the Triffids' twist) and the more recent 2008 films Quanrantine and Doomsday (Mad Max meets the Zombies!).
Foot note: Video game tie in movies have a history of being truly dreadful. Such movies that have disgraced the silver screen in the past range from Street Fighter (Kylie and Van Damme!), Super Mario Brothers (what was Bob Hoskins on?) and Mortal Kombat for e.g. where the vanguard of an influx of some truly dreadful games based cinema. Blood Rayne (with Kristina 'T3's TX' Loken) and the lamentable Alone in the Dark (Christian Slater paying his mortgage I fear, rather than caring about his craft) highlight that some stories simply do not have the inbuilt narrative to work well as a 1.5hr mainstream movie. Game to movies should be stopped before it get's even more ridiculous and the likes of 'Sensible Soccer: The Movie' are released to scar are brains and retinas with their cinematic filth!
Conclusion: If you want to watch a game based movie, stick DOOM in the DVD player, admittedly it's not Citizen Kane, but it's the best of a bad bunch.
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