It’s the week of Halloween, everybody, and my Man With No Name Costume is fabulous
This Monday I thought I’d do something scary like check out the 2002 flick Resident Evil based upon the popular game series of the same name. Now, it’s not the movie that was scary, at least not intentionally. It’s when I moused over and saw that the movie was an hour and forty minutes long that truly frightened me.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in a mansion with no memory of who she is or what happened. A special forces team sent by the Umberella (ella, ella, ey, ey, ey) Corporation to investigate what happened in the secret lab underground beneath the mansion. Turns out there was a deadly viral outbreak (see: ZOMBIES!) and the Lab’s AI (The Red Queen) has quarentined the lab and killed everybody inside.
You know, it’s not often that you get a decapitation in the first 5 minutes of the movie, Kudos do need to be given for that one.
There’s this whole decoy protagonist in the beginning of the film (She’s the one stuck in that elevator door to the right) that you follow the whole time during the outbreak’s beginnings and the Red Queen’s purge. And you know what? That was kind of interesting, it sort of makes you sympathize for the people who will show up as zombies later.
Now that my contractually-obligated praise is out of the way. Let’s get down to business.
Don’t just turn your brain off to watch this movie; take it out and store it somewhere safe, because Resident Evil will punish it harshly for trying to apply logic to anything you see.
First off, let’s start with the special forces team that gets sent in. Did the script specifically call for EVERY stereotype and Cliche?
OH HEY! Michelle Rodriguez, you’re in this! I’ll be looking forward to watching you die as per usual.
TWICE no less! Once as a human and once as a zombie!
And despite their cool guns and hard core attitudes, they seem to graduate from the same marksmanship school as the Imperial Stormtroopers and the A-Team.
I’d also like to point out that despite this being a Resident Evil film, a zombie doesn’t appear until a full 45 minutes into the film.
Nobody goes to these things and pays money to see the kind of deep plot and character arcs from the guy who also brought us the Mortal Kombat films!
I’ve heard of the Laser Hallway being hyped up as a really cool scene. But it’s just kind of silly and gratuitous. At least it kills off half the team so we don’t have to listen to them any more.
“Wait, why didn’t you just do that in the beginning. You wasted five minutes playing with them. I can’t get those five minutes back, movie! I could have learned a few words in Chinese or something!”
Also, why does the Red Queen’s weapon system use a Car alarm noise?
Also also, Resident Evil is 一个糟糕的电影
And it’s sad, because I actually like the Resident Evil games. Yes, I know that none of them are terribly well written and you need at least a few white-boards and several scientists to keep track of the stupid plot arc. But they’re fun and part of my childhood and this kind of leaves a brown stain on that.
I’d also like to talk about Alice’s “amnesia” for a little bit from a scientific standpoint. I’m a psychology student, so this kind of Hollywood amnesia bullshit really gets to me.
First off, there are two major types of amnesia: Anterograde and Retrograde
Retrograde amnesia is when parts of your past memory are lost or disrupted
Anterograde amnesia is when the part of your brain that transfers short-term memory and codes it into long-term memory (the hippocampus) gets damaged and you can no longer remember NEW things that happen to you (It’s like blacking out from alcohol, except for a much longer period). Retrograde amnesia is pretty damn rare, usually what people get is Anterograde amnesia from some sort of injury.
So Alice has some Retrograde Amnesia. It erases her whole life and is caused by being knocked unconscious by some gas. So far, so shitty.
Usually with Retrograde Amnesia, it’s the more recent life events that get disrupted, the really old stuff is usually unaffected. But oddly enough (and I say oddly because I doubt that Paul W.S. Anderson researched this), the movie does get some parts right. Usually with Amnesia (both Retrograde and Anterograde) it is the Episodic Memory that is affected. You see, there are multiple types of Memory. Your episodic memory is “I had bacon and eggs for breakfast yesterday”; your declarative memory is “Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States”, it’s the facts you know, but can’t recall when you learned them or experienced them.
Your procedural memory is what you can do- walking, crawling, playing the piano, you get the gist. With Amnesia, your procedural and declarative memory usually stay intact. This actually means that even with such severe Retrograde Amnesia, Alice would still be able to speak normally and remember how to fire a gun.
Overall, I guess I’d tentatively recommend this movie. It’s bad, sloppy, and generally stupid. But it’s actually pretty fun and amusing (in the bad sort of way). If you’re looking for some schlock this Halloween, you could do much worse. It’s one of those films where if it’s on TV late at night and you’re sitting around with your friends, it can really be enjoyable. That being said it’s a piece of Zombified shit.
Join me next week where I tackle Red Heat, starring Arnold Schwazenegger as a Russian cop and Jim Belushi as a Chicago detective partnered up to take down a drug lord.
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