Whether or not we decide whether or not we enjoy the 'Resident Evil' film series, one can't really deny its success. They cranked out six movies, each was pretty successful (though none really did gangbusters), and it was a series that managed to set up a lot of continuations through cliff-hangers, and see them through to the end. I might even argue that the way this ends, though not a cliff-hanger, does suggest that things could continue. So far, for yours truly, it has been a steady ride of sinking and plateauing, but never really rising. That is until now, and even having said that, it's still only by a small increment.
So what made this one good to me, while the others played out anywhere from bad to average? Well, it's hard to put my finger on it, but perhaps it's a better idea to get to know my tastes a little more. Whether or not something is good, it can develop some kind of nostalgic factor for me, and I do have this with the first of the films. This came along in 2016 when I was 34 upon its release, concluding a series that's been around since 2002, when I was still 19 upon its release. So the series does cover my twenties, and it's like remembering funky 80s hairstyles. Perhaps they're not particularly close to my heart, but the memories of the 'Resident Evil' movies coming out was simply a part of things. I'm also a sucker for things concluding after a long run, not so much because it ends, but because I always feel like there's more put into a final chapter... unless it's 'Freddy's Dead' or 'Jason Goes to Hell', but I digress.
As the film opens, Alice (Milla Jovovich) does a recap with a bit of history for anyone new coming into things. Founder of Umbrella, Dr. James Marcus (Mark Simpson) had a daughter named Alicia who was dying from progeria - a genetic disorder which makes one appear older than they really are. If you've ever seen the Robin Williams movie, 'Jack' - same deal. In his desperation, Marcus attempts to use the T-Virus on her (not knowing its full effects yet) and various other patients suffering with the disorder. However, they reanimate as zombies, and Marcus tries to shut the program down before things get out of hand. But then Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) has him secretly killed by Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), and adopts Alicia, taking over Umbrella.
The film picks up where the last one left off, as Alice awakens in Washington, DC. The Red Queen (Ever Anderson) hologram pops up and informs Alice about Umbrella developing an airborne anti-virus that's being held back at the Hive - the setting for the first film. If Alice can get her hands on it, and release it, that will mean the eventual end of the T-virus altogether, and may very well also mean Alice's death. During the mission for this film, Alice ends up finding out just how tied in she is with Umbrella's past and, though things do get a little convoluted, I have to admit that I actually appreciated some of the turns this took. They bring in new characters (including new badass female protagonist, Abigail, played by Ruby Rose), bring back old characters (including Ali Larter as Claire Redfield) and things manage to come to a suitable end with one big action-packed feast for the eyes.
I think a big part of why I liked this a little more than the others also has to do with the fact that I saw this with fresh eyes. Ulike all of the previous titles, this was my first viewing. So, much like seeing a 'Fast & Furious' movie these days, there's that matter of knowing exactly what to expect. I went into this knowing that action-wise, it almost had to be parallel to the previous couple of films- if not more (which it was). Put simply, these films have developed a rollercoaster ride reputation, so this time around it was pretty easy for me to just strap in and enjoy the ride, rather than looking for all of the ride's various problems. For whatever reason, this was probably the 'Resident Evil' title that I ultimately had the most fun with as it provided me with a lot of cool visuals that almost made me feel like a kid again.
One's opinion on the 'Resident Evil' series is bound to differ from movie to movie though, and I can see people disagreeing with my thought process here pretty easily. When it comes to these, it sort of just depends on what you're looking for, as each film has it's own little bit of spectacle to it. Unfortunately, if you're looking for any sort of faithful game adaptation, you should probably just stick to the games and avoid these altogether. These movies exist as their own thing, borrowing various elements from the games, as opposed to just being direct adaptations. It seemed to all work out for the franchise in the end, and from what I understand, there's some "remake" stuff going on right now, so we'll have to see what happens. But for now, these can be a fun watch with the right mindset, even if they're not all that great. All you need to do is toss that brain of yours out that window.