The finished film comes from Paul Anderson. Paul Anderson first emerged several years earlier with the British crime thriller Shopping (1994) and then came to attention with his second film Mortal Kombat (1995), an enjoyable adaptation from another computer game that proved a success. Since then, Paul Anderson has started shaping up as a genre regular with the likes of the haunted spaceship effort Event Horizon (1997), Soldier (1998) and subsequent to this, AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Death Race (2008), as well as The Three Musketeers (2011) and Pompeii (2014). These days Anderson calls himself Paul W.S. Anderson, presumably to avoid confusion with director Paul Thomas Anderson who made Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), There Will Be Blood (2007) and The Master (2012).
Resident Evil starts promisingly. After a prologue about the outbreak in the complex, there is a captivating opening with Milla Jovovich waking up naked in a palatial mansion without any memory of her identity and then suddenly being pounced on masked commandos and, before she understands anything about what is going on, being dragged on a journey deep underground aboard a high-speed train and into the foreboding laboratory complex. Alas, almost as soon as the film gets inside the complex, Paul Anderson loses it. While he throws up hordes of zombies and big guns, along with various mutant dobermans, big slimy nasties and rogue AIs, little of Resident Evil is standout. The various sequences crossing a pipe over a room of zombies, a corridor of lasers feel like they have been mechanically grafted straight on from game sequences. Resident Evil is so stripped of any plot, outside of pure kinesis, that we rarely even get to know the names of the characters on screen. Milla Jovovich gets to do a couple of slow motion mid-air twirls borrowed from The Matrix (1999) bouncing off walls and kicking mutant dobermans but there is nothing in Paul Andersons action that keeps one on the edge of the seat. Resident Evil is a routine film in all ways. Certainly, in comparison to the games original models, classics like Dawn of the Dead and The Evil Dead, it is absurdly tame this is clear from the moment when someones head gets scrunched between a half-open elevator door and the film chooses to cut to black rather than show any blood.
Resident Evil stars Luc Bessons ex-wife Milla Jovovich who gives a remarkably wooden performance. The film clearly tries to model Alice on Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft, Tomb Raider (2001), crafting her as a heroine who strides between kickass tough and sexy, outfitting her in a mini-skirt, combat boots and a gun. Paul Anderson and cinematographer David Johnson put her through some mean poses but there is nothing more than their efforts to Jovovichs performance.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) was a slightly better sequel and was followed by Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), both featuring return performances from Milla Jovovich. Paul W.S. Anderson was absent as director for both of these but did write the screenplay and produce, before returning to direct Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016). There were three anime films with Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008), Resident Evil: Damnation (2012) and Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017).
Aside from directing the abovementioned, Paul W.S. Anderson has also produced the horror film The Dark (2005), another videogame adaptation DOA: Dead or Alive (2006), the sf film Pandorum (2009), Death Race 2 (2010) and Death Race 3: Inferno (2012).
Other films adapted from video/computer games include:- Super Mario Bros. (1993), Street Fighter (1994), Double Dragon (1994), Wing Commander (1999), Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), Lara Croft, Tomb Raider (2001), House of the Dead (2003), Alone in the Dark (2005), BloodRayne (2005), Doom (2005), DOA: Dead or Alive (2006), Silent Hill (2006), Hitman (2007), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Postal (2007), Far Cry (2008), Max Payne (2008), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Tekken (2010), Angry Birds (2016), Assassins Creed (2016), Warcraft (2016) and Rampage (2018)