8:00 PM, 27th July, 2002
For once, a decent adaptation of a computer game. Perhaps the secret is that it isn't constrained by the source, abandoning the 'haunted mansion' of the game, after a quick (but pretty) opening sequence, for a high-tech secret underground facility where a virus has turned the staff into zombies. A military unit goes in to shut down the facility's computer. Cue much rending of flesh and near-escapes from gnashing teeth.
There hasn't been a decent zombie movie for a while, and what sets Resident Evil apart from the crowd is the way the heroine and her partner recover their memories in fragments, allowing the background of the tragedy at the facility to unfold. It's an unusual splatter movie that doesn't tell you everything in advance. That, and the fusion between horror and small-team combat that Aliens did so well, is what makes it a pretty good film. There's plenty of kinetic camerawork and very loud effects, just to make sure you jump at the right moments. Jovovich does a reasonable job, but for my money the best character was the one played by Rodriguez - someone who, not coincidentally, was reminiscent of Vasquez from Aliens. It's not particularly deep, but it's slick and fast and has 'cult' written all over it. Sequel, anyone?
10:00 PM, 27th July, 2002
Whatever else you might say about this flick, it's good entertainment. Miller plays Simon, a reluctant vampire-killer aided by Plummer as Van Helsing himself. How has he survived into the new millennium you ask? Well, he keeps a ready supply of leeches whose blood gives him immortality! All this so he can keep watch over his family's lifelong nemesis - Dracula.
Plummer gives an excellent performance, probably better than the film deserves. And the new take on Dracula's origins is an interesting concept. I didn't guess it before the reveal (but I usually don't!). Also, this film has one of the most blatant examples of product placement I have ever seen. All I can say is that Virgin must have paid the equivalent of the GDP of a small country!
If you like trashy, high production films, with good-looking babes (including Vitamin C), witty one liners, lots of gore and a 'different' take on vampires... this is the film for you. Hey, that's why I watched it!