The first Resident Evil film, released in 2002, grossed over $100 million worldwide. 2004’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse did even better than its predecessor, taking nearly $130 million. Columnist Roger Ebert proved equally critical of them both, calling Resident Evil a film in which, “large metallic objects make crashing noises just by being looked at,” (ChicagoSun-Times, March 15, 2002) and Resident Evil: Apocalypse, “an utterly meaningless waste of time. There was no reason to produce it, except to make money, and there is no reason to see it, except to spend money. It is a dead zone, a film without interest, wit, imagination or even entertaining violence and special effects.” (ChicagoSun-Times, September 10, 2004.)
All due respect to the honourable Mr. Ebert, but he’s rather too harsh on my favourite B-movie series. There’s a lot to be said for films that know they exist to be B-movie action/horror flicks, and then set out to be the best possible B-movies they can be. They know they have no real statement to make about the human condition, and they revel in it. Zombies! Monsters! Evil corporations and underground bases! Amnesia! Untrustworthy artificial intelligences! Plots!
...And that’s just the first film.
[If you ask me to be serious and self-reflective when talking about Resident Evil, I’ll tell you the truth: there’s no point. If you’re here for logic, not for zombies and the monsters, this is the wrong franchise entirely.]