The video game adaptation sparks a franchise that has soldiered for five sequels. The first film begins with the hive of the Umbrella Corp under a lockdown as a virus spreads through the facility. Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up with a blurry memory inside a mansion. She encounters Matt (Eric Mabius) who claims to be part of the police force when they are captured by a military team. The leader of the team is One (Colin Salmon) who is taking them from the mansion deep underground to stop the evil rogue AI, the Red Queen, beneath Raccoon City.
Alice also has memories of being married to Spence (James Purefoy). She teams up with Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) after most of the team is eliminated by a laser beam hallway. The movie turns into a typical zombie movie from that point on with cheap special effects and over the top action common for a movie directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Audiences have been spoiled with zombie gore since this film was released and this is nowhere near one of the top in this subgenre of horror. The special effects are pretty flimsy and dated too.
There are some plot twists and some background on what was happening in the Umbrella Corporation that led to the release of the T-Virus. The Red Queen as a little girl yet a villainous computer was a decent bit of horror. The creature that stalks after the group and ultimately confronts them in the finale looked terrible but was one of the better parts of the film. My favorite part was the mutated dogs that pursue Alice and she dropkicks or shoots.
Resident Evil wasn't a great start to the series but it got the ball rolling. It establishes that Alice has special abilities and that she is able to kick some zombie ass. The bites in this world don't immediately take effect but do infect enough that eventually, the victims will die. There is talk of a cure but no real proof that it actually works None of the acting is remarkable and the directing takes away from the action by focusing on strange shots that does always help exposition.
At the end of this movie, we see that Alice has been taken away to another Umbrella facility. She wakes up in a hospital bed with tubes attached to her body, like many other zombies films have begun. She walks outside and sees that the whole world has been overrun with zombies. This ending works well setting up for the sequel, which will pick up where this one left off.