The Resident Evil Film Franchise


The Resident Evil films (written, produced and occasionally directed by Paul W.S. Anderson) have been going strong for over a decade now. I became a fan after the first film and have been following the series loyally ever since. The franchise has also gone through quite a lot of changes, from a claustrophobic horror film to an action-flick, a post-apocalyptic road-trip to the heavily 3D oriented slow-motion fests of the past two instalments.

The first three movies in the series are absolutely worth seeing. Despite some silly elements, they all have their own particular nature and the intensity of the story-line which follows Alice from one Zombie disaster to another was extremely interesting. I also felt this set of three films ended appropriately with the confrontation with Dr. Isaacs, who is really built up as the main villain of these first three movies.

Resident Evil: Afterlife was the first movie where I had some serious misgivings about the direction the series was headed into. I found it entertaining and action-packed, but it felt like the spectacle had taken over and the story-line really didn’t matter so much anymore. This can be seen in many of the rather hamhanded writing choices Anderson went through. Generally put though, Afterlife felt like a very forced sequel. There was still a reasonable level of expectations after the first and the second film. I hated that Anderson left the ending of the third movie open though (especially after it was announced prior to release that it was supposed to be the final film of the series).

As discussed in my review though, it felt like the fifth film, Retribution, finally brought the story back into focus which perhaps slightly then hurt the entertainment factor of the film (in these regards Afterlife and Retribution are very much mirror images of each other). It left me with a lightly optimistic sensation for the sixth movie which Anderson and Jovovich have announced as not “necessarily” being the final film of the series, but apparently the final film in the Alice story-arc. I don’t know if this means they’ll actually continue the franchise beyond the sixth film without Alice (which would indicate her getting killed off), but it would finally be nice to see some conclusion to the series.

However, Afterlife and Retribution are by average of a lower stock of film compared to the first three movies. They both have good things about it, but now whether I would consider this last set of three films to be worth-while is really going to depend on the sixth movie, whatever it will be called. And here I still have a creeping sensation Anderson’s going to leave the backdoor open again. It’s annoying since they’ve really been doing this since the first movie. The first movie’s open ending was ominous and cool, it worked – but doing the same thing four more times has started to become quite repetitive.

The point of this blog was just for me to let people know what’s going on with the franchise. If you’ve never seen the series before, take a look at the first movie and if you like it I can recommend the two following it (Apocalypse and Extinction). However, beyond that, it would be safer to wait and see what becomes of the sixth movie before you decide to devote yourself to watch the fourth or fifth films.