Trying To Remember the ‘Resident Evil’ Films

Drew Dietsch
Games Movies
Games Movies

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will mark the sixth entry in the Resident Evil film series. It’s crazy to think that six of these films exist. The series liberally lifts elements from the games it’s based on, usually for strictly visual purposes. How has such a brazenly unfaithful adaptation managed to create more movies than Jaws? More importantly, how have I managed to see all the films? I have no love for this franchise – beyond the Resident Evil remake that was on GameCube – but I’ve still absorbed this entire quintet of craptacular cinema.

The problem is that I don’t really remember these movies too well. So, I thought I’d share with you what I do recall about this bizarre series of flicks. I am going completely off my own memory. I’m not researching anything. That means I may confuse which elements belong in which movie, and I may completely fabricate entire segments because that’s what my brain does. Here we go.

Resident Evil (2002)

resident evil films alice feature hero

The original is probably the one I remember best since I was naively excited for it. Leeloo was starring, and Marilyn Manson was handling parts of the score? Sign me up! Easily the sequence that sticks out is the “laser defense system” bit where people get chopped to pieces. Multiple people get lasered, right? The best one is the guy who thinks he’s beaten it, but then the lasers turn into an unavoidable grid of death. Doesn’t the dude say something like, “Well, shucks,” before he gets turned into meat cubes?

The other notable pieces from this were the Lik-M-Aid monsters and that awful CGI little girl, the Red Queen. She looked like a reject from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. You couldn’t get away from her annoying catchphrase, “You’re all going to die down here.” Cheery. Oh, and Michelle Rodriguez is in this! And she does the whole “hiding my zombie bite from the group” tactic that someone has to do in zombie movies. Not cool, Letty.

Does this one end with Alice waking up in a shower? And she walks out to Raccoon City and it’s all zombified? That sounds about right.

This one gets two and a half laser grids out of five.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

resident evil apocalypse nemesis

Okay, I know that Jill Valentine shows up in this. I only know that because my friend who loved Resident Evil was super stoked that she was going to be in the movie. He was also excited for something called Nemesis. This sent a shiver down my Star Trek fan spine, but it turned out that this Nemesis wasn’t a prepubescent Tom Hardy. No, this Nemesis looked like Chatterer had spent too much time at the gym. Isn’t he the love interest of Alice from the last movie? And she brings out his good side at the very end?

Whatever. This movie has two things every movie should have: motorcycle-fu and running down skyscrapers. Alice bursts into a church and throws a motorcycle at a dude (Nemesis. I’m saying it was Nemesis). She then shoots the motorcycle because throwing it wasn’t cool enough. And then she runs down the side of a skyscraper as it blows up. The rest of the movie is probably boring because that’s all I got for this one.

Two steroid-filled Chatterers out of five.

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

resident evil extinction alice

Extinction is the one where the world turned into a desert. Why? Reasons are dumb. And is this the one where it turns out there’s a bunch of Alice clones? Don’t we see a big pile of them in a ditch or something? And does this one have Oded Fehr from The Mummy? Is Oded Fehr from The Mummy even in these movies? Did I just put Oded Fehr from The Mummy in these movies because I need more Oded Fehr in my life?

Wait, didn’t Russell Mulcahy direct this? And didn’t Russell Mulcahy direct Russell Mulcahy’s Tale of the Mummy? The connections are going all over the place! That probably means there were some cool transitions in this movie, but I can’t seem to remember a specific one. I do remember this movie lifting a lot from Day of the Dead – there’s a whole bit that is directly “homaging” Bub – but at least it’s stealing from one of the best zombie movies in existence.

Is this when the zombies start having graboids pop out of their mouths? If so, this movie is the best one so far. And it ends with all the Alice clones going to kick big baddie Wesker‘s butt. Fun times (I think).

Three and a half Oded Fehrs out of five.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

resident evil afterlife alice

Now this is a movie I remember next to nothing about! Luckily for you, the things I do remember (maybe) are stupidly awesome. The Alice clones get wiped out in the beginning, but then main Alice goes somewhere that’s not a desert. Because the world isn’t a desert anymore. Sequels! She meets up with Captain Cold and Final Destination‘s Ali Larter, and then they fight one of the Hammer Bros. Also, I think her only weapons are a pair of sawed-off shotguns that shoot half dollars. You know what, that’s phenomenal. I’m not being snarky. I genuinely love that.

And this has some crazy teleporting fight with Wesker. If Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 hadn’t taught me that Wesker teleports, I could see this superpower blindsiding an audience. Doesn’t Alice jump in the air and kick a shard of glass at a dog and cut it in half in Afterlife? That alone makes this the best entry in the series.

Four bifurcated Dobermans out of five.

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

resident evil retribution alice

You’d think the most recent film would be the one I have the best recollections of. Well, you’d be wrong. Resident Evil: Retribution is the movie I remember the least! There was that opening that tried to rip off Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead where Alice is a clone in a simulation. Oh yeah! This is the one that reveals how the Umbrella Corporation stupidly spent crazy amounts of money building sets that look like major population centers. And Kevin Durand shows up! More movies need Kevin Durand in them. But I don’t remember anything other than him being in the movie, so I’m going to assume Retribution wasted their Durand opportunity.

I think there’s a bigger Lik-M-Aid monster in this? Like, it’s the size of a tank. And some zombie guy that fires a mounted machine gun? Does Michelle Rodriguez come back to life or am I confusing that with her character in The Fast and the Furious movies? Or is that what Michelle Rodriguez does in every movie series she’s in?

Pretty sure this one ends with Wesker telling Alice that the whole world has been overtaken by Lik-M-Aids and bat Lik-M-Aids. Do they show the White House taken over by zombies? How has Bruce Campbell never shown up in these movies?

One and a half Kevin Durand paychecks out of five.

How Did I Do?

Let us know all the things I left out or misappropriated by tweeting @getfandom. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will probably not be the final chapter (*cough*Friday the 13th Part IV*cough*) when it releases on January 27.

Movies based on video games (generally) suck. Check out our look at the many reasons why it’s so hard to make a good video game adaptation.

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Drew Dietsch
Drew Dietsch has written for CHUD.com, the News-Press, WhatCulture, and releases a weekly film review podcast, The Drew Reviews Podcast. He'll yak your ear off about horror movies, Jaws, RoboCop, and/or Batman if you let him.
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