Say what you will about Enron and Worldcom and Tyco, at least they never allowed their artificially intelligent mainframe to kill all the employees of their secret underground headquarters after a killer virus was unleashed by mercenary techno-terrorists. Yep, you can say a lot of things about those companies, but their underground headquarters weren’t at all secret.
No such luck in RESIDENT EVIL, the “film” based on the “popular” video game about shooting things, where employees of “the Hive” are drowned, decapitated, and brutally edited right out of existence by the Red Queen, the holographic representation of the Hive’s supercomputer, modeled (we’re told) after the programmer’s extremely creepy, extremely English daughter. I’m not blaming these workers for winding up dead of a flesh-eating virus and all, but maybe the first clue that you had made a poor career choice was that the interface for your timesheet is a weird little holographic girl. That, and your office is called “the Hive.”
And, as anyone with a bee infestation can tell you, hive residents are not easy to get rid of. These particular ones are more difficult than most, as they have a nasty habit of coming back from the dead. (Or maybe they’re just really hung over. And missing eyeballs. Hard to say.) Enter Ukrainian supermodel Milla Jovovich, fresh from being annoying and mostly naked in THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Here she wakes up naked and curled up in the shower with no memory. Which, I have to say, really brings back memories of that one summer I was a roadie for Motley Crue…
Eventually Milla finds some clothes and wanders around the house a bit, getting frightened by curtains and animals that appear for no scientifically valid reason. Then, sensing a trend, armed commandos burst in through the windows for no reason and grab her. Bolstered by the success of this utterly pointless move, they elect to bring the amnesiac supermodel along on their highly dangerous mission into the top-secret hot zone, grabbing a few additional random people along the way just for kicks. Because what’s a highly sensitive mission without a bunch of untrained, useless deadweight along to really screw things up?
Miraculously, they arrive at their destination with only half their team dead. Their mission is to shut down the creepy little girl computer, who doesn’t have an “off” switch, which should definitely be a feature on Creepy Little Supercomputer Girl 2.0. Honestly, no one wants to carry around an electromagnetic pulse generator just so they can reboot whenever Outlook freezes.
Before she’s pulsed, Li’l Creepy warns them that shutting her down will have serious consequences, but, in keeping with the sort of decision making that got half their team killed, they do it anyway. And right on time, the zombies show up and mistake the group for bacon. They have been ravaged by a virus that brings the dead back to life by, in effect, jump starting the body’s engine, but not the stereo or the odometer or the little computer that controls the fuel mixture that costs $650 to repair. I’m pretty sure the cigarette lighter works, but the ashtray’s full. At $3200, it’s a steal.
So apparently, these jumpstarted dead people’s only remaining drive is hunger. And, for the undead, they sure seem to be picky eaters, because they never try to eat the drywall or the light fixtures or each other. Which brings up a worrisome issue: We see the zombies eat at least two guys, but what happens then? Can zombies be full? Can they gain weight? Do they poop? Because if they do, I’m pretty sure it has to be the worst thing in the world. But then, maybe the whole purpose of the Hive’s research is to harness the awesome potential military uses of zombie poop.
The movie, sadly, never delves into the obvious potential of the dung of the dead, instead preferring to let Milla kick things, mostly in the head. But like most movies adapted from video games, it’s akin to having a dickweed friend who never lets you have a turn with the controller. And with friends like that, who needs creepy English computer holograms?
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