Welcome to Screenpunk! We document all things media. ENJOY!

Report Card - The 'Resident Evil' Franchise

Report Card - The 'Resident Evil' Franchise

On 'Report Card' I choose a director or film franchise; usually one that has released a movie recently and grade them on an "A+" to "F" scale. All of the film grades will be averaged for one final score. It should be noted that this is my opinion and it's just for fun. If you agree or disagree, please comment below and I would love to have a conversation. 


Say what you will about the Resident Evil franchise, but the series has made it to six films, which is a rare feat. I'm not claiming that any of these films are high art, but there's a certain, un-explainable appeal to them. Since the franchise is coming to a close, I watched all six films and I'm here to give them their grades. 

Resident Evil
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

The first Resident Evil is a nostalgic pleasure for me, and I honestly feel like the film holds up despite some very shoddy early 2000's CGI. This is the only installment that actually had effective horror elements and used its close-quarters sets to great effect. The introduction to Alice is also memorable and though her line delivery isn't perfect she commands the screen and is more of a presence than anyone else here, even the go-to tough-girl Michelle Rodriguez.

The film has definitely shown it's age, as I mentioned earlier, the CGI has definitely not aged well. That said, this film really does stick with you. The score is memorable and the action is on-point, even if it is fairly derivative and basically a low-rent Alien knock-off. 

Grade: B-


Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Director: Alexander Witt

This film was directed by the second-unit director from the previous one; it shows. Resident Evil: Apocalypse is easily my least favorite film in the series. Apocalypse wastes its potential in being an open-world zombie film by having Alice confined in a quarantined Raccoon City that is borderline empty save for some wandering hordes of zombies. The one bright spot is Nemesis, which is an imposing force and a good example of how to do practical creature effects right, even if his reason for existing is muddy at best. Milla Jovovich is also still pretty good here, but she disappears for stretches of the film and is replaced during those times by an entirely dull performance from Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine. The nail in the coffin is the made-for-tv look of the film, everything just looks cheap. 

Grade: D


Resident Evil: Extinction
Director: Russell Mulcahy

Resident Evil: Extinction is probably my favorite Resident Evil film of the entire franchise. This film received a noticeable face-lift right from the start as it's actually pretty to look at and doesn't seem like a low-budget episode on syfy. The world feels big as our heroes are able to ride out into the open desert and brave the weather along with a new enemy: zombie crows! The violence is also upped a notch and is staged competently. While there isn't too much going on plot-wise, it's a fun ride from start to finish and never once did I elicit a yawn like I did time-and-time again during Apocalypse. If you aren't sold on these Resident Evil films and haven't yet seen this one, think about giving it a shot as it's a fun Mad Max-inspired adventure with some zombie seasoning. 

Grade: B


Resident Evil: Afterlife
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Just as things were starting to get good again we get this steaming turd. Though Resident Evil: Afterlife isn't quite as bad as Apocalypse, it is still somehow even more unnecessary to Alice's story as a whole. There's a cool outbreak sequence in Tokyo at the beginning and a few notable bursts of action that are entertaining, but other than that this film has pretty much nothing going for it. This was also when 3-D was really starting to get big, and there is just so much gratuitous slow-mo shots in this film that it starts to be laughable. I only watch this film when I want to get drink and marathon Resident Evil films, which is to say not often. 

Grade: D+


Resident Evil: Retribution 
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

This film has to be seen to be believed. It's insane. Expectations were at an all-time low going into this and then I watched flaming Soviet zombies riding motorcycles shoot rockets at our heroes who escaped in a luxury sedan with spinning rims through a reconstructed Russia set. I was sold. If you remove yourself from the continuity of the previous films and from the story of the games, this is a relentlessly fun B-movie. I stress: DO NOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY, if you do, you're going to absolute detest it. While this film definitely doesn't work for everyone, it works for me. 

Grade: B


Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

While this film is far from perfect and probably not the "final" movie it claims it be, it still has a lot going for it. I liked that the story focuses on Alice and actually gives her a meaningful arc and a little bit of closure for once. I also loved Iain Glen as the villainous Isaacs, the man just chews scenery. I have problems with the quick-cut action which can be headache inducing at times, but the massively improved effects and impressive backdrops make up for it. As a conclusion to an up-and-down franchise The Final Chapter is functional. For my review click here.

Grade: C+


Verdict:

If you like truck-loads of camp in your action-horror films, this franchise for you. There are a couple of duds that you might want to avoid, but for the most part this is a harmless and fun series of films. 

Overall Grade: C+

Box Office Results - 'A Dog's Purpose' and 'Resident Evil: The Final Chapter'

Box Office Results - 'A Dog's Purpose' and 'Resident Evil: The Final Chapter'

Review - 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage'

Review - 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage'