There was much trepidation when this came to bloom way back in 02, an adaptation of the highly popular zombie horror videogame franchise? hmmm. Anderson's first foray into the adaptation world after some reasonable films like 'Soldier' and 'Event Horizon', his CV didn't look too shabby but previous attempts at this sort of genre proved dismal.
Amazingly enough this first offering in what is now an overly ridiculous 'Matrix' 'Blade' 'Underworld' monster mash mess is actually quite good and sticks to the original formula. It all kicks off inside the well known mansion but in an imaginative spin delves deep underground to the secret Umbrella facility. Here we get a very admirable 'Aliens' type thriller as a team of commandos battle to survive against a sadistic mega computer that runs the facility and of course lots of undead creatures/monsters.
So the whole film is contained within the underground labs instead of roaming the mansion which at first seemed wrong. Maybe they could of done with some mansion action but it actually works well. Later adaptation 'Doom' does seem somewhat similar in premise though, slight case of concept rip methinks.
Naturally the effects are mostly CGI for the creatures and they do now look rather crappy, very obvious. Of course you can't pan a film for that but the CGI hasn't dated well, where as sets and overall look for the film isn't too bad, zombies look a bit childish though. It is nice to see most of the videogame nasties in the film though, Anderson certainly did well not to stray far from the source yet add to it as well. Zombie dogs which aren't fully CGI but real dogs with makeup is a nice touch, a hint of the crows and 'Lickers' which are good n scary...accept for the fact they are all fully CGI. The 'Red Queen' computer character is a good addition to the fray and quite eerie at times also 'your're all going to die down here'.
This film is a welcome presentation of the franchise and shows what can be done if done properly. Its still mind boggling to me that the film is actually a reasonably scary horror flick! there are quite a few good jumpy moments and certainly no hesitation with blood. A creation of slow building dread and suspense is well handled throughout, alongside some nifty visual moments and a good if slightly cliched bunch of commandos all adds up to a darn fun ride.
Yes you can see many steals from other similar films (the usual tough bunch of soldiers taken down one by one) and the characters are all generic copies stemmed from a certain Cameron film but the fact its not a kiddie flick and watered down is fantastic and astonishing. There is no silly slow motion nonsense, no over the top set pieces, actually Jovovich plays it for real and isn't a 'Selene' clone from 'Underworld'...yet.
Probably the best of the series if you ask me, and it was an Anderson film!!. Its formulaic and cliched but still provides enough punch to do what its suppose to do...pretty much like the 'Doom' film.