The year was 1996 and video games had become a staple in many households. At that time, one of the more popular consoles on the market was (and still is) PlayStation. Capcom, a video game development company, decided to make a survival horror game where uninfected people had to fight against zombies and monsters after the pharmaceutical company, Umbrella Corporation, created a deadly virus and released it. The game, known as Biohazard in Japan, was renamed for release in America. Thus, Resident Evil was born.
The game became so popular that it had six more versions released, both a live-action and an anime television shows, several animated movies, and six live-action films. The feature films star Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) as Alice and were released between 2002 and 2016. While Alice does not appear in the video game, some of the other characters do including Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory; Love Actually), Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr; The Mummy), and Claire Redfield (Ali Larter; Legally Blonde). This winter, just in time for your holiday gift-giving, Screen Gems, a Sony Pictures Company, is releasing all six films on 4K, in one complete set.
In the first film, Alice wakes up with amnesia in an unfamiliar mansion and is taken by a group of commandos. Meanwhile, below Racoon City is Umbrella Corporation's experiments housed in an underground facility called the Hive. One of their experiments, the T-Virus, is stolen and is unleashed to infect everyone in the Hive. The system's artificial intelligence, The Red Queen, then seals the Hive. As Alice and a team of commandos infiltrate the Hive, they are killed off one by one either by the zombies (the former Hive employees) or by the Red Queen.
The second film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, sees the zombies escaping from the Hive while Raccoon City is under evacuation. By the third installment of the saga, "The Alice Project" is in trials revealing Alice is being cloned and tested. The rest of the films follow the same basic guidelines of trying to stop Umbrella Corporation and kill the Zombies, while ultimately looking for a "cure".
Even though the video games tend to be fan favorites, the films haven't fared quite as well. While the first two films most closely resemble the games, despite creating a new main character named Alice, the other films have little in common with the games. This seemed to have upset the die-hard fans, even with the addition of a beautiful actress like Jovovich kicking butt and taking names.
For the most part, these films shine with the video upgrade to HDR-10 with 2160p resolution. Ironically, the one that shows the most noise is the most recent, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Otherwise, the series shows a vast improvement from the Blu-ray versions. The Dolby Atmos audio is consistent across the series with booming explosions and ricocheting gunshots echoing over all the surround speakers.
Each Blu-ray has the previously released extras and the set as a whole only offers about half a dozen new extras besides theatrical trailers. Resident Evil: Apocalypse also features the regular and extended cuts of the film.
It is interesting to note that the most liked films of the series are the first and the last ones with the middle four garnering various degrees of criticism. While that may seem like a compliment to the former two movies, none of them are overly good and generally have been panned by critics across the board. The action sequences are well done but the plots and scripts, as well as some of the acting, are nothing to be praised.
Jovovich is strong as the intense and serious Alice and she is matched by some of the other recurring actors throughout the series. However, some decent casting and strong action sequences are not enough to make a movie (or in this case, a series of movies) worthwhile. Resident Evil and Jovovich fans will definitely be buying this attractive box set but the layperson might just pass it by.