A hugely successful series of video games with a near-cult following is something that is becoming signficantly more interesting to film makers every day. Blockbuster action movies such as Mortal Kombat and more recently Tomb Raider have done very well at the box office and have been a great flag to wave for the gaming industry. The latest in the line of computer game-based movies is Resident Evil.
The first Resident Evil game almost single handedly brought the action/survival horror genre to the forefront of gaming. The original game covered the story of a mysterious mansion and a team of military officers from an outfit called STAR who were sent in to investigate the strange disappearances linked to the mansion. Featuring characters Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, both of which were playable, countless gamers had the chance explore the scarily real game world; fighting off hordes of the walking dead and various other nasties to eventually uncover the plans of the evil Umbrella corporation; a bio-genetics company who developed the T-Virus which mutates people into zombies. Developed by Shinji Makami of Capcom back in 1996 for the Sony PlayStation, the game was a huge hit and has since led to several sequels accross nearly all platforms. The Resident Evil series has always been on the leading edge of gaming, constantly redefining how we see the survival horror genre; from the original through to Code Veronica on the Dreamcast in 2000 and more recently, on Nintendo's Gamecube.
Instead of trying to exactly replicate the game (which is what inevitably causes most game to movie conversions to fail), Resident Evil has created an entirely new story using existing elements from the series. The story involves the Umbrella Corporation and a laboratory accident where the T-Virus is released and turns all the scientists into zombies. The main characters, played by Milla Jovovich (from the Fifth Element) and Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious), lead a military unit into the laboratory to try and stop the spread of the virus and fight against the facility's supercomputer, known as the Red Queen, that has gone out of control. And in the true style of Resident Evil, much zombie bashing action is to be had along the way.
Check out the official synopsis for more about the movie, and keep an eye out for it in cinemas around Australia - it starts screening on April the 25th! The film debuted at number 2 on its opening weekend in the US and has taken $US37 million to date, so it is doing pretty well so far.