Resident Evil: a recap of a decade’s worth of films
From 2002 to present, the Resident Evil films have captured the same concepts as the video games, but they have taken the series in a completely different direction. While having similar themes and characters, the movies are like an alternate dimension within the Resident Evil saga. You’ll see popular characters, zombies, viruses and monsters that you know and love from the games but not in the way you may expect. Making the distinction that the movies are not based on the games’ plots is absolutely necessary.
Both story arcs start near a little known place named Raccoon City. A luxurious mansion serves as a cover for a secret laboratory experimenting with biological weaponry underneath. This company is the powerful pharmaceutical corporation known as Umbrella. In this facility known as the Hive, they are working on the T-Virus -- a weapon that will turn corpses into zombies and grant those zombies the power to spread the virus through scratch and bite. The Red Queen is the AI that controls the Hive. Once the T-Virus is released in the lab, the Red Queen gasses everyone inside so the virus doesn’t spread, but instead, the virus reanimates all of the staff, oops.
The main protagonist in all the movies is Alice Abernathy -- played by Milla Jovovich. The same gas that killed everyone in the facility erased Alice’s mind. A team of Umbrella Corporation commandos find Alice and Matt Addison in the mansion before they all descend into the unknowingly zombie-infested lab. Once the power gets shut off, the zombies are free and sh*t gets real. This is the first time the squad has ever countered zombies or even realized zombies were even “a thing.”
The team eventually escapes with most members either dead or undead. Ultimately, the team was unsuccessful because Raccoon City has an outbreak of the T-Virus, thus meaning the new population of the city are now zombies. This is Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004). Alice, able to detect infection organisms, rescues popular character Jill Valentine and her partner Peyton Wells from some Lickers. The group meets up with Dr. Charles Ashford who uses them to rescue his daughter, Angela, from a junior high school.
Unfortunately Umbrella's solution to curing the outbreak is to nuke the entire city. As if dealing with the super virus soldier Nemesis wasn’t enough, the bomb on its way really speeds things along. The shockwave from the explosion causes the helicopter Alice and the others were trying to escape in to crash in the mountains. Alice reawakens in an Umbrella lab where she has been given supernatural powers that she uses to fry the brains of her captures. All of these events appear to be staged though, since her eyes flash and a computer states that “Project Alice Activated.”
While you may be telling yourself, well those first two movies sort of sound like Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, the jump into the next movie in the series, Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), is where the video games and films truly diverge. Alice now travels in a post-apocalyptic world where the T-Virus has wiped out the majority of the world’s population and transformed them into zombies. The movie begins with Alice in Nevada searching for survivors. She runs into a convoy run by Claire Redfield and a bunch of other survivors.
The radio speaks of a place called Arcadia in Alaska that claims it is safe from the T-Virus. While getting supplies in Las Vegas, they are attacked. Someone is bitten and hides it and has to be put down. Isaac, the long-time antagonist, is bitten and infects himself with a serum that turns him into a Tyrant. With the aid of one of Alice’s clones, Isaac 2.0 is stopped. Alice discovers a room of thousands of clones of herself. Claire and a girl named K-Mart escape for Alaska via a helicopter.
With a new found clone army, Alice assaults the Umbrella base in Tokyo. This is how Resident Evil: Aftermath begins. Wesker self-destructs the facility, killing all of the clones. In a confrontation between Wesker and Alice, he injects her with a serum that removes all of her powers. This conflict causes yet another helicopter crash. Only Alice emerges where she encounters scarab mind-controlled Claire. Alice frees her and the duo goes to a Los Angeles prison community. They discover Chris Redfield, people die, and the survivors try to reach Arcadia once more.
Claire gets her memory back and remembers that Umbrella is experimenting on people on Arcadia, which is actually a barge, and they all find out that it is a trap. T-Virus infested Wesker is there waiting for them, and he fights Alice. Wesker is defeated, and from here on out Alice plans on using the barge as an actual safe haven instead of an Umbrella laboratory.
That is until scarab mind-controlled Jill comes with a helicopter armada, lands, and messes up the place. Alice is captured and awakes in an yet another Umbrella base; this is the start of Resident Evil: Retribution (2012). A power failure leads to Alice’s escape where she meets up with Ada Wong. She claims that Wesker is no longer working for Umbrella and that their main base is found underwater. They meet up with classic characters, like Leon Kennedy and Barry Burton.
While making their way to the underwater facility, they run into a bunch of clones of previous allies trying to kill them, along with a little girl named Becky that claims she is the daughter of Alice. Through combat, Alice saves Jill and she joins the team. After entering Wesker’s white house, he injects Alice with the T-Virus once again to return her powers. Plans are made to save humanity once and for all. This is the precursor to whatever the next and final movie will be.
From watching all the movies, things you can expect are lots of zombies, helicopter crashes, Umbrella facilities, allies and foes switching sides, and lots of clones. While a final movie has yet to be announced, Paul Anderson, the director, said if Resident Evil: Retribution does well financially then the final movie will be made. Just how will the cinematic version of the Resident Evil tale end?
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ