‘Resident Evil’ lays zombies to rest after 15 grisly years


LOS ANGELES: Like a horde of undead, “Resident Evil” has shuffled relentlessly forward over six films, taking a fleshy $1.2 billion chunk from movie-goers to become the biggest ever cinematic video game tie-in.

Unlike the eviscerated victims of the franchise’s bloodthirsty genetically modified flesh-eaters, however, the creators of “Resident Evil” are going out on their own terms.

Director Paul W.S. Anderson has said the DVD and Blu-ray of “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” released this week, will be the last offering from a series that has been savaged by critics but adored by its loyal devotees.

When the idea for the first film, “Resident Evil,” germinated from a marathon gaming session at the turn of the millennium, the world wasn’t exactly crying out for another video game turned into a movie.

“It was a movie that was made against the odds. It was made outside of the studio system with no American involvement,” Anderson, 53, said.

“At our very first test screening, if we hadn’t scored really very high, the movie was going to go straight to DVD and there would have been no franchise.”

At that stage, around a dozen game adaptations had already been tried, starting with “Super Mario Bros.” in 1993.

A few – the first two “Pokemon” films, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and Anderson’s own “Mortal Kombat” – did very respectable business at the box office but all were panned by critics.

‘Ground Zero’
Japanese developer Capcom’s blood-spattered Resident Evil had grown into a global phenomenon however and Anderson felt it could buck the trend.

The 52-year-old British writer-director cut himself off from the world to immerse himself in the game, emerging bleary-eyed two weeks later with an idea for a movie.

The movie, based loosely on the first two video games follows a special ops unit as it fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.

Anderson shot almost the entire movie in Berlin but was mid-air on the way to filming the final scene in Canada on September 11, 2001 when two planes slammed into the World Trade Center in New York.



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