6 Reasons 'Resident Evil' Movies Are Better than the Games

Gamers are naturally suspicious of Hollywood, which processes source material with all the care of a digestive system. And with similar results. But the Resident Evil movies are the most successful video game movie series ever made, four films earning almost half a billion dollars. Remember that the next time you hear about education funding being cut, because the facts are probably related.

Constantin Film
Kicking an infected zombie is an exactly equal mix of badass and dumbass.

Some gamers complain about the movies, which is proof that some gamers can whine about anything, even a company spending hundreds of millions of dollars hiring a supermodel to act out their most ridiculous fantasies. But I love the movies and have six reasons why those complaints are invalid.

#6. Resident Evil Isn't Allowed to Criticize Movies

In 1996, the Resident Evil games and their fans surrendered any right to criticize any moving image with the worst intro movie ever made:

Back then, people were still excited about full-motion video, and you'd swear that Resident Evil was trying to warn them that it would never get better. If you didn't watch that clip, I'm not going to ruin the blissful ignorance you've wisely earned. But let's just say that people have looked tougher than this grizzled action hero while losing on Cake Wars.


#5. The Movies Don't Waste (as Much) Time

Fans of the game have complained that the movies are lowbrow, and yes, they are clinically incapable of going five minutes without doing something awesomely stupid. But at least they're doing something. The games use more padding to keep people stuck than Arkham Asylum, and the contents make less sense. Most of the games are one part zombies to 20 parts fetch quest. Resident Evil 2 has you placing a unicorn medal in the police station foyer fountain statue so it can pour you a key. The quests have less than no explanation. Legend has it that encyclopedias get one page shorter with every sequel.


Code: Veronica has you find a player piano roll in a surgical torture dungeon to unlock the death camp's casino's slot machine to get an ant statue to activate a music box to trigger the secret bed-ladder to a carousel. You haven't gone aphasic, Capcom just randomly picked words from a dictionary instead of writing them. And we obeyed their instructions and convinced ourselves that we enjoyed it. This wasn't a game; it was a brainwashing program.

The result is trawling endless narrow corridors full of undead and picking up anything you find because those are the only paths you can follow. So basically, Pac-Man. At one point you have a square crank but need an octagon crank, so you use a metalworking machine to cut it down to size, and then you're told you need a square crank again, and have to find an octagon-to-square crank converter to proceed.

Video games can be worlds of limitless imagination. The Resident Evil games make you reuse crank handles.

The problem is that the games are enormously popular. Three million people wasted two hours of their free time trying to figure out how to reuse crank handles. Six million man-hours. That game effectively killed 10 people. The other time-padding reverse intelligence tests were the ridiculous puzzles, most of which you solved by very gradually clicking buttons to see what they did to arrive at a solution. Imagine your grandmother pecking out an email about the gold standard, but less fun.

On par with Battletoads' jet bike level.

#4. The Games Have a Worse Plot

The first and stupidest complaint that gamers have about the movies is that they don't follow the plot of the games. Of course they don't! The movies aren't nine hours long, and even if they were, eight hours of watching people slowly fetch pointless objects while avoiding shambling bodies isn't cinema, it's a shift at Walmart. The plot of the first Resident Evil game kicks off with the only special forces team in the entire world that doesn't know how to break down locked doors. From there, the stories only got dumber. Gordon Freeman could complete the entire series in about half an hour.

Hollywood, we're mentioning Half-Life in an article about video game movies for a reason. Take the hint AND OUR MONEY.

The plot of the first game had three secret Umbrella Corporation labs close enough to steal each other's Wi-Fi but utterly unaware of each other's existence. It depends on one character forgetting that she blew up a secret virus lab on the way to another virus lab. In fact, the plot of the original games got so stupid that even the games dumped most of it, restarting in Resident Evil 4. But not before Resident Evil 0 gave us a dead scientist empowered by singing opera to leeches.

And apparently on loan from Final Fantasy.

Resident Evil 2 is regarded as the best of the early games, and a breakthrough in survival horror, and the main villain's only powers are giant weak points and impregnating his own daughter.

A giant eye, and an exposed heart, and both are pulsing red? The laws of nature and video games want this thing dead.

That thing's backstory is that Umbrella scientist William Birkin knowingly injected himself with a virus that gave him a giant eye to see what he was doing, tentacles and a biological compulsion to implant embryos in his 12-year-old child. That's not a boss fight so much as a game designer practicing his insanity plea.

Yes, that detached tentacle is bleeding while crawling away from her crotch. No, we won't find a better quality image.

This crime against pretty much everything doesn't happen in a psychological horror "it's meant to be disturbing" way. It happens while you're busy collecting keys, blowing up a giant alligator and generally playing a game you thought wasn't made by sex offenders. You spend the rest of the game searching for a mutant morning after pill. WARNING: That was not a joke.

The game's other villain is a murderous rapist police chief who was murdered by being raped by the murderous rapist mutant. Somewhere there's a correctional facility holding the wrong man, desperately trying to explain that he really is a Capcom writer. And remember, this isn't a weird spinoff, this is the primary plot that commenters complain wasn't shown in the cinema. Which is probably why Capcom kept making sequels: It's a cheaper way to keep them off the streets than jail.

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Luke McKinney

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