When Paul W.S. Anderson brought his interpretation of the classic horror video game Resident Evil to the big screen back in 2002, many viewers were skeptical as to the future of Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her quest to bring down the Umbrella Corporation. But 16 years and 5 sequels later, there is no denying that the Resident Evil franchise has captivated fans across the world, and is often viewed as the one exception to the poor track record of beloved video games getting film adaptations.
With the franchise coming to a close after 6 titles, I decided to take a look back at Alice’s journey and rank them – based on my personal opinion – from the weakest to strongest entries in the series.
I have been a fan of Resident Evil since the first game released on PlayStation in 1996, and I’ve certainly enjoyed watching Milla Jovovich unload countless bullets into mutated and undead bodies. That said, I acknowledge that there are both positives and negatives to take away from each film.
6. Apocalypse (2004)
In the second installment of the franchise, Alice awakens and realizes that her worst nightmares have come true. The infamous T-virus has escaped the Umbrella Corporation’s underground hive, and the bloodthirsty undead are running rampant through the nearby Raccoon City. Teaming up with a small group of uninfected survivors – including ex-Umbrella employee Jill Valentine – Alice must safely lead them away from the city before it is destroyed by a nuclear missile.
Apocalypse does a decent job of bringing in some gnarly creatures and genetically enhanced monsters – like the grotesque Nemesis – along with incorporating Alice’s newly discovered powers. But where the film falls short is in its attempt to recreate the video game atmosphere. If you were to take the name of the film away, you would be left with just another typical zombie survival horror flick, with a few cheesy one-liners from the comedic relief of Mike Epps.
5. The Final Chapter (2017)
“Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.”
While it could be viewed as a good thing for many Resident Evil fans, I myself find it frustrating that this film doesn’t live up to its claim of being the “Final Chapter“. The ending doesn’t give Alice her deserved send off, and leaves the door open for a possible future 7th film (especially after its financial success).
This lack of closure for the franchise makes the entire film – and all of the hype leading up to it – feel like a waste of time. I’m not necessarily saying they should kill off Alice… but perhaps giving fans a “Final Chapter: Part 2” would allow for the story to come to a proper end.
4. Afterlife (2010)
“While still out to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation, Alice joins a group of survivors living in a prison surrounded by the infected who also want to relocate to the mysterious but supposedly unharmed safe haven known only as Arcadia.”
Afterlife is the 4th film in the Resident Evil saga. The premise is simple; a group of survivors are trapped in an abandoned prison with a horde of undead surrounding them. The concept brings back memories from the game of being locked in a creepy, dark building with a limited supply of guns and ammo to blast your way through to the next level. The group dynamic works well throughout the film, and the elusive “Arcadia” is a smart play to make the viewer root for what little hope remains within this dreary world.
3. Extinction (2007)
A group of survivors – led by their fearless leader Clair Redfield (Ali Larter) – are traveling across the Nevada desert, hoping to make it to a safe zone in Alaska. When they are low on fuel and resources, and under attack from almost every form of the undead, they are rescued by Alice and her ever-growing genetically modified powers (courtesy of the Umbrella Corporation).
I might be a little biased towards this film simply because I live in Las Vegas, but getting to see the beloved strip covered in sand and turned to ruins (complete with zombies climbing the side of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris casino) is wonderfully entertaining.
Watching Alice slice her way through infected monsters under the blazing Nevada sun is a refreshing change of pace from the typical nighttime industrial look. From her new outfit to her new fighting abilities, the grittiness within Extinction makes for a wild ride through the desert.
2. Resident Evil (2002)
“A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.”
The one that started it all! The OG Resident Evil is still one of the best video game adaptations to date. The iconic red dress is still the best outfit that Alice has worn while unloading clips of bullets into ravaging zombies.
While some of the CGI might not have aged quite so well over the years, the overall tone and claustrophobic atmosphere still keep viewers on the edge of their seat 16 years later.
1. Retribution (2012)
“Alice awakes at home with her daughter Becky and her husband. But soon she realizes that she is actually in an Umbrella Corporation’s underground facility. Out of the blue, the computer security system shuts-down and Alice flees to the central control room of the facility. She meets Ada Wong, who works with Albert Wesker, and she learns that a five-man team has been sent by Wesker to rescue them. However, the Red Queen sends Jill Valentine and Rain to hunt them down.”
Milla Jovovich is stunning in her most futuristic outfit to date, and compliments the elegance of her new found ally, Ada Wong. The fight scenes are choreographed exceptionally well throughout (the white hallway scene towards the beginning is one of my favorites), and the various “testing floors” make the audience feel like they are moving from level to level within the video game.
While Retribution stands as my favorite film in the franchise, I must admit that getting to see it in theaters and in 3D definitely made a difference on my initial experience. The CGI and cinematography is by far the best in the series, and the set design of the underground control room is a visual masterpiece.
From the unbelievable opening scene (shot in a slow-motion reverse sequence) to the epic frozen final showdown, Resident Evil: Retribution stands out as the perfect blend of sci-fi, action, and horror, and is the strongest entry on the ballot.
Be sure to check out all of the films in the Resident Evil franchise, and let us know your thoughts on our rankings. Follow iHorror for all your news and updates on everything horror related!