In a story based on a popular video game, a woman plagued by temporary memory loss is brought along by commandos on a mission to find out what happened in a top-secret lab (controlled by a sentient computer) where a virus has turned the living into zombies.
The Umbrella Corporation is a multinational giant that has products in almost every household on Earth. While publicly innocuous, Umbrella is conducting experiments of the illegal kind (viral and genetic) in a secure underground facility called The Hive. When a virus they were working on is unleashed, the ''Red Queen''--the sentient computer controlling the facility--kills everyone inside, but the virus turns the Hive scientists into zombies. A team of commandos is sent to find out what happened in the Hive--where they will face an angry computer, undead beings and a genetically altered creature, ''the Licker,'' that was made just for killing--and clean up the virus before it takes over the world. The commandos take an amnesiac couple, found at the mansion that hides the entrance to the Hive, along for the ride and find (surprise!) they hold the key to part of the mystery surrounding what happened.
Let's face it: This isn't Shakespeare, this isn't Citizen Kane--heck, this isn't even 2001: A Space Odyssey. Still, Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez energize the screen as ass-kicking heroines. Jovovich is breathtaking as the blond, beautiful amnesiac who remembers, just in time, how to kick butt--and looks great doing it. Rodriguez is a snarling seductress and a tough-as-nails commando who knows how to get it done. The only other actors to stand out above the undead crowd are Colin Salmon as the determined, but doomed, commando leader James Shade, and Eric Mabius as Matt, the rebel who's determined to unmask the evil that Umbrella Corp. is hiding.
Based on the popular video game of the same name, the pace of Paul Anderson's (Mortal Kombat) thrill ride is quick off the bat and remains taut throughout the entire movie. Sure, there are unexplained escapes and jagged transitions between scenes, but--to reiterate--this was based on a video game. Sure, the plot has been done before (Alien, The Shining), but the bad guys are bad, the zombies are creepy, the Red Queen is menacing and the Licker is too terrifying for words. Anderson's tour of The Hive is everything it's meant to be: scary, unsettling and leaving you wanting for more. The one thing that messed up the movie for me was the unnecessary last scene that sets up the sequel. The movie could have ended seven minutes earlier and been just as effective. Still, on the whole, this is the scariest movie to come down the pike in a while.
Finally, a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller that, though slightly by the numbers, made you jump on more than one occasion. A fun popcorn thriller that's sure to entertain.