The 2002 Resident Evil film took its basic story cues from the original Capcom game that released on the PlayStation way back in 1996. It managed to recreate many of the pivotal scenes from the game, throwing nods to the fans while simultaneously laying the groundwork for a delightfully scary movie franchise.
Unfortunately, any film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson is bound to be rife with things that simply make no sense. The following is a list of 10 such cinematic blunders that hamper what is otherwise a highly-entertaining sci-fi zombie popcorn flick.
10 The Mansion Nerve Gas
Far above Umbrella’s underground Hive complex sat a mansion used as cover to prevent snoopers from digging too deep. When the T-Virus outbreak occurred, the Red Queen immediately initiated a series of failsafe procedures to contain the virus and prevent it from escaping. One such procedure involved flooding the mansion with nerve gas that would knock out those within it.
Logically, this makes no sense given that those in the mansion would be isolated from the goings-on inside the Hive. They would also be the first line of defense when it came to containment and relay to the outside Umbrella headquarters. Knocking out Umbrella agents in the mansion would leave the entire Hive vulnerable.
9 No Headshots Till Later
The first initial zombie attacks in the film show Umbrella soldiers mowing down the undead with torso shots. Technically, this strategy is sound. Gun owners, law enforcement, and soldiers are taught to fire upon the torso to hit center mass, leading to a more effective takedown.
However, it doesn’t make sense that they’d continue firing in the same spot after the slow-moving zombies kept getting back up. Any soldier in that situation would opt for a head shot, which would mean a one-hit kill from their perspective. Not until the Red Queen gives advice on where to shoot do the soldiers change tactics.
8 The Licker Mutation
Lickers are a principal monster first introduced in the Resident Evil 2 videogame, but they make their debut in the original film as well. However, these creatures are far different from their game counterparts, at least on a genetic level.
After the Licker kills Spence and chews flesh off his body, the resulting ingestion causes the creature to mutate into a much stronger and more bestial form. This was obviously a plot device to create a lethal creature to fight in the final act, but it doesn’t explain why the Licker mutates where other T-Virus infected organisms do not.
7 Bad Science
For all her computerized AI smarts, the Red Queen sure did flunk basic biology. Halfway through the film, she talks about the extremely lethal T-Virus and how it infects and reanimates the dead, but her science is completely wrong. She claims that the body produces new cells long after death, which is why fingernails and hair grow.
Any high school biology student knows that this is patently false. Skin recedes away from the hair and nails, which produces the illusion of growth. Worse, both are made of the protein keratin, not cellular growth. Obviously, the writers failed to consult a biologist before penning the script.
6 Matt’s Infection
The Red Queen does indicate that a single bite or scratch from the infected is enough to pass the T-Virus along to a new host. However, that doesn’t explain Matt’s unique infection at the end of the film. If the T-Virus reacts differently to particular organisms, then Matt should simply have been zombified.
Instead, the lacerations on his arm begin producing a sort of genetic tendril mutation for no apparent reason. While it’s possible the mutated Licker’s DNA caused the T-Virus within to mutate in turn, it seems far more likely that the writers simply wanted to set up the Nemesis character for the next film.
5 Alice’s Jacket
Spence tries to be chivalric in the first part of the film by giving future Resident Evil superheroine Alice his leather jacket to keep her warm. It’s a nice gesture, but it doesn’t fit with the rest of the film for obvious aesthetic reasons.
Spence is significantly larger in stature than Alice, yet the leather jacket she’s wearing clearly looks sized for a woman, which makes no sense. This is quite a massive continuity error that seems designed to make Alice look good instead of opting for any semblance of realism.
4 The Laser Grid
The most memorable scene of the original Resident Evil film is the infamous Laser Grid sequence in which several Umbrella soldiers are trapped within a corridor and assaulted with lethal laser beams. There’s a lot of slicing and dicing that goes into the scene as the various laser arcs cut through them like hot butter.
The final Umbrella soldier manages to dodge the incoming attacks, forcing the Red Queen’s computer system to project an inescapable pattern that slices him into giblets. Nobody bothered to ask why the Red Queen simply didn’t use that single laser pattern to kill all the soldiers in one go, however.
3 A Nonsensical Lockdown
The Red Queen seems to have two separate lockdown procedures in effect. The first occurs when the T-Virus is released into the Hive, prompting the initial lockdown mechanism. That’s just the precursor to an even bigger lockdown that doesn’t make sense.
Alice and the Umbrella team are literally racing against the clock to escape the Hive before a permanent lockdown is put into effect. Yet, the Red Queen stressed that she could not allow the T-Virus to escape into the real world, so why not simply initiate Perma-Lockdown from the start?
2 An Impossible Transmission Vector
One of the most glaring oversights of the film is the manner in which the T-Virus manages to escape and infect the rest of the Hive. It’s established in the first act that the T-Virus is released within a sealed room designed to contain the agent in case of possible escape.
What a shame that whoever was in charge of building the Hive failed to take into account ventilation shafts. This completely nullifies the point of a “sealed room,” as one of the scientists remarks early on. This is not what happens in a real viral lab.
1 Alice’s Kicks
One particularly cringe-worthy scene of the film involves Alice going off on her own to explore the Hive’s labs. Naturally, she runs into a bunch of trouble beginning with a zombie who she dispatches with a silly kick that sends it flying into a cabinet, killing it instantly.
She’s then set upon by zombified dogs who chase her throughout the labs before she does a step-kick off a wall and boots one of them across the room. Never mind that her kicks wouldn’t be anywhere near powerful enough to kill either creature, but the sheer silliness of suggesting that melee attacks will produce insta-kills where entire magazines of bullets could not is folly.