Can you believe it's been 10 years since the firstResident Evil movie came out? The only thing more surprising than the franchise's longevity is that there's a fifth instalment coming out this month, which once again pits Alice (played by Milla Jovovich) against the evil Umbrella Corporation and a horde of the undead.
While 3-D technology has worked in the franchise's favour, casual (that is, non-game-playing) viewers have to wonder what a fifth film can really bring to the table. In between The Walking Dead, and the upcoming World War Z adaptation, the market for zombies is on the brink of over-saturation.
Lucky for us, we were able to meet director Paul W.S. Anderson at the Resident Evil: Retribution junket in Cancun this April, where he addressed our scepticism on the necessity - and freshness - of a new instalment.
'With the video game franchise, one of the ways it's stayed vibrant and successful is it changes is that it evolves,' Paul said. 'I've always felt that same has to be true for movie franchises.'
Unlike the first Resident Evil film, which had an intensely 'claustrophobic and haunted house feel,' or Resident Evil: Extinction, which mostly took place in the desert, Retribution takes Alice all over the world.
'What we've tried to do is build the scale of the franchise from movie to movie,' Paul said, adding that they'd shot in everywhere from Tokyo, to Washington, D.C., to the icy wastelands of Russia. 'I wanted to make an epic post-apocalyptic film...And I think it's given the movie a fresh look in the scope and the scale it's never had before.'
'One of the key things about Resident Evil, both the game and the movie, is that it's never just been the undead,' Paul said. 'This has never been just a zombie franchise. There are a lot of science fiction aspects, it has creatures in it, has the evil (Umbrella) corporation.'
Resident Evil fans will also be delighted to learn that he's bringing some of the fandom's favourite creatures and characters, such as the grotesque Lickers, the Las Plagas parasites, and Ada Wong (played by Chinese actress Bingbing Li), to the big screen for the first time. As a twist to the story, the character of Rain, who died in the first film, has been miraculously resurrected.
While actress Michelle Rodriguez wouldn't reveal how Rain will return, she did say that after four films without the character, Rain's return was as much a surprise to her as it was to us.
'It was just basically a phone call from Paul: 'Hey, why don't you meet me at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I've got something to tell ya!'' she laughed. 'I hadn't the slightest clue. I got shot in the head [in the first movie]. How do you come back from that one?'
The look of the films has come a long way since we last saw Rain alive, and Michelle could barely hide her glee when waxing on about the hyper-stylized, three-dimensional action sequences.
'Sitting outside of this thing and watching yourself is just a whole other world,' she said. 'I've only experienced that once before, with Avatar, and I just love it. If you only knew the kinds of things that are going to flying at you in this movie. Some of it is reminiscent of the sound SQUISH.'
Resident Evil: Retribution will be released in local cinemas on September 13.