JOINS TOMB RAIDER
Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com
[ November 17th 2001 ]
Jovovich plays the Lara Croft-style heroine in
a new film based on one of the world's scariest
video games, Resident Evil. Having a name like
a macrobiotic shampoo must be tough, but that
hasn't prevented Milla Jovovich from seeing it
in lights. And she's been around for longer than
the girl who rolled the joints in Richard Linklater's
1993 film Dazed and Confused, the madame of the
chilly frontier brothel in Michael Winterbottom's
snowbound Western The Claim and the pudding-basined
patriot in the title role of her former husband
Luc Besson's Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
. You may also recall her splashing about as the
female lead in Return to the Blue Lagoon.
next film, due for release next spring, takes
her deep into Lara Croft and Tomb Raider territory.
When she steps into the combat boots of Alice
the Zombie Slayer, she'll be following in the
footsteps of millions of video gamers, hunched
intently over their PlayStation consoles.
Evil - the Gothic shoot-'em-up game in which you
are a SWAT member deadheading zombies in smalltown
America - has sold 16 million copies worldwide.
Additional merchandising and movie deals have
made the game's Japanese developer, Capcom, Dollars
600 million richer.
premise of the game is simple: you're stuck in
a mansion full of hideous mutant zombies, unfortunates
transformed into this putrefying state by a biotech
company working on chemical weapons. Your mission
is to solve puzzles that will gain you access
to the exit and kill off any of the nasty characters
who get in your way.
original game owes something to Night of the Living
Dead, George Romero's classic gore film, in which
living corpses go wild in a Pittsburgh shopping
mall. As an acknowledgement of that debt, Capcom
hired Romero to make a million-dollar trailer
for the game. They also persuaded him to direct
a big-screen version. Odd, you'd think, for a
renowned director to agree to oversee a film based
on his own work.
Bryce, editor of the horror magazine The Dark
Side, is sensitive to this irony. 'Resident Evil
is, in effect, the game of Night of the Living
Dead, so making a film of it seems a pointless
exercise. "The producers will want to aim the
film at computer game players, who are mostly
in their early teens, so they need it to have
a 12 or a 15 certificate. They won't want someone
such as Romero to make an horrific film that can
only be shown to people aged over 18."
in this case, they don't. Paul Anderson, the man
who transposed another popular video game, Mortal
Kombat, from the arcade to the multiplex, soon
replaced Romero as director. He is spending Dollars
67 million on his version of Resident Evil (due
for release next spring), which dispenses with
the original characters from the games.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was released early this
year, films based on video games had endured a
dismal record at the box office. The reason was
obvious: it would take a genius to produce a workable
film from such poverty-stricken source material
as the games Super Mario Brothers, Street Fighter
and Wing Commander. But none of them had a star
with such a wacky name as Jovovich, or an inspiration
so firmly in a legitimate tradition of Gothic
narrative as Night of the Living Dead.
are no great films about plumbers jumping over
rolling logs, the basis of the game Super Mario
Brothers. There are plenty of great films about
the dead returning to plague the living. The makers
of Resident Evil have history on their side.