I haven't seen it since its release, nor did I keep up with the sequels, but I thought Resident Evil was a really fascinating movie, for the ways in which it handled 'the image' and the idea of 'textuality.' (At the time, I was both in a phase of my cinephilia when I was trying to "figure out" Hollywood and get a good, definable grasp on it, and it was also around the time I got my first serious doses of continental theory--Baudrillard, the simulacrum, oh snap!) Six years later, I am--I hope--less inclined to slobber over the appearance of a film for merely demonstrating the Cliff's Notes version of a pomo guru's most famous book. Still, the memory of Resident Evil retains its positive associations in my head: at the time I thought it was a solid genre film but "updated" in the way it was formed, in the way it formed images that were pure and whose indexicality seemed a footnote at best, the way it referenced its ur-text (the videogame I never played) rather than seemingly adopting it. (Oh, perhaps I still think the exact same thing about it now that I did in '02--I'm just less easily impressed by my assuredly quite brilliant interpretation.)
Why do I return to this particular film? It's not really to reminisce on a younger, more innocent me. I'm instead looking at it as a periphery or a tangent on something else that interests me at the moment--the melding of certain national or regional 'influences' in contemporary action cinema. I'll save my main thoughts on this for something in the future. But I want to point out that the iconographic similarity of Mira Sorvino in The Replacement Killers ('98) and Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil has, I think, an interesting and oblique history. In Antoine Fuqua's film, which came as part of the HK-US talent-money cool fusion of the 1990s, there is the barest semblance of 'character' to Sorvino's "style" (dirty blonde, dark clothes, skin, hip boho hi-tech criminality)--she is given motivation and a history of some sort, and her self-presentation comes from somewhere suggested inside the extraneous "world" of the film-narrative. But while it's history, while it is character development, it's pretty thin (as is a lot of the HK cool), and intentionally so.
What happens with a very similar "look" in Resident Evil is that it seems to manifest primarily to satisfy an ideal: no history but the realization of an image. No 'causality,' but the conditioning of the onscreen content to the demands of the world outside the vacuum: the image of cool, the image of the girl with the gun, an exemplary image of a perfect (unrealizable) image. I will have to see the film again to really decide if this is the case, or if memory has warped too much. These are preliminary notes.