Though not exactly critical darlings, the live-action Resident Evil movie franchise provided a huge amount of entertainment for viewers over its fourteen-year, six-movie run. It mixed heavy amounts of gore with fun, and often funny, levels of kung-fu action and gunplay.
Milla Jovovich’s unkillable warrior, Alice, fights against a variety of mutated abominations – including zombie dogs, zombie birds, axe-wielding giants, and a man who can dodge bullets like Neo from The Matrix – with each action sequence, for the most part, getting bigger and sillier with every movie. Here’s our ranking of the ten most ridiculous action sequences of the Resident Evil movies.
10 The Train Fight (Resident Evil)
The finale of the first movie sees the few remaining heroes racing to beat a closing blast door on a countdown timer. They reach the home stretch of a train ride to the finish but, unfortunately, a mutated animal, known simply as a ‘Licker’ for its long tongue, has boarded the train. Things go from bad to worse when one of the survivors finally succumbs to their zombie bite and turns at the worst possible moment.
After ramming it with a handy collection of metal pipes suspended on a pulley system, and pinning its tongue with one of the fallen pipes, the Licker is ready to be dropped onto the tracks via an equally convenient trap door. After shooting the freshly turned zombie in the head, they fall back onto the release button for the trap door and the Licker falls onto the tracks. Catching fire from the friction.
9 The Birds (Resident Evil: Extinction)
A large group of Mad Max-esque post-apocalypse road warriors camp out at the remnants of a motel, choosing to sleep in their vehicles for some bizarre reason. A decision which comes to haunt them as they become surrounded by blood thirsty infected crows à la Hitchcock.
In the ensuing panic of the overwhelming swarm’s attack, a large number of people get pecked to death through a series of equally bizarre decisions like running out into the open and shooting wildly into the air. Someone has the bright idea to use a flamethrower turret against them but it soon backfires also when they lose control and it swings towards two survivors. Luckily Alice shows up at the right moment to block the jet’s path with her newfound telekinetic abilities. She then controls the fire to create a cloud of flames, engulfing all of the birds in an epic action shot.
8 Reverse Raid (Resident Evil: Retribution)
The ending of Resident Evil: Afterlife teases the beginning of a huge battle between a fleet of Umbrella aircraft and a band of survivors on board a large shipping boat. The beginning of the next installment makes good on the promise by showing the audience the ensuing slaughter in slow-motion and in reverse as the opening titles play over top.
It may have primarily been a cheap way to make a fairly unremarkable action sequence seem more interesting, but it works. The sequence does play out normally in the series’ typically fast cut style after it’s done rewinding and it’s not as fun. The reversed version, however, creates the best opening credits sequence of the whole franchise.
7 The Hallway (Resident Evil)
The most memorable scene from the first movie by far, the hallway sequence finds a group of soldiers sent in to control the outbreak within an underground Umbrella facility. On their way to shut down the rebellious AI program running the facility, known as The Red Queen, the main bulk of them become trapped in the hallway leading to the mainframe.
The Red Queen then activates its last line of defense, which is a wall-to-wall laser system that sweeps the hallway. The team’s leader manages to make it to the end after a series of increasingly difficult beam variations slices up his team but his acrobatics can’t save him from the final variation, which is an unbroken mesh, turning him to a pile of one-inch cubes.
6 The Shower Fight (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
Alice and a group of survivors holed up in Los Angeles find their defenses broken down by a huge mutated man carrying an even huger axe. Alice and franchise stalwart Claire Redfield are forced to face him down in the shower room of their prison fortress, resulting in a predictable amount of slo-mo splashing and sliding around on the wet floor.
The Axeman takes several handgun shots to the head – which already starts out with several nails hammered into it for, you assume, aesthetic value or maybe some kind of extra structural integrity – to no effect. This forces Alice to bust out her most lethal weapon, a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun loaded with coins. A shot from that blowing his whole head to pieces.
5 The New York Sequence (Resident Evil: Retribution)
How do you top the shower room fight with the Axeman from the previous movie? Well, simple really. This time you use two Axemen. The scene is set in a mockup of a vaguely Times Square-ish New York street that’s used by the Umbrella corporation to run simulations of outbreaks.
Unfortunately for the Axemen, the simulation room is so detailed that all of the cars on the street are filled with real gasoline. There’s even a handy tanker truck filled with it. So, after one of the Axemen pierces the side of the gasoline truck, they both get their axes lodged into a taxi cab after swinging and missing. Alice and her ally, Ada Wong, then shoot the gas tank of the taxi cab which, combined with the explosion of the gas at their feet, blows them backwards. Crushing them both under the wreckage of the cab.
4 The Church Fight (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
A group of survivors think they’re safe and well-armed when they lock themselves in a church but they prove helpless against the three Lickers that are sealed in there with them. Luckily, Alice arrives to save the day by crashing through the window on a motorcycle.
She takes out the first by revving up the motorcycle, back-flipping off of it and letting it ride straight into the oncoming Licker which leaps into it and, in a baffling moment of action movie physics, causes them to both rise straight up into the air. Allowing Alice to shoot the gas tank and cause a fiery explosion. The second she crushes by shooting the chains holding up a giant crucifix, causing it to fall and land on top of the Licker. The third she simply blasts with a shotgun.
3 Wesker (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
In the finale of the fourth instalment, Alice and her group of survivors come face to face with the Umbrella corporation’s chairman, Albert Wesker, on his boat. Wesker was a fan favorite character from the original game series who crossed over to the movies along with his latter-day powers of super speed, resulting in a hugely entertaining bullet-dodging fight scene ripped straight from the video games.
Alice also has to contend with two mutated dogs, the first of which she gets with her coin-loaded shotgun which causes shards of overhead glass to fall. She notices a large piece falling and kicks it perfectly into the second dog as it leaps through the air. Nonsensical perfection.
2 An Army Of Alices (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
The Resident Evil movies didn’t always make good on their promises but when they did it was always very entertaining. The ending of Resident Evil: Extinction teases an army of superpowered Alice clones taking the fight to the Umbrella corporation and, in the opening action sequence of the next instalment, we get just that.
Paul W.S. Anderson gives his knock-off version of the action from the Matrix movies and the results are incredibly entertaining while they last. Alice and her clones storm Umbrella’s headquarters in Tokyo and take no prisoners in their quest for bloody revenge, with a colossal explosion to cap it all off.
1 The Moscow Chase (Resident Evil: Retribution)
A group of mercenaries infiltrating Umbrella’s underwater testing facility are suddenly faced by a new giant version of the Licker. Alice arrives just in time to whisk them away in style in a Rolls Royce, leading to the most stupendously ridiculous action sequence of the whole franchise. A chase sequence involving wheelie-popping zombie Russian soldiers on motorbikes.
After evading the battalion of machine gun wielding zombie motorcyclists, and a few jeeps armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns, the Licker catches back up with them. Resulting in a daring ramp jump into a subway entrance and a powerslide through some scaffolding, bringing the roof down on top of the Licker. You’ll never look at Red Square the same way again.