This franchise has had its ups and downs, but though it all, Milla Jovovich has remained its anchor and its greatest attraction. Without her burning charisma is it doubtful that the movies would have made it past the first trilogy, let alone starting on a second. Her presence on screen is second to none; she is the supermodel with the soul of an artist.
In Resident Evil (2002) she introduced us to Alice, who woke up in a mansion with no memory of who she was or how she got there. She joins forces with a bunch of commandos (including the redoubtable Michelle Rodriguez) and battles the zombies that have infested The Hive, an underground genetic research facility. It was a rattling good movie, full of action and gory scenes with zombies and lasers, and of course, Alice with her skimpy dress, long legs and zombie fighting skills.
Resident Evil Apocalypse (2004) takes the zombie war to the surface, and introduces Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr). Trapped in zombie infested Racoon City, abandoned by the Umbrella Corporation, who owned The Hive and created the zombie making T-Virus, Alice joins them to kill zombies and find the missing daughter of scientist Charles Ashford. If they find her, he will show them a way out of the beleagured city. In the end, Racoon City is nuked, a d Alice winds up back under the Umbrella being turned into SuperAlice.
Resident Evil Extinction (2007) takes the terror to the next level - the T-Virus has taken over the world, and Alice is wandering the wastes, zapping every zombie she comes across. Unknown to her, her cells are being cloned into hundreds of Alices by Umbrella’s Dr Isaacs, although they are not proving as deadly in the zombie killing stakes. Alice meets up with Carlos, who has joined a convoy headed for Alaska. The chemistry is even hotter, but unfortunately he gets bitten and sacrifices himself. Alice discovers her brutally discarded clones and goes after Isaacs.
The first trilogy had a clear trajectory - it started underground with a handful of infected zombies who quickly spread the T-Virus to most of the survivors. When Alice reached the surface again she found the virus got there first, and the trilogy moved on to the battle for Racoon City. By the third movie, the virus has spread across the world, and there were few uninfected survivors. Alice went from being an Umbrella worker and activist to a superhuman with amazing powers.
There was real excitement in waiting for the next instalment, and watching Milla grow the character of Alice into one of the most amazing women in science fiction.