Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

Despite appearing in two Resident Evil films it feels like the series wasted Michelle Rodriguez’s talents, as her other franchise roles have shown.

Despite appearing in two of the films, Michelle Rodriguez keeps proving all the ways the Resident Evil franchise wasted her. Rodriguez first broke through with her lead turn in 2000’s Girlfight and swiftly appeared in back-to-back hits like The Fast And The Furious and S.W.A.T. The actor has stayed consistently busy in the decades since, ranging from the highs of the later Fast & Furious sequels and Avatar to the lows of 2016’s turgid The Assignment. Despite this track record, Rodriquez has yet to receive a franchise built around her.

One of her earliest, post-Girlfight roles came with 2002’s Resident Evil, based on Capcom’s hit video game. The original was sold as a two-hander between Rodriguez and Milla Jovovich’s Alice, with the former playing a commando whose team ends up trapped in an underground lab filled with zombies. The film ended with the death of her character Rain after she turns into a zombie, though Rodriquez later came back to play two different roles in 2012’s fifth outing Resident Evil: Retribution. In a franchise plagued by forgettable supporting characters, Rain made an impression.

Resident Evil Wasted Michelle Rodriguez’s Talents

Considering the way the Resident Evil movies became so focused on Jovovich’s Alice, it’s almost hard to recall how important Rain was in the first entry. She gets nearly as much action as Alice, and her infection becomes a major ticking clock in the second half. The burgeoning friendship between Rain and Alice makes her death sting all the more, while she and Jovovich shared good chemistry. Of course, there was no way to predict how successful Resident Evil would go on to become, but Rain’s demise feels like a missed opportunity in several ways.

Rodriquez has shown a talent for overcoming even the most thinly written roles and is one of the most underrated female action stars of her generation. There’s a reason Letty’s role in the Fast & Furious saga has only gotten bigger, as she can not only handle the fistfights and vehicles, but she’s an emotional anchor for them too. Her dual roles in Retribution even gave her a chance to show off her comic chops, but she ultimately didn’t have much to do outside the action. Rain could have become a recurring character in the Resident Evil series, and acted in a role similar to one eventually taken by Ali Larter’s Claire.

Rodriguez Nearly Became The Lead Of Resident Evil

The Resident Evil films suffered from a lack of human connection, as most of Alice’s friends died horribly. With Rain, there was a chance to build a bond over several entries. Ironically, Rodriguez herself nearly became the lead of the franchise. When she was cast as Rain, she was coming off the heat of Girlfight, where she was tipped for a potential Oscar nod. Director Paul W.S. Anderson then rewrote the screenplay to make Rain the main character, with Alice in a supporting role. Jovovich was (understandably) furious with those sudden rewrites, and threatened the exit unless her original part was restored.

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