Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Genre: Action and Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: September 10th, 2004 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Alexander Witt Actors: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Raz Adoti, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Sandrine Holt, Zack Ward, Iain Glen

 


 

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fter Alice (Milla Jovovich), the head of security at the Umbrella Corporation’s “Hive” facility – a giant underground lab experimenting with bioweaponry – survives an onslaught of re-animated zombies, a team of specialists reenter the construct. But instead of discovering what exactly happened down there, they’re overwhelmed by the mutated T-Virus contamination. As the outlying Raccoon City becomes infected, turning all of its citizens into zombies, it’s once again up to Alice to straighten things out.

Fortunately, she’s aided by Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), who is dressed quite faithfully to her video game character – though it’s a bit much that her official police uniform seems to be a tight black miniskirt, a revealing turquoise tube top, and dark leather holsters. And her dual pistols always seem to be powerful enough to stop attackers that can’t seem to be impeded by far larger weapons. As inhabitants storm the Ravens Gate bridge leading out of the city, and military units try futilely to suppress both the rush of people and the hordes of zombies, a biohazard quarantine traps soldiers and citizens alike in the chaos of the flesh-eating infected.

This direct sequel to 2002’s “Resident Evil” is instantly more silly. Commando Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) is introduced by diving prematurely out of a helicopter to discharge two guns simultaneously at a rooftop full of the undead, before utilizing some martial arts maneuvers to dispatch additional enemies. And it’s all for nothing, since the woman he hopes to rescue throws herself off the building anyway. Even if viewers ignore the repetitious jump scares, there is, annoyingly, greater attention given to striking poses and taking out zombies in style, rather than sensible explorations of survival horror. Quite inexplicably, Alice is also now the Rambo of zombie killers – coolly, emotionlessly, and confidently gunning down mutants by such ludicrous methods as igniting a motorcycle gas tank in mid-air as it collides with a charging beast. And later, she’s completely superhuman.

To please fans of the series, this follow-up includes the Nemesis Program, which finds environmentalist Matt (the only other survivor from the previous movie) transformed into a towering creature modeled on the main boss from Capcom’s third “Resident Evil” video game. Unfortunately, the Nemesis is practically comical in its execution, especially with its man-in-a-costume design, clunky movements, and its single line of dialogue (a signature utterance from the source material). Additionally, S.T.A.R.S. troopers are prime targets, rocket launchers are unloaded frequently, and the streets of Raccoon City are littered with bodies and detritus.

Problematically, there’s also time allotted for comic relief, which doesn’t fit in with the zombie violence, since it’s already incredibly difficult to take any of the adventures seriously. But despite this unnecessary humor, the film does try to inject a few new tricks into the franchise, even if they’re mostly ideas seen in other zombie features (or they’re repeats of the successful zombie dog routine from before). Corpses erupt from graves, child flesh-eaters inhabit a classroom, and Alice defies gravity to sprint down the side of a skyscraper. But none of these moments are truly awe-inspiring; rather, they’re exaggerated and unconvincing and overstuffed with ill-timed slow-motion. Plus, the final fistfight showdown with the Nemesis is laughably goofy. “Finish him!” And then it ends with yet another setup to another sequel.

– Mike Massie

  • 1/10