Resident Evil: Apocalypse Movie Review

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Anyone who's a fan of the Resident Evil series of video games can't help but get a little twinge of excitement seeing the trailer for this second RE film, even if you thought the first Resident Evil was atrocious. Why? This flick has some of your favorite game characters: Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and the horrific Nemesis monster. Dude!

But while I'll admit that I felt that twinge (since I am an old fan of the games), I can't say that this equally lame sequel does anything to prolong that twinge into real enjoyment. Resident Evil: Apocalypse rots - as badly as its zombie costars. It has a few cheap violent thrills, but none of the true suspense or chills that you'll crave.

We pick up where the last film left off. Alice (Milla Jovovich, looking as stunning as ever) wakes up in a lab in Raccoon City, which is overrun with zombies. Her old boss, mega-corporation and first film's villain Umbrella Corporation, has been using the same T-virus, which turns everyone into the brain-chomping undead, to engineer two supersoldiers: Alice, who's now a kind of bionic woman, and Nemesis, an ultra-mutant that packs a mean rocket launcher.

Umbrella is also responsible for the zombie invasion in town, unleashing the virus from its underground lab from movie 1, and now they have to nuke the town at sunrise to erase evidence of the foul up. Alice and her crew have to get out of town before morning, without getting chomped by ghoulies and without getting blasted by Nemesis.

The plot is somewhat enticing, because it's lifted from the cool storyline of the games. But somehow, writer Paul W.S. Anderson (who is also Jovovich's fiancé) and director Alexander Witt can't make it scary or thrilling. The zombies still suck, as they're slow and non-menacing (except, possibly, in their sheer numbers).

Instead, you'll have to settle for massive explosions and constant, brutal firepower, which just doesn't carry you through. Between the action, you slog through a sappy "We've got to stick together!" moments and more Alice flashbacks to the first movie than you can shake a stick at.

But let's face it; one doesn't go to see the Resident Evil sequel for the great writing or acting. Mike Epps turns in one of the better performances in a "wacky black guy" type role, this film's attempt at comic relief. Unfortunately, if Milla Jovovich is of the strongest talents in your cast, it's clear you've spent your money elsewhere.

The emphasis here, even more than in the first RE, is to clearly to recreate the shoot-'em-up video game experience. Get the crew to the school, save the little girl, get airlifted out of the city, mow everything down in your path, earn more powerful weapons, and fight the big boss in the end. Oh, and make sure you leave things open for another sequel.

Can they actually draw this franchise out further? I suppose if you keep Milla dressed up with a hot outfits and a shotgun, the audience will keep coming - like the Raccoon City zombies in this film. Except the RE movie-going audience is probably scarier.

Requisite sheet-ville.

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Resident Evil: Apocalypse Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2004


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