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Film Review: Resident Evil - Apocalypse (2004)



Directed by Alexander Witt, written by Paul W.S. Anderson, and starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sandrine Holt, Iain Glen, Sophie Vavasseur, Jared Harris, and Mike Epps.

"Alice awakens from a terrible sleep to find her worst fears realized--the bloodthirsty Undead, which she and the now-annihilated squad of elite military fought to destroy, have been unleashed on the city that surrounds the secret facility of the Umbrella Corporation. Discovering she was an Umbrella experiment, Alice has been bio-genetically enhanced with new strengths, senses and dexterity--and she will need them. In the heart of the ravaged Raccoon City, a small group of uninfected people, including Jill Valentine, a recently demoted member of Umbrella Corp's elite Special Tactics and Rescue Services team, and S.T.A.R.S team leader Carlos Oliveira, fight for their lives against swarms of Undead and the deadlier and faster Lickers. Running out of luck and resources, the group is rescued by Alice, and they begin to wage an exhilarating battle to survive and escape before the Umbrella Corporation erases its experiment from the face of the earth. Their only hope lies somewhere within Raccoon City--Dr Charles Ashford, one of the leading scientists for the Umbrella Corporation, will help Alice and the others escape the city safely--if they find his daughter. Angie Ashford became separated from her father and now hides in fear. Alice, Jill and Carlos will have to fight their way through an army of Undead to save her. All the while, a secret weapon code-named Nemesis has been experimentally altered with greater modifications than Alice and has been programmed to track and destroy them. They will need all their strengths and skills to fight the battle of their lives against the mindless evil that has infected the city and the powerful forces that unleashed it on mankind."

The second in the video game-adapted series finds a few more elements from the games thrown into the mix, beginning with a plot resembling the third game, Resident Evil: Nemesis and incorporating its two main characters, Jill Valentine and Carlos Olivera. Despite its many similarities, fans (myself included) of the game series were displeased with its new, wooden game characters and constant changes to the original story. The game's main villain, Nemesis, is a far cry from the terror and over-dominance of its original incarnation, and one can't help but wonder what happened along the way. Gone is the creepiness and overall atmosphere that made the first film a decent horror movie. One might very well contribute this to writer Paul Anderson taking the back seat on its production, giving the director's seat to first time (and so far, only) Alexander Witt, known better for being the director of photography (usually second unit) on the likes of Twister, xXx, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Hannibal, Daredevil, and Gladiator. Then again, I could also be giving Anderson too much credit for his own deserving.
Since the horror is practically non-existent, the action is brought prominently to the forefront. This is where the movie achieves its small level of success. It's the definition of a popcorn flick through and through, and it that respect, provides a small measure of entertainment. But it never once achieves the level of enjoyment of its predecessor, unfortunately. The acting is still average, the plot is below, and the dialog, well, I truly feel that Paul Anderson never had a knack for writing dialog: "We're assets, Nicholai. Expendable assets... and we've just been expended." Sometimes if it just feels like he would be right at home writing the next House of the Dead sequel. It's so dry and boring at times, that if it wasn't for the almost constant action, I probably would have fallen right asleep. The characters are clich├ęd and almost parody-like to the point that I can't care whether they live or die, of which most do.

The movie isn't a complete loss though. The musical score is composed by none other than Jeff Danna, known for rewriting the music to the Silent Hill video games for its movie adaptation, the very strange movie Tideland, and writing with his brother, Michael, the addictive opening Irish theme to The Boondock Saints. Instead of the in-your-face method Marilyn Manson took with the original film, Danna approaches the project with a more subtle, in-the-background style that suits the idea of the movie, if not the movie itself. What I mean to say is that his talent was lost on this project from the start, which is a shame. Another nice touch, I found, was providing us with a physically representation of the first film's Red Queen, which character Angela Ashford's character was the main inspiration. Funny enough, this young girl was easily the most mature actor in the movie.
The film was a critical failure, and despite it doing well at the box office, fans of the game series and the first movie also consider this to be a weak film, to put it lightly. After having watched it again yesterday for the first time in quite a while, I fond myself looking at it in a less harshly view. While I'm still disheartened to see a horror movie without almost any horror at all, if you go in expecting an action flick with cheesy dialog and brain dead plot, you'll have a decent time. In my mind, it's the worst in the series, but far from a terrible zombie film. Trust me, there's worse out there. It's just average: not good, not bad. Keep in mind, Snoop Dogg was originally attached to the film to play L.J. So it definitely could have turned out worse. Besides, Sienna Guillory looks pretty hot in the game-inspired outfit, doesn't she? I also just stumbled onto a site that points out that the German version is extended, making the constant action sequences not so seamless, and breaks up the mayhem with a bit more 'small talk' and story, but not much. You can find it all right here. I'd also like to point out that I liked the original teaser for Apocalypse much more than the actual trailer that came later. You can find it just below.

Best quote: Major Cain- "Wait! Killing me won't make things right." Alice- "No, but it's a start!"

3 comments:

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what a relief by your comment of zombies don't read, well I saw this movie several times, and any time that I see this movie, I noticed some issues, one this movie have two of most sexiest women in the world Milla and Sienna, two the incredible design of nemesis and least the environment and zombies.

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I think that the Zombies are so scary, I love the stories because I think that the science fiction is one of the drivers of the Zombies, Resident evils is one of the icons if the zombies, what great videos! 22dd

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