STARRING: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Mike Epps, Oded Fehr

2004, 95 Minutes, Directed by Alexander Witt

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is the sloppy sequel to the 2002 sleeper hit Resident Evil which was based on a video game of the same name. Apocalypse rehashes most of the elements from the first movie in an attempt to ride the recent resurgence of zombie movies such as 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead.

Milla Jovovich reprises her role as Alice - a former employee of the all-powerful Umbrella Corporation - who has unknowingly become a walking experiment to create their own Lara Croft. Umbrella, an evil corporate citizen in the same vein as The Company in the Alien movies, makes everything from cosmetics to phones to bio-weapons. In the first movie, Umbrella had developed something called the T-virus that re-animates the dead. This is not to be confused with Umbrella’s Regenerate skin moisturizer – the product spoofed in a fake commercial in the teaser trailer.

Apocalypse picks up where the first movie left off – Alice has awakened to a city in chaos. Raccoon City (Toronto) is under quarantine as the T-virus spreads. After Umbrella evacuates its key staff, they send in their security force, STARS. With the entire city suffering from a zombie outbreak, Umbrella decides to activate Project Nemesis – a human mutation/super soldier sort of thing – to do battle with Project Alice. The city has just become a large lab experiment and Umbrella even has a contingency plan to clean up the mess – a tidy nuclear explosion that they’ll blame on a plant meltdown.

"Apocalypse makes the first Resident Evil movie look like high art!"

Though the first movie was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Alien vs. Predator director and Jovovich’s fiancé), Apocalypse was directed by Alexander Witt, a seasoned director of photography. This time out, Anderson only has writing credit for this mess. Resident Evil simply doesn’t work as a movie franchise. With action scenes that seem to have no plot to pull the movie into any cohesion, Apocalypse makes the first Resident Evil movie look like high art. Given its video game origins, Apocalypse is more like the next game level – more difficult, more obstacles but nothing particularly different from the previous game level.

Just as in the first movie, there are zombie Dobermans and a creepy little girl with a British accent. You have the added monstrosity of Nemesis but Alice manages to fight her way through the city along with a group of one-dimensional characters – a bad-ass female cop, a bad-ass STARS sharpshooter, an annoying TV reporter, and the token black guy. Jovovich herself comes from the acting school of grimacing pain – see or don’t see her work in Fifth Element and The Messenger. Alice fights like Lara Croft but Angelina Jolie is much more interesting on screen.

There are also homages to other movies – the dawn scene in the suburb of Toronto looks exactly the same as the one in the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead (which was also shot in Toronto). And there’re some gross happenings in a church, just like in 28 Days Later. It’s part of Apocalypse’s limited appeal that you can point out scenes either paying tribute to or ripping off Escape from New York and Night of the Living Dead or even Robocop. No wonder why this genre is ripe for satire. I’m waiting for Shaun of the Dead! As far as Resident Evil: Apocalypse – no surprise – it ends with a set-up for a third movie. What astonished me the most was that you’d think Anderson would write a really good script for his girlfriend. Maybe this is his way of telling Milla that it’s Game Over . . .

- Harrison Cheung


The kitchen sink plot is all over the place, which is annoying since – unlike the original with its single lean concept - the plot lacks focus. Still, the endless action and violence is entertaining in a mind-numbing sort of way and if Resident Evil: Apocalypse should be the third film in a triple video bill for the evening, the chances are that it won’t be too demanding and you will stay awake until the wee hours of the morning. James O'Ehley


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).