September 16, 2004

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

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We all know the story: Evil Corporation messes around with gene-altering drugs that reanimate dead tissue, turning the dead into zombies out for human flesh. What’s up with that, anyway? Why do zombies feel so compelled to eat people? Don’t they have better things to do, like skydive without fear of death? And whenever a live person becomes surrounded by zombies, they seem to be ripped apart in the feeding frenzy. But then they themselves come back to life as a zombie and always have enough of their body left to stalk around trying to catch live food. That irritates me. Let’s have some continuity, people.

Alright, enough of my pet peeves with the zombie-genre — back to review. If you saw the first Resident Evil then you know that a virus escaped from the underground lab, The Hive, and infected Raccoon City. Apparently Alice (Jovovich, looking hot in a paper hospital dress) is the only one who survives, and it’s up to her to kick some serious zombie ass. If you didn’t see the first flick, don’t worry, I’m not ruining anything for you. This film picks up a little before the ending of the last film to fill in the blanks as to what happened while Alice was comatose.

Of course, there are a few other survivors in Raccoon City, and we get to meet them, including cartoon-hot chick cop Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory). I’m not sure if her uniform always consists of a corset, sorostitute short-shorts, and knee-high CFM boots, but whatever — it’s a special day when the dead walk. She’s the other badass chick who can kick ass and then smoke a cigarette while ignoring the blood spattered on her face. As much as I love her, there just wasn’t a lot to her. The film didn’t really see a need to develop any background for her or for any characters other than Alice. This was helpful in that many more questions relating to the Umbrella Corporation were answered. However, there does need to be some development of secondary characters so that as an audience we care about them at least a little bit.

I love a good action flick as much as the next girl, so I would have been more than willing to overlook the lack of character development in Resident Evil: Apocalypse if I had been served a large portion of super-awesome-mind-blowing fight scenes. Sadly, I was denied that aspect of my movie meal. DENIED! Most of the fight scenes had a gagillion cuts and blurred together so much that I had no idea what was going on, other than assuming people were getting hit and hurt thanks to the sounds of grunts and thuds blaring at me through the speakers. I don’t know if this is a new style of action sequencing or just the by-product of MTV video editing, but I can’t freaking follow action scenes when they’re filmed like this, and I feel like it’s been happening more and more lately. Give me Matrix “bullet-time” anytime. Or at least a fight with only a bazillion cuts instead of a gagillion. And yes, I am a math major, and these are real terms for numerical values.

All the faux endings redeemed the film a little for me. Every time I thought, ok, this is the creepy-ass cliffhanger, I was tricked and the movie kept going. I mean, until it did end, because otherwise I would still be watching it. Really, it was just that so little happened in terms of advancing the plot during the film, that the normal pace achieved by the end seemed to contain an overabundance of information.

If you saw and enjoyed the first movie, you’ll probably feel okay about this one. If you like the video games, I have no idea what you’ll think, because I’ve never played any of them. The fact that this movie was made just to further the Resident Evil franchise bothers me. I mean, producers are obviously free to do that, but at least make sure it’s a flick worth seeing with a halfway decent script. We all know X-Men 2 was made to get the plot ready for X-Men 3, but it was a good movie on its own. Basically, this is another sequel flick that doesn’t live up to it’s predecessor. Though we did get to see quite a bit of Milla Jovovich’s breasts. I have my viewing buddy to thank for making the comment she’s hotter with her clothes on.

2 1/2 Stars

Archived article by Sue Karp
Red Letter DAZE Staff Writer