RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 11, 2010
“Resident Evil: Apocalypse” is the whore of the “Resident Evil” franchise. Based completely on the video games “Resident Evil 2” and “Resident Evil 3: Nemesis,” the storyline, characters, and main boss are ripped right from the successful game series. Toss in the character, Alice, from the first film, and the series continues in a dismal attempt at moneymaking sequel-try.
What happened to the zombies? “Resident Evil” was formed on the foundation of flesh-eating undead. However, the void suggests that the producers wanted to take the franchise in another direction. There is no other direction. A butcher-suit wearing super killing machine stomping around Raccoon City, derived from the third “Resident Evil” video game, would be just fine had it been surrounded by the hoards of zombies. But apparently, the zombies are sitting this one out in the police station, one of the only locations they actually appear.
Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), also ripped straight from the video game, becomes the secondary leading lady, playing the rogue police officer stuck in the city of the infected. Valentine is forced to stay behind when the Umbrella Corporation seals off the only exit out of Raccoon City. It is there she follows friend Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) (also from the game) who heads the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (S.T.A.R.S.). The only problem, the Nemesis program, mentioned at the end of the first film, is headed by the super killing machine programmed to annihilate the remaining S.T.A.R.S. teams and as many of the infected civilians as possible.
The only line of defense against the Nemesis program is Alice (Milla Jovovich), who was reengineered with the T-virus by the Umbrella corporation before zombies and “Lickers” took over the facility (as seen at the end of the first film and replayed towards the beginning of the second film). Alice ends up meeting the rest of the gang in Raccoon City, including funnyman Mike Epps and discovers her true powers with some motorcycle acrobatics in a church. By no fault of her own, Milla is the prime source of cheesy action sequences and overdone production value.
The underlying storyline is supplied by the creator of the T-Virus, who, restricted to a wheelchair, enlists the help of the super team to find his missing daughter. In return, he will offer extraction from the city before it is nuked of all the zombies. The plot-less film becomes whole as the team fights their way through a replay of creatures from the first film including zombie dogs and a pack of new threats, including a middle school packed with starving zombie schoolchildren.
Deeply invested in the “Resident Evil franchise,” the second film can still work. The hint of a plot helps make for an original story (unless you’re George Romero, who makes original stories while doing an excellent job of keeping the stars of the show, the zombies, in full force) and the return of Alice keeps the diehards at bay. But the second film is foreshadowing of what is to come with the following films, leading to even less resemblance to the video games. The recipe for “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” was simple: take an already existing storyline and already developed characters from the video games, slap humans into their clothing, and you have a brand new film. However, those viewers that aren’t zombies will see straight through the imitation and resentfulness will eat them alive.
September 10, 2004
Paul W. S. Anderson
(for non-stop violence, language and some nudity)
Paul W. S. Anderson