out of Five
Running time: 95
Marginally better than the first film, but that’s not saying very much – this has a few good moments but isn’t particularly scary or gory.
Zombie fans who felt that “director” Paul W.S. Anderson was single-handedly responsible for the disappointment that was 2002’s Resident Evil might be tempted to rejoice in the knowledge that he hasn’t directed the sequel (he was too busy jumping franchises to the upcoming Alien Vs Predator instead).
However, any such rejoicing would be short-lived, since Anderson still wrote the screenplay and director Alexander Witt isn’t much of an improvement. That said, Apocalypse is marginally more enjoyable than the first film, even if only because it’s more unashamedly rubbish.
Sequel Picks Up Where Original Left Off
The sequel picks up more or less from where it left off: escaping the underground silo from the first movie, genetically-enhanced Zombie
Ass-Kicker Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself wandering around Racoon
City, where the Zombie Virus has been very busy turning almost everyone into zombies.
The perimeter soon gets sealed off and the remaining citizens of Racoon City, both alive and undead, are scheduled for a damn good nuking…
With the clock ticking, Alice hooks up with a couple of fellow ass-kickers (Sienna Guillory as Lara Croft-alike Jill Valentine and Oded Fehr as Carlos Oliveira) and heads off to find the daughter of Jared Harris’ Mad Scientist type, in the hopes that Harris will help them to escape.
However, as if the zombies weren’t bad enough, they also have to contend with Nemesis (Matthew Taylor), a genetically-mutated killing machine that’s part zombie, part Terminator and part direct rip off from season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…
Resident Evil: Apocalypse suffers from the same problems that blighted the first film - its 15 certificate ensures that nothing too scary or gory happens and the action sequences are poorly directed, substituting LOUD NOISES and rapid-fire editing for actually being able to tell what’s going on. That said, there is an admirably bonkers moment where Alice drives a motorbike through a stained-glass window, so it’s not all bad.
Some Good Moments
To be fair, the film does have its moments – there’s a particularly creepy scene involving a roomful of Zombie Schoolchildren, but the pesky 15 certificate means that we don’t get to see Alice blowing them all away. There are also a couple of amusing moments that show that the sequel at least has its tongue in its cheek in places, for example, the scene with the Topless Zombie Hookers and also Alice’s demonstration of How To Use A Fire Blanket (kids, don’t try this at home).
The acting is something of a mixed bag – Milla may not be much of an actress but she works wonders with the whole Negligee and Really Big Gun ensemble and is happy to provide Gratuitous Nudity, so that’s all right.
Sienna Guillory, on the other hand, is great, but her character is under-developed, possibly because the producers were afraid she’d upstage the star. Predictably, Jared Harris is as awful as ever and quite why Iain Glen signed up for his five minutes is anybody’s guess. As for the character of Nemesis, it looks like a six year old’s artist’s impression of HellBoy and will more than likely make you wish you’d decided to see that movie again instead.
In short, as sequels go, this is watchable enough, although Apocalypse is an extremely dumb subtitle for a film without an apocalypse – in fact, the film is left open for yet another sequel, which might just be the scariest thing about it. Still, at least when Apocalypse is bad, it’s enjoyably bad, though if it’s proper Zombie Action you want, you’d be better off renting the Dawn of the Dead remake.