'Resident Evil: Apocalypse' Review - Project Alice 2: Bigger, Dumber, Funnier
After grossing $103 million, the sequel to Resident Evil was assembled in no time. Apocalypse, because apparently 2 was very derivative, was released just two years later.
Paul W.S. Anderson stayed to produce and write, but couldn’t commit to directing due to his obligations with the flawed Alien Vs. Predator.
The baton was then passed on to Alexander Witt. Although he would make his directorial debut here, he was far from a rookie with more than 20 years of experience as a cinematographer and camera operator in dozens of films such as Black Rain, Cujo, Thelma & Louise, Twister, and Gladiator.
The approach of Alexander Witt is full of Dutch angles that pay homage to the original video game, as well as much more traditional locations for a zombie movie. The characters roam around borderline cliche places in Raccoon City, like churches and cemeteries. There is even a scene with zombies emerging from the ground a-la-'Thriller.'
Apocalypse presents other notable changes. It gives prominence to familiar characters of the original video games, especially Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Not only this is the debut of Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and Carlos Oliveira (Oded Fehr) whose costumes and character design seem directly extracted from a PlayStation, but one of the main villains is the bazooka-wielding mammoth-creature Nemesis (Matthew G Taylor).
Resident Evil: Apocalypse starts right where the previous one ended. We understand how Raccoon City became a zombie-infested war zone by following the story of great police officer Jill Valentine and Umbrella Soldier Carlos Oliveira in their struggle to contain the epidemic and ensure the evacuation of all residents. All the while we discover what experiments were done to Alice.
Umbrella, for its part, has only worried about evacuating its most valuable assets, such as Dr. Charles Ashford (Jared Harris). However, Ashford’s little daughter, Angie (Sophie Vavasseur) has been left inside the city, which triggered Dr. Ashford to contact the best survivors inside the Raccoon City to offer them evacuation in exchange for the rescue of their daughter.
This is how the path of Alice (Milla Jovovich), Jill and Oliveira end up crossing.
Of course, Umbrella and its unique method of conducting experiments in exactly the most chaotic and less controlled moments is still the main antagonist (and creators of plot-holes, of course).
Embodied in Major Timothy Cain (Thomas Kretschmann), Apocalypse reveals several of Umbrella’s plans. First, and most important, is that Alice is infected with the T-Virus, but far from becoming a zombie, her DNA has bonded with the virus, creating a super-warrior with enhanced superhuman strength and agility (and other hinted supernatural abilities). From Umbrella’s point of view, Alice is the strongest demonstration that the T-Virus is the next step in evolution rather than a mere generator of monstrous mutations.
Secondly, Umbrella has unleashed a hyper-mutated monster named Nemesis as a possible weapon and its playground is gonna be Raccoon City. Basically, Cain wants to test his weapons. He wants Alice and Nemesis to confront each other.
And third and perhaps more final, Umbrella will wrap up everything with a nuclear bomb that will devastate Raccoon City and any trace of Umbrella’s illegal activity.
Yes, the script is bonkers and only serves to enable Resident Evil: Apocalypse to what it really is: a big dumb action movie disguised as a horror movie.
The stunts are as absurd as they are funny (sometimes for the right reasons, sometimes for the wrong ones), including scenes like Oliveira’s bungee-jumping from a helicopter, while making impossible shots with two pistols, or the sequence when Alice displays her impressive skills for jumping and shooting from her motorcycle.
What's Your Rating For Resident Evil: Apocalypse?
Enough said Alice is still the absolute main character of the saga. Now a super-soldier with enhanced DNA, Alice/Milla Jovovich is both the heroine of the movie and Umbrella’s biggest asset.
She’s also the main face of this clumsy but welcomed light feminism that exists in the Resident Evil saga. Yes, they are beautiful women with sexy outfits, but that doesn’t hide the fact that they are strong characters and the leaders of the story, where they also practice a strong sorority and solidarity among them.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse took itself way less seriously than its predecessor and in the process ended up being a much cooler, faster and enjoyable movie.
Title: Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Release Year: 2004
Director(s): Alexander Witt
Actors: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory a.o.
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