Saturday, August 21, 2010

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Director: Alexander Witt
Notable Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Jared Harris, Mike Epps, Raz Adoti, Sandrine Holt, Zack Ward

One of the few things that kept the original Resident Evil film afloat was its sleek and charming directing from Paul W.S. Anderson. What Resident Evil: Apocalypse is definitely missing is that charm. So what we have is a far worse film burdened by a poor script that neither has the pizazz nor the balls to actually do what needed to be done for this film to work.

Alice was taken by the Umbrella Corporation at the end of the first film. She wakes up only to find that the wonderfully quaint Raccoon City has now been overrun with the virus spreading its undead legions upon the world. Umbrella has quarantined the city in an attempt to contain the zombie horde and creations of their doing. With the help of some new friends (like Jill Valentine from the game), a couple of mercenaries, and a wheelchair bound scientist looking for his lost daughter. Working together they have to survive their predicament and get out of Raccoon City.

Combining elements from the second and third video games, Apocalypse is a mish mash of too many stories and characters to really do itself any good. Bringing in characters from the games like Valentine or Olivera might have been done to appease the fans, but it comes off as blasphemy to the great storytelling and characters that actually were in the game. Even the original characters for the film come off as paper thin and poorly acted as the film focuses on the obscene amount of pointless action that only seems to pad the film rather than make it all that exciting.

Thus, what we have is a film written by Anderson that isn't directed by Anderson. The worst of both worlds. His dialogue is shitty and rather pointless and the story is too filled with plot holes to even try to follow all that logically. New comer director to the series, Witt, seems clueless at how to make an exciting action film or an effective Horror film. The zombie shots are all done in excruciatingly slower than slow, slow motion with lots of distorted and fuzzy shots taking away from any kind of true terror they could have had. Its almost as if Witt was carbon copying the modern quick cut and over the top action that was working in the first one. It doesn't work. Not to mention the ridiculous kung fu flick like sound effects for punches and shots and this movie almost feels to be a joke rather than a legit sequel. He tries too hard and not hard enough at the same time.

It must also be mentioned that the horrible and vile villain of Nemesis from the third game (who truly struck fear into the hearts of players) comes off as some sort of damn Muppet on steroids. He's weak. He's goofy looking. He doesn't work at all. Never once did I feel fear for Alice as he chases her through the streets with a rocket launcher (yeah, whatever) and his scenes come off as humorous rather than foreboding. They truly took a frightening element of the games and made a mockery of it.

If I had a list of worst films I have ever seen, Apocalypse would definitely make it. Partially because of its horrid attempt at bringing the games into the film world and partially because its just a plain and awful film. I originally saw this in the cheapie theaters and considered walking out about half way though. Its script is bad, its acting and characters paper thin, and the special effects match the poor vision of the director. This series didn't start off on the best foot and easily stumbles to the ground with this second entry. Worth the laugh if you are willing to torture yourself. I normally love bad movies, but Apocalypse crosses the line and doesn't even come off as fun.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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