Zombies, thrills raise horror film from death
Mark Bemenderfer | Monday, September 13, 2004
It has been the year for sequels. Hollywood must be running out of imagination, as this year has been dominated by spin-offs to successful formulas. “Spider-Man 2,” “Shrek 2,” “Alien Vs. Predator” and even “Anacondas” have all received the sequel treatment. Some sequels have been memorable than others. The latest movie in this latter vein has been “Resident Evil: Apocalypse.”Many people may think back to the first “Resident Evil” and recall that it didn’t exactly rock the world. The actors weren’t huge, as it starred Milla Jovovich, a girl some may recall as being a bit actor in “The Fifth Element” and “Zoolander.” It put forward a vaguely “Alice in Wonderland” storyline as an Alice fought against the tyrannical nature of a computer called the Red Queen designed by the Umbrella Corporation. When the Red Queen was shut down, it also conveniently released a horde of zombies with a penchant for flesh. The first movie ended with a cliffhanger, as Alice fell back under the control of the Umbrella Corporation.”Resident Evil: Apocalypse” begins exactly where the other one ended, with some of the opening scenes overlapping between the two films. The story is introduced for those who missed the previous movie through a voice over by the Alice character, and almost immediately the audience is plunged into the action. The virus has broken out of the facility it was in during the first movie, and now Umbrella has the entire city locked down. This leaves a few brave individuals that are still locked within the city to find a way out. Fortunately, they are helped by a couple of Umbrella’s own.Almost before the first Resident Evil was released, the sequel was announced. Ever since then, the second movie promised to surpass the first in every regard. There was going to be more action, more critters and most important, more zombies. And in that aspect, this sequel succeeded in every category. There is more action. There are more critters and there is now a city full of zombies for your viewing pleasure.However, all is not well in Evil land. The story is filled with numerous plot holes. At one point in the film, as the heroes are running away from the walking dead they decide to visit a graveyard. The action is plagued with the quick camera shots that directors use to “heighten” tension and mask the actors’ actual fighting prowess. The movie itself feels like one big action scene, as the characters are given relatively little screen time to develop. The characters themselves alternate from believable to ludicrous, such as one zombie killer’s decision to hunt in a tube top and a short skirt.Of the two movies Paul W. S. Anderson is currently responsible for writing (this and “Aliens Vs. Predator”), this one left me with a better feeling on how the movie went. However, this one may be the improved one as it was directed by Alexander Witt instead of Anderson himself.Overall though, the film was pretty enjoyable. The brain needs to be left at the door, but the movie provides some decent entertainment for those into this kind of genre movie. If you liked the first, you will most likely enjoy this second look at the Resident Evil world.