Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Director: Alexander Witt
Jared Harris/Dr. Ashford
The T-Virus outbreak spreads about Raccoon City and unleashes an army of undead. The Umbrella Corporation quarantines the area, leaving cute buttock Jill Valentine (Guillory), tough guy Carlos Olivera (Fehr) and hard nipples Alice (Jovovich) to fend for themselves about the chaos filled petting zoo. Let the party begin? Maybe not...
Having boogied to the original "Resident Evil", I was really looking forward to this sequel. Then I heard that Paul W.S. Anderson, who had directed the first film, stepped down as director (to focus on "Alien vs Predator") and my expectations dropped like a dead corpse at the bottom of a bubble-filled bathtub. I assume for most, the opposite occurred, but what I can say…I adore Anderson’s visual style, contemporary sensibilities and energetic demeanor….sue me! And you know what, fellow psychopaths? Having now seen this “fart in the wind” sequel...I missed Anderson’s presence behind the camera even more!
Written by Anderson and largely inspired by the "Resident Evil 3: Nemesis" videogame, Resident Evil: Apocalypse's chain of events thankfully moved quicker than the Road Runner on steroids and I was therefore, admittedly, never bored. It grooved so swiftly though, that nothing stayed with me after the screening either. I’ll give the movie this: it felt more like the videogame than the original did. It was a hoot (for this part-time gamer anyways) to see Jill Valentine, Carlos Olivera and badass Nemesis (who looked freaking amazing) finally getting into the mix. Sienna Guillory, in particular, nailed her Jill Valentine role like a queen, echoing her game counterpart on all counts perfectly. The grim setting also worked when it came to the portrayal of the enclosed and destroyed Raccoon City. It smelled and felt like Resident Evil! In addition, I appreciated a couple of the action bits: namely the one involving a motorcycle, another in a graveyard and the Milla Jovo-nipples running down the side of a building thing. Lastly, that last frame made sense to me! Looking forward to see where they’ll go with the second sequel!
But alas, apart from those random treats, not much from the flick left a lasting impression on me. First off, it totally failed as a Zombie movie. Few close-ups of Zombies aside, the bulk of the undead shenanigans had to do with crowds in the shadows or from far away shots. They could’ve been wearing dirty diapers and clown makeup on their faces for all I knew! To make matters worse, the Zombies and the token Resident Evil creatures (Lickers and Dobermen) were shamefully underused! Taking into account the premise (town overrun with undead and monsters) that was a big No-No! I was grateful for what the first film did with its fiends even more after this sequel! Furthermore, for an R-rated movie, the gore factor was ludicrously low! I’ve seem more blood in my freaking toilet on weekends (don’t ask) than in this dryer than a 90-year old hag opus. BOOOOOO!
It didn’t fare much better when it came to its storyline either. The narrative was rushed and “all over the place” with never enough focus set upon a subplot or a character (I wanted more Carlos!) for me two give two shits about anybody or anything. The same can be said about the “James Bond” German-like villain in the house and the plot hole laced last block for which he was responsible. WHATEVER, MAN! And what was up with the shoddy fight sequences? They were badly shot and mostly executed in close ups/shaky cam mode. Hey man, I’d like to see SOMETHING for my time! That’s why I came to see this flick! The final “pukey” element was that “Bling Bling”, Gold Guns sporting, Pimping, black comic relief. I’m so sick of that freaking character being in every recent genre film! STEP OFF, ALREADY! YOU’RE NOT FUNNY! I guess that’s the generation gap talking.
Overall, although it did emulate Resident Evil "the game” adequately, "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" played it too safe for me to get back-handed by it and too sloppy when it came to delivering the candy that I expected to chew on fervently when going in. This sequel had more in common with a lazy and generic sci-fi channel Movie of the Week than its cinematic forefather! GAME OVER!
We get a knife in the head, bloodless head shots, gunshot wounds and damaged creatures (Lickers and Dogs). Just don’t blink and you might see some grub. Easily the driest Zombie movie ever made and it’s an R-rating! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN!?!
Milla Jovovich (Alice) looked great and kicked ass like a champ, but her performance felt half-assed at times. I heard through the grapevine that she wasn’t happy with this sequel...it showed. Sienna Guillory (Jill) shined and emulated her video game persona admirably...right down to the posturing. Good stuff, girl! Oded Fehr (Carlos) did fine as “action man”, but was underused. Mike Epps (LJ) played the token “bling bling” black comic relief…I didn’t laugh once. Jared Harris (Dr. Ashford) phoned in his presence while Sophie Vavasseur (Angie) gave an endearing show.
T & A
We get two tit shots from a couple of female Zombie hookers (I’m not kidding) and we also get lots of Milla flesh with her “phone dialer” nipples being the highlight. The ladies get Nemesis’ big and hard rocket-launcher.
I can’t say I warmed up to Witt’s visual style too much. He kept using this low-rent slow motion effect that grated me and his shaky cam/tight shots fight sequences blew hard knocks cock. Sure, there were some moments that worked, but on the whole...I was blasé about it all.
We get a pedestrian “heavy metal axed” score. Adequate, yet far from memorable.
I didn’t go into "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" looking for character depth, solid dialogue or a substance-filled storyline. I went in looking for exciting action and flesh-craving Zombies, but I rarely got that. What’s a goreless Zombie film? What’s a Zombie-less Zombie film? What’s a sloppily shot action film? EXACTLY! Not much. Resident Evil 2 could’ve been "fun times at the out-house", but although it was speedy and had appealing leads, it never took the time to stop for a second and deliver the goods hardcore. Think a hooker that’ll give you a clumsy hand job, but won’t blow your pipe. What’s the point? I could get that at home for free! See it on DVD as a “time waster". Back to the original film I go!
The trailer misled me and that pissed me off! It showed Milla Jovovich running down the side of a building as it blows up. In the film, she does run down the side of a building, but the explosion is not part of the same scene...it happens later. Fuck you, you lying marketing pricks! I was looking forward to seeing her run AS the building blew up!
John Fallon (yes, me!) actually auditioned for the part of Carlos Olivera. Don’t ask me why they wanted to see me for that role (I don’t look Latin for a second…I’m as white as snow), but they did see me for it. I had to do the “We’re expendable assets and we just got expended” scene and the “girl wanting to jump off the building” exchange.
This was Alexander Witt’s first film. He’s worked on a myriad of features though as Second Unit Director of Photography (like "Twister" and "XXX").
The film was shot in Toronto, Canada and that’s why the suburb shots look EXACTLY like the suburb shots found in the "Dawn of the Dead" remake (which was also shot in Toronto). Guess what "Land of the Dead" will look like? Yes, it’s also being shot in Toronto…bugh.