Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Grade: C-
Year: 2004
Director: Alexander Witt
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Genre: Horror
Rated: R
By Scott (Editor)

"Resident Evil: Apocalypse" is based on the popular "Resident Evil" video game, which is more than I can say for the first "Evil" which did as much good for that game franchise as the "Mortal Kombat" movies. And whadda' you know, we can link both failed films to the same director.

But this isn't an attack on Paul Anderson who wrote the "Evil" sequel but passed the directing torch to Alexander Witt. While I hated (along with the other four people who saw) Alien Vs. Predator, I still like the guy. If nothing else he brought us the highly underrated space horror, "Event Horizon."

Alas, this isn't "Event Horizon" but a pointless exercise in fission by taking one film and deriving another that boasts a similar story with improved special effects. The latter aspect doesn't say much considering the first film's special effects were glitchy and highly inferior for its time just two years ago.

One thing you can't help but notice is that this movie relies heavily on sex appeal. So much so that the theatrical poster for the film features Milla Jovovich in a towel and spends the first ten minutes of the movie wrapped up in one before finding a nifty outfit she probably picked up from Raccoon's answer to GAP --before it was evacuated due to yet another viral outbreak.

As a result of the T-virus spreading throughout Toronto…I mean, Raccoon city, the entire populace has been turned into walking undead zombies. In response to this oh-so-bad situation, Umbrella Corporation, creator of the T-virus, plans to nuke the city in T-minus X-minutes -- the exact time Milla Jovovich's Alice has to save the remaining stragglers/survivors from impending doom. With only one bridge that leads out of town, Alice and company are stuck in the center of an ever-closing circle of zombies.

While blasting away flesh-eaters and satanic doberman pinschers, Alice runs into other militant rebels, including recognizable video game character, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), Alice's competition for the "most inappropriately attired for the situation yet wonderfully sexy" chick. Add a TV news reporter (Sandrine Holt), rescue team leader (Oded Fehr), and a still-alive civilian (Mike Epps) to the mix and you've got a good group of survivors; one or more of which may eventually become zombie fodder.

Realizing that the only way out of the infested city before 'splosion time is via helicopter, the group agrees to seek out and rescue the daughter (Sophie Vavasseur) of an Umbrella scientist (Jared Harris) currently trapped in a school with zombie-dogs and zombie-kindergartners. Once the team secures the scientist's daughter he will navigate them to safety.

So the rebel team must shoot their way to the school and then the helicopter. For kicks and giggles Alice descends a skyscraper in one scene and crashes a motorcycle through a church's stained-glass window in another. As silly as that part is, it is the only time in either of the two "Evil" movies when video game fans will recognize the vaguely familiar "Resident Evil" nostalgia.

But the fun ends when we meet Nemesis, a tongue-slithering bulky zombie who was once Alice's former co-worker/lover. The discovery of this fact leads to an awkward scene of intimacy, but not before Alice and Nemesis do a little one-on-one in the kickboxing arena. If the film wasn't already preposterous enough by this point then I need to say no more.

If there's anything good about "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" it is that it improves on the atrocious first film. As I already pointed out, the opening church sequence looks a lot like what "Resident Evil" the game would be if it were a movie. That being said, was a movie version of the video game worth being produced or at all necessary? The answer has been clearly spelled out for you.

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