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I am probably one of the only people in this dimension that was really looking forward to seeing Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I'll admit that I'm a bit of a dork, and love both video games and all things zombie. So how could I not look forward to this movie? I liked the first one despite the fact that it veered sharply from the normal sort of zombie flick I enjoy. It took the basic story of the game, and made it feel like a part of the series.
Well, the fanboys just couldn't't stand all that artistic license, and jumped on their pudgy legs to cry out against it (spilling Mountain Dew and Cheetos everywhere in the process). For some reason writer (and director of the first film) Paul W. S. Anderson caved in to their demands, and decided to make the second movie more like the games. And that's where it all started to go horribly wrong.
We pick up with our heroine Alice exactly where we left her in the first movie, scantily clad and a toting shotgun in the middle of a city laid to waste by the living dead. The evil Umbrella Corporation (creators of the "T-virus" responsible for this carnage) has blocked off the city, and the few survivors must band together (because what else do they do in movies like this?) to try and escape the city alive. Several of these "zombies in waiting" are characters lifted directly from the games, and none of them serve any purpose other than being from the games. The most notable is Jill Valentine, who is recreated so completely that she's even wearing the same costume as her pixilated counterpart. Now granted, I have never had to race out of my house to battle shuffling hordes of the undead (yet), but if I were to do so I'd want to be wearing something more comfortable than a tube top and ultra-miniskirt. Call me crazy.
But for a movie about a city overrun with zombies, there are disappointing numbers of them shown. They only appear en masse in a few scenes. The best being the zombie children in the school, the worst being the dead rising from the grave a la Michael Jackson's Thriller video. Seriously, it's called the T-VIRUS! A virus has to have living cells to invade in order to spread. How could a virus possibly spread through the body of a person that's been dead for years?!? But, back to my point. The movie instead focuses on Alice fighting the people who turned her into a super-human zombie-killing machine, doing stupid-human stunts, and the zombie fodder she pointlessly tries to help along the way. She is eventually forced to face her nemesis, the aptly named Nemesis (the only other survivor from the first movie, some guy named Matt. Sounds scary, huh?) The horribly mutated and evil Nemesis (Matt) somehow retains enough humanity to help the girl he loved from the last movie (talk about suspension of disbelief. They were only together for a few hours in the first movie and now he's going to risk his life to save her? Right.).
The majority of the excess cast is trimmed down in a fairly satisfying way, but enough of them survive that it seems inevitable that a third Resident Evil movie will soon be in the works. If Paul W. S. Anderson is going to going to continue writing the series then I can only hope that he stops borrowing from recent movies like 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead, and goes back to what makes Resident Evil scary in the first place -- crappy camera angles and unresponsive controls. Nothing says Resident Evil to me more than being stuck in a corner, shooting wildly, while zombies are taking turns gnawing on you and the green herbs are just out of reach.
Want a second opinion of this film? Take a look at theJK's review over at Living Corpse dot com!
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