After the ridiculous success of Resident Evil at the box office, the studio green-lit a sequel and injected a bit more money into it this time ($45 million versus Resident Evil’s $30 million). Paul W. S. Anderson decided not to stay on as director, but instead wrote the script and produced the film. And thank god. Resident Evil: Apocalypse improves on the first film in almost every way. Although, to be fair, that’s not saying much. It’s at least an entertaining horror romp, which is what I wanted out of Resident Evil, although that wasn’t even entertaining even in a fun-Saturday-night-beers-and-pizza kind of way. This embodies that mindset.
The performances still range from stupidly over-the-top, to so boring you want to hit yourself with a hammer, but it has at least got decent effects, a coherent story, and a nice looking visual style. It’s not a good movie, but it’s not the travesty the first film was.
Picking up were the last film left off, Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds that the T-virus (the virus that re-animated the dead) has escaped into Raccoon City (although it’s never explained how it managed to A. escape in such a short time, and B. escape at all, as everyone in the building was gassed in the first five minutes of Resident Evil) and infected almost the entire city. Raccoon City gets quarantined off with several military and police personnel still inside. Alice goes into Raccoon City, attempting to discover how the T-virus came to be and why, while also trying to survive the zombie hordes.
I do not consider Resident Evil: Apocalypse a good film. It’s dialogue is cheesy, it’s characters are non-existent, and the whole film just feels like a cash-in on a popular video game. But, there’s something appealing about Resident Evil: Apocalypse. It’s a fun film. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t feel guilty about liking it, but it’s just a ton of fun. I admit I could see Michael Bay making these films and them not turning out much different, but if you can say one thing about Michael Bay, it’s that he knows how to please a crowd. This is a crowd-pleaser movie, no doubt. And, as one of those, it works. It’s on the same wavelength as the first Transformers.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse has a couple of good performances in this film, most notable being Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine. That’s right an actual character from the games. Her character is nothing really special. Her defining characteristics are that she’s snarky, tough, no-nonsense, good in a fight, and a cop. That’s really it. But for what she’s given, Guillory does a good job. Milla Jovovich, however, continues to make me believe that she has little to no personality. I don’t know if that’s just the writing, but she doesn’t do anything for it. She is at least slightly better than last time, though. A new character comes into play here, by the name of L.J., and he is by far the most annoying character I’ve seen in a long time. When you meet him, you find out he has two custom gold pistols. This would be helpful, until you find out L.J. is as useful in a fight as wet sandpaper.
Overall, Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a fun zombie flick. It has some style, a couple of good performances, some decent scares, and a few really cool action scenes. Looking at it on it’s own, it’s mediocre. It’s not a great film, but it does okay with the material it has. Compared to Resident Evil, on the other hand, it’s like The Godfather, Citizen Kane, and Casablanca all rolled into one.