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"Resident Evil: Apocalypse"

Directed by Alexander Witt.
Written by Paul W.S. Anderson. 
Starring Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr and Mike Epps.
Release Year:  2004
Review Date:  9/13/04


I went Matinee on the first "Resident Evil", but since I'm a big fan of the video game series started on the Playstation many years ago, I had to check out the new sequel.  The story has transitioned quite well between the first and second flicks, reflecting a much better use of the video game's story arc...but, something isn't quite right.

This time around, Alice (Milla Jovovich) starts off right where the last film ended.  She wakes up in a hospital run by the Umbrella Corporation, some diabolical biotechnology firm that seems to like running experiments featuring zombies, fucked-up rabid dogs and a special experiment called Nemesis, a superhuman soldier that is designed to be the ultimate killing machine.  Alice walks out of this hospital into Raccoon City, which just happens to currently be overrun with...yep, more freakin' zombies, so it's up to Alice and a member of the Raccoon City Police Department, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), to figure out what's going on and get themselves out of Raccoontown before shit gets all blow'd up.

With my buddy Chi (a man who knows a thing or two about "all blow'd up"), we caught a Matinee tonight and while it isn't dogshit, it isn't as good as this property should have been.  It's hard to know where to begin, but in "Resident Evil: Apocalypse", at least there's the delivered promise of "non-stop action violence", like it says in the ratings description.  People are constantly getting eaten by zombies, blown up, shot to death or attacked by all manner of nasties.  The first "Resident Evil" had some action, but not nearly enough; thanks to director Alexander Witt (second unit director on a number of flicks, including "Gladiator", "Speed" and "Black Hawk Down"), at least the action scenes in "Apocalypse" do some good work.  As any action/horror film should be these days, the effects work is solid; kills are nasty, gunfire is loud, and the special effects are mostly done quite nicely.

Jovovich does this character well enough; however, I always thought after "The Fifth Element" she would do more with her film career, especially being married at the time to Luc Besson, director of the above Bruce Willis sci-fi flick and "The Professional."  But, it was not to be; "Messenger" (that Joan of Arc flick) was doomed, and then she began to show up in modeling work damn near everywhere.  Sure, that's where she started, but I thought she had real talent and would do something with it.  Nope!  The rest of the cast is listless, but they either fire weapons or get killed off with above-average flair for a genre flick like this; Guillory is either the third or fourth person I remember hearing would take this part (Mira Sorvino and Natasha Henstridge were thrown into the mix for a while), but she does a decent job as Valentine.  For me, I noticed only because I remember the games, and Guillory seems to play Valentine as a much tougher hombre than I remember her in the games.  It's also never really explained why she starts off in this movie wearing just a miniskirt and a tight top...but, I digress.

The problems with "Apocalypse" come with the story once again; whatever made the story in the games so good comes unraveled in the film adaptation.  The sinister workings of Umbrella are not dealt with very well, lots of times we get suspense kills instead of story drama, and that ending takes about four tries to get through, thanks to one little surprise after another.  Personally, watching Jovovich whoop dat ass for 90 minutes would have been an excellent idea, so if you are going to gas the screenplay at least give daddy some sweet kills!

Ahh, but it was not to be.  For $6, Chi and I weren't too upset.  But, "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" could have been so much more...

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09