Resident Evil: Apocalypse
by Clint Fletcher
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Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the brink of something very astonishing. We have entered a new world… a world where sequels don’t suck. That’s right, my fellow readers, this is the year of the DECENT sequel. Take your pick: Spider-Man 2, The Bourne Supremacy, Shrek 2, Harry Potter 3… even The Chronicles of Riddick exceeded its predecessor. And the hits just keep on coming.
Now its time to add Resident Evil: Apocalypse to the list.
Before I dive into the film, I would first like to pay special attention to the movie’s writer and franchise creator, Paul W.S. Anderson. Many of you may not be a fan of his work, but this critic right here bows before him in front of a golden pedestal. Why? Because he is the only filmmaker that has the capabilities of turning garbage material into enjoyable, entertaining popcorn flicks. He also is the only guy out there who can successfully make a decent picture based on a video game. He is responsible for helming some of the guiltiest pleasures of my childhood, and now my adulthood (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, Alien Vs. Predator). So thank you, Mr. Anderson: King of the Guilty Pleasure, for turning complete horseshit into pure gold. Keep up the good work.
[Ed. Note: Of course, Clint is not referring to Mr. Anderson’s most recent forway into writing and directing AVP.]
Now, back to RE-2. This movie is one hell of a thrill-ride. In fact, excluding Dawn of the Dead and Spider-Man 2, this was probably the most fun I’ve had at the movies all year with an action flick. Milla Jovovich is back in full form as the kick-ass, gun slinging Alice. And yes, her stunts are completely over-the-top, but who cares? She has super-human strength given to her by the evil scientists. Deal with it. She finds herself trapped in Raccoon City which has now been completely quarantined and no more civilians are allowed passage through the gates. This sets up the rest of the film as Alice (along with Jill Valentine and other survivors) search for the daughter of an Umbrella scientist who promises to grant them a way out of the city if they rescue his daughter. This also gives the baddie scientists a chance to unleash their latest lethal creation: Nemesis.
There are two elements, and two elements alone that keep this boat afloat. 1) Incredible action sequences and 2) Milla Jovovich. Its almost as if no one was around on set to tell her she didn’t really have to act in this type of film, just as her co-stars didn’t act (or can’t act). Nevertheless, Milla has the chops to carry her own picture, and she has her character of Alice in very tight grasp. The action scenes are purely exquisite, and while some are over-the-top and others downright absurd, you still must complement the filmmakers for giving the fans what they want: bloody, adrenaline-pumping satisfaction. I also got a big sense of creativity from these sequences and the way they were executed. Running down a sky-scraper with a rope and harness, the baton battle, the trash chute sequence… clever stuff!
Now, onto some flaws. What bothered me the most was Jill Valentine’s uniform. I know, I know, the chick is gorgeous and she needs to show off her goods. And yes, I own the Resident Evil 2 videogame and I know they wanted her to dress the same as in the game, but give me a frickin break! This chick is a cop for Christ’s sake! I don’t care if she’s off duty. Prancing around like a whore in a tank-top and high-length leather boots seems highly unrealistic. But oh well. She looks good, so I got over it pretty quickly. I also had a minor problem with the lack of explanation in the ending with Alice’s character. I wish I could elaborate more without spoilers, but if you see the film you’ll probably know what I’m nudging at. Oh, and every actor besides Milla will more than likely be struggling for work for the rest for their lives. Sorry, guys. New profession, please.
As hinted before, RE: 2 has got it all for a horror/adventure flick. Despite minor flaws (does the script suck? Of course!), it far exceeds the original in action, creativity and stunt choreography, which are the key elements needed to make a film like this work. It also screams girl power which is quite refreshing in a male-dominated genre. While Apocalypse is no Dawn of the Dead (Romero’s version OR the remake), its still one gigantic, mindless roller coaster ride that is sure to please anyone with a need for zombies, explosions and gunfire. See it on the big screen.
Clint Fletcher is a filmmaker in Chicago who will stay away from South America this season.
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