Resident Evil: Apocalypse is the sequel to the 2002 film Resident Evil. It follows the adventures of Alice, (played by Milla Jovovich), going through what remains of Raccoon City. Along the way, she meets a couple new characters, Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine, and Oded Fehr as Carlos Olivera. Given that the city is set to be cleansed of the current infection at sunrise, the gang must find a way to escape the city, while still finding time to remove as many zombies as they can from the situation.
Knowing that another Resident Evil film was released, I can say that Apocalypse does a good job at being the second film in the series. It continues building the character of Alice, gives us more depth into the T-Virus, and gives us some characters that actually make it through to the end of the film. Apocalypse sets out to set itself up for a sequel, and in that respect, it succeeds. In everything else, it doesn’t exactly fail. It’s a slight bit less believable than the previous film, and that is definitely saying something.
The film opens with a recounting of the previous movie’s events. We are also let on as to how Raccoon City became infected. Alice has been given superhuman powers after being captured in the first film. Unleash a superhuman Alice into a city filled with zombies, and imagine what could happen. Once you’ve done that, throw that mental image away, because that does not happen in this film. Alice only actually interacts with the generic zombies about 2 times. The rest of the film centers on “boss fights”, or running from the zombies. Alice having large scale battles with the zombies is something that definitely would have been a welcome addition. It would have been neat to see her go to town on a group of them, and would have likely been a memorable scene. Think Neo vs. multiple Agent Smiths from The Matrix: Reloaded. That kind of fight would have been interesting to say the least. The main threat in the city this time is Nemesis, a creature also infected with the T-Virus, but is under the control of Umbrella Corporation. Nemesis is going around the city looking to fight Alice, while Alice is running around the city attempting to find a way out.
The majority of the film has little story. Only a couple of major events happen, and the characters reactions are what guide the rest of the film. I didn’t originally think this worked, but in the end, it manages to. Despite there being little in terms of plot, most of the characters had decent motivations to their actions. These motivations usually make sense, and that means you do come to care about them when they are put in danger. The secondary characters aren’t all that well developed though, so while you do want to see them make it through; you aren’t really told who they are. At least you can tell who is doing what in Apocalypse, as one of the main problems of the first film was the interchangeable characters. That doesn’t happen this time, as a diverse cast aids Alice in her search for a way out of the city.
The main positive addition to the cast was Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine. Having another recognizable female was a nice way to add a bit of tension within the main group of survivors, and definitely improves the experience. Oded Fehr as Carlos Olivera is originally a STARS team member, but is eventually left for dead in the city, and ends up meeting up with the group. There is actually some comedic relief in Apocalypse, and this is mostly supplied by Mike Epps. Almost every line he says is supposed to be humorous, and for the most part, it is. His character doesn’t get tiring, and the profanity filled lines he spouts certainly help keep the film from getting boring.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse ends up abandoning all pretense of horror in the second installment of the series. Apart from a couple jump scenes, the majority of the film fits far better into the action genre. It simply isn’t scary. What it is, is action packed fun, dispersed with scenes of running around the city by the main characters. For the most part, it doesn’t get boring, and it does what it was supposed to do: set up the third film. It is a slight bit of a genre change from the first film. The first film at least had the potential to be scary. It took place in closed spaces, with a slightly unknown threat. Apocalypse takes place in open environments, and for the most part, we know what the threat is. I have a feeling this change in style isn’t welcome by fans of the games. Regardless of the film possibly alienating the biggest portion of its audience, it still manages to be an enjoyable film, and definitely worth a watch if you want to see the continuation of the story, or Alice as a character.