Resident Evil:Apocalypse


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"..things pop out of nowhere in this film almost as much as they do during a Janet Jackson halftime show."










Resident Evil: Apocalypse
The Masked Reviewer

There are probably a lot of dyslexics in the world who think that this movie is about live calypso music.  But, it isn't.  In fact, it's a sequel to the 2002 film Resident Evil which is based on a video game.

The original adaptation of Resident Evil was also directed and written by this sequel's writer/director, Paul W. S. Anderson.  He's got two middle initials, so he's got to be good.  He also was behind the scenes of Mortal Kombat (also based on a video game), and Alien vs Predator (which, come to think of it, also was a video game before it was a movie...the Masked Reviewer may see a trend here.)

The Masked Reviewer is a busy guy, so he'll get right down to the brass tacks.  Do you like zombie movies?  Do you like action flicks?  If not, then just skip it.  Unless you're an obsessed Milla Jovovich fan (and why wouldn't you be?), there's no reason to see this.  On the other hand, if you do like action horror movies with zombies, there's a lot to like.

The first Resident Evil was stylish and fast paced.  It was kind of like Aliens meets Day of the Dead.  The sequel picks up where the first film left off, but it tries to be edgier.  It's not very gruesome, but it's filled with cat scares.  In fact, things pop out of nowhere in this film almost as much as they do during a Janet Jackson halftime show.  Lots of loud noises, sudden movements, and the cinematic equivalent of someone sneaking up behind you and screaming "boo."

The story is actually one of the strengths of the movie, at least in terms of bringing together different groups of zombie survivors.  There's one group, then another, then a third; there's bad guys A, B, and C, and they overlap and combine in a way that keeps things moving along briskly.  Sienna Guillory has been added to the cast (since a lot of the originals didn't come back) and she is fun to watch (and not bad looking, either.)  Her character appears to be a Laura Croft (from the Tomb Raider computer game) rip-off.  She's got the look.  Oded Fehr also joins the cast as a rough-n-tumble S.T.A.R. agent (hardcore fans of the game might know what that stands for, the Masked Reviewer doesn't).  And Mike Epps provided some much needed comic relief. 

The acting was somewhat wasted on paper-thin characters...but, much like the videogame, you get all the information you need.  Good guy, bad guy, punch, kick, shoot.  There's not much in the way of development or motivation, other than the perennial "don't get killed by zombies."

Fans of the Resident Evil games might recognize names like the Umbrella Corporation or Raccoon City, but even if you've never played a video game, you won't have any trouble following the action.  Zombie movies aren't typically that tough to follow.  You may get some extra laughs by knowing your video games, though, as there are some insider references. 

Here's the major complaint about the movie: the fight cinematography.  If you like to see your action scenes, you won't like Resident Evil: Apocalypse.  The hand to hand fights are made up of rapid cuts between blurry, fast moving camera shots.  You can't see what's going on at all.  Whoever thinks that this style is good...well, they're just wrong.  Does it create a sense of motion and excitement, or suggest the confusion and hectic nature of the battle?  No, it just makes it hard to see what the hell is going on.  If you're making a war epic, maybe you can get away with a little bit of it, but in an action movie, you're paying to see the action.  You can't see it.  It's blurry.  The human brain (even the Masked Reviewer's) isn't able to process the information when it comes in bursts that are a fraction of a second each.  Really, this weakened the film tremendously.

Still, it has a couple of amusing moments and some of the horror elements are nice.  There's a big, tough, bad guy that is one of the cooler looking creatures you'll have seen in a while, and the two female leads look sultry and sexy.  Still, there's not much you won't have seen before, and the horrifyingly bad fight cinematography is constantly annoying.

In the great tradition of the first Resident Evil, Milla Jovovich shows some skin near the very end of the movie.  The bottom line is that those few seconds will be worth the ticket price for many people.  And, let the Masked Reviewer tell you, that scene is better than the one in the first Resident Evil.  You won't be able to wait to see how they end the third movie!


Expectation from the Title: The story of a nasty doctor working in a hospital, who has to treat three horsemen brought into the E.R., even though he's just out of medical school.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Milla Jovovich seems like she'd be a nice girl to have over for dinner, if she wasn't battling zombies.

The Pros: Some decent scares, some nice nudity, a couple of decent monster things.

The Cons: Fight cinematography is some of the worst you've ever seen; a bit formulaic and silly.

If you're looking for information on Mila Jovovich, or Milla Jovovitch, or Mila Jojovich, or whether Mike Epps is related to Omar Epps, the Masked Reviewer doesn't know.  Although, you should know that her name is Milla Jovovich. 

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