|Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Sienna Guillory, Mike Epps
Director: Alexander Witt
At a time when the zombie genre is experiencing a renaissance with past winners like “28 Days Later” and the soon-to-be-released “Shaun of the Dead,” the cartoon-like sequel to “Resident Evil" proves that it's still easier to make a bad movie than a good one. Pasting together two-dimensional characters with an endless montage of fast-paced shootouts and flesh-eating bio-zombies, the events that occur throughout “Apocalypse” would be ridiculous even it was the latest installment in the video game series.
Only days after the gruesome events of the original film, the dim-witted scientists of the notorious Umbrella Corporation reopen the Hive to search for clues leading to the brutal deaths of their fellow co-workers -- unknowingly unleashing the virus along with a moaning crowd of hungry zombies onto the streets of Raccoon City. Milla Jovovich reprises her role as the zombie-slaying heroine, Alice, a genetically-enhanced fighting machine who has since been infected with the deadly T-virus.
One of only two survivors from within the Hive, Alice joins forces with some of Raccoon City’s last remaining residents: Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), a renegade ex-cop; Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr), an expended member of the S.T.A.R.S. force team; and the token black guy, L.J. (Mike Epps), who is just looking for refuge from the terror. When a behind-the-scenes Umbrella scientist offers the group salvation in return for rescuing his daughter within the city, Alice and crew are forced to face off with an ever-increasing population of living dead and a Frankenstein-type biomonster called Nemesis.
“Apocalypse” may just seem like another easy way to turn a profit during a dying season of big-budget flops, but even Paul W.S. Anderson (who directed the first film and recently bombed with last month’s “Alien vs. Predator”) chose to stick with the franchise as a writer/producer. Unfortunately, Anderson’s script is uninspired and newbie director Alexander Witt oversaturates the film with far-fetched action sequences that aren’t nearly as visually appealing as the original. Rent an old Romero flick or hook up your Nintendo; either one will be cheaper and more satisfying than this latest video game adaptation.