This review was NOT written by one of our regular reviewers, just a fan. Thanks to Jon for sending this advance review in from Rue Morgue’s Festival of Fear. We’ll have a few more looks at it opening weekend.
Resident Evil. Who could think of a more anticipated zombie movie release?
(aside from the Dawn of the Dead remake). Sadly, with the release of the first Resident Evil came disappointing reviews, poor box office returns, and even poorer fan ratings. Well, without surprise Hollywood has gone ahead and made a sequel to the mediocre box office flop, and its name? Apocalypse. For many fans, this was a movie that was so eagerly waited for so many reasons. It was supposed to incorporate more of the game with the movie series, by adding the stunning Jill Valentine, delving deeper into the corporate manipulation and deception that Umbrella really stands for. They also use one of the scariest, bloody enemies from the games, Nemesis. Now, if you don’t find a mutated human with no lips, hardly any eyes, and MASSIVE proportions you really need to get your fears checked.
I was ironically one of the movie set seekers who stalked the production team and actors set to set, and was one who was driven to creatively pursue Milla Jovovich to many of the locations. I had inside information, called the production office, and went to the extras costume fittings trying to pawn myself off as someone who was in the movie (for some reason they didn’t believe me to be Sienna Guillory). Now with this background you can understand I’m a huge fan of the genre, and of the title. I adored Resident Evil the first, and still watch it a minimum of about twice a month. So, now that you know I’m one of you, on with the review!
First of all, I think I was somewhat biased by witnessing the location shoots so many times. I looked at the movie more as a film, instead of a bit of reality to the next level. I must say though, there were some scenes where I was absolutely glued to the screen, and gripping my chair with excitement, but sadly those moments were few and far between. The overall plot was somewhat to be desired, and the parts they made emphasis on were not the parts they really explored. In this installment they looked at the city itself, the inhabitants, the stars members, and the problems they encounter; but left out some of the more character driven plots that were so synonymous with the game.
The umbrella corporation begins to evacuate Raccoon City, moving out their high profile residents and their families. Unfortunately their head designer/scientist’s (Dr. Ashford’s) daughter is in a car crash and doesn’t make it out on time. He asks to stay just outside the cities perimeter to search for his daughter. He decides to release Alice (Milla Jovovich) to search in his place because he can’t get past the quarantined city walls. Sadly umbrella has basically expelled him from their exploits, so he has little to no computer access, and is practically going behind their backs to save his -possibly infected- daughter. He locates various survivors and hires them to find her, and as repayment: an exit from the city. Needless to say Umbrella is more worried about spreading infection than Dr. Ashford is, which makes me wonder who we are supposed to be rooting for during the movie.
On one hand, Umbrella is evil for containing some un-infected residents, but they are trying to save the rest of the world from falling to Racoon City’s fate. Dr. Ashford is trying to save his daughter, but in the process putting the world at risk. Without going into it any further, it was hard to really stick with any of the characters, aside from Mike Epps character (who seemed oddly out of place, which makes me believe he was added after the script was complete for a little comic relief) who had all of the funniest moments in the movie.
The writing was more or less the same as the original. Quick paced, not exactly dialogue oriented, and very action packed. Some of the fight scenes were very well filmed, edited, and choreographed. Some of the gags were quite incredible. I.E. Milla running down the side of the City hall building (actually Toronto’s City hall building) and Oded Fehr jumping from the helicopter to save the girl on the top of the roof.
The movie did however look amazing. Again, having it look like home was a great thing, I could imagine myself in almost every scene, walking in the characters footsteps, and being exactly where they were. The only problem I had with the visuals was the digital effects and the camera angles. I love interesting camera angles, but when people use Dutch (Tilted shots, for those of you not in the Biz) shots too often it just becomes tedious, and makes me feel like I’m falling out of my seat. On the digital end, they used some cool effects but in all the wrong places. Aside from the psuedo Predator-vision of the hunters, nothing was executed well. There were scenes where a slight blurring effect was used it seemed to cover something up, possibly bad zombie acting? Possibly poor film quality? Maybe even the fact that they used REAL zombies in the shot? Who knows? No matter, the art direction was still done quite well.
All in all, the entire movie was pretty decent, even though I’ve picked it apart quite brutally. I’d say a 6 out of 10, which if I’m not mistaken is similar to what I would give the first movie, even though I love it to death. I think it’s the cheesy aspects I really love about it. If you were a fan of the first one, you will get a kick out of it, and quite possibly enjoy it for more than just the obvious Milla reasons. Otherwise, I would hazard a guess most others would just say it’s a renter.
I’m really hoping for a solid third installment of the film sometime soon, because it could really tie up some loose ends and make the trilogy worthwhile. Here’s hoping for a very early production date on Resident Evil: Afterlife.