Franchise Review: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Written by Paul W.S. Anderson
Directed by Alexander Witt

Two years after the world was introduced to Alice and the Umbrella Corporation, the franchise returned for its second installment, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which continues the story immediately after the events of the first film.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up (again) in hospital after she and Matt (Eric Mabius) were taken by Umbrella after excaping the Hive in the first film. Alone again, she leaves the abandoned hospital, only to find Racoon City has been torn a new one. Through a series of (possibly contrived) coincidences she teams up with a bunch of the City’s characters, including one Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), Saergent Peyton Wells (Razaaq Adoti), L.J. (Mike Epps), and Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) a disenfranchised, ex-Umbrella operative. Their paths cross with a number of other people who are less fortunate in their interactions with Umbrella.

At least this time around we have a familar name with Jill Valentine, althought the main similarity to the games is probably her attire as she competes with Alice to fight zombies in the least practical clothing they can find!

Thrown together by their shared fate, they need to escape Raccoon City before it gets nuked. Umbrella have sealed the city, just to prove how evil they are, and are preparing to destroy every last living thing inside it, including the T-virus.

Throw into the mix, a missing schoolgirl, Angela (Sophie Vavasseur), daughter of the inventor of the T-Virus, Dr Ashford (Jared Harris) and you have a crazy mix of Aliens and Escape from New York as our rag-tag band are offered a way out by Dr Ashford if they save his daughter.

Once you mix in the outcome of the Nemesis Programme tracking them through the city, it truly is a race against time to save the girl and get the hell out of Dodge.

Along the way, Alice discovers Umbrella have done something to her through the Nemesis Programme and she is “evolving” as a super-soldier with both physical and psychic powers. She is taken (again) at the end of the film after their escape by helicopter is thwarted by the Racoon City explosion and she (again) wakes up in the ‘possession’ of Umbrella scientists. Umbrella confirm her fears that she has been infected with the T-Virus and is evolving into a new type of human with super strength and psyhic powers. The film ends with Alice escaping with her new friends.

Roll credits.

Resident Evil: Apocalpyse weighs in on IMDB at 6.2, compared to the original’s 6.7 and I would concur that it is not quite as good as the first film. The plot feels a bit more simplistic this time around; just get out of the city. The addition of the rescue mission for Angela feels like a simple mechanic to provide them with a means for escape. Angela never really feels in peril and she is found and extracted relatively easily.

Nemesis appears and is a slightly different prospect, initially. He is tooled up to the hilt with a mini gun and rocket launcher and clearly has no issue with killing as many people as he is ordered to. However, he is, again, overcome with relatively little concern, although that is partly due to whatever is remaining of Matt from the first film (for it is he) fighting his programming to help Alice.

Either way, it is still a fair amount of fun and you have two female leads kicking zombie ass throughout – something that is still relatively rare nearly 20 years on. Although we are still only tangentially linked to the game series, there are a few similarities when we look at the way Alice is being experimented on as a bioweapon and how the second game is largely set in Racoon City. But the connections are still very loose – the game centres around Leon S. Kennedy and Clarie Redfield, rather than Alice and Jill, and I suspect they will stray further as we venture deeper into the films – but, hey, that’s half the fun and it’s clear now that the films shouldn’t be judged on that.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a much simpler film than the first RE film and suffers a little in the respect that some of it feels a bit repetitive – in so far as Alice is captured by Umbrella at the end to find out they are doing some sketchy shit. But it is still a lot of fun, even if it does feel a bit like filler for the next film.

Talking of which, let’s see what Resident Evil: Extinction has in store for us!

And if you want to look back at my thoughts on the original Resident Evil, just click this link!

2 thoughts on “Franchise Review: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

  1. Pingback: Franchise Review: Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) | Dark Mark Writing

  2. Pingback: Franchise Review: Resident Evil (2002) | Dark Mark Writing

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