Monday, January 30, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
After the events in Washington DC, Alice awakes to find that she is the last survivor of the battle against the undead. Believing that she was betrayed be Albert Wesker when he promised to fight alongside her. She decides to return to where this entire nightmare first began, The Hive in Raccoon City. She decides to stop the Umbrella Corporation once and for all before they gathered their forces of the undead and kill the last remaining human survivors.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter comes after a long four-year wait since the release of Resident Evil: Retribution. The supposed end of the 3D Resident Evil trilogy and overall film series has finally arrived in cinemas. While going into The Final Chapter, I can't say that I was completely sold on the film in the build up to its big release. I was going into this final chapter with a lot of trepidation and fear. This was the first Resident Evil film where the promotional material for the film really wasn't a big selling point for me.
First came the terrible teaser trailer. While the trailer was action packed, gritty and had a lot of brown and earthy colour correction done to it, they decided to use Gun N' Roses - Paradise City for the entire trailer. So what we got was a Resident Evil trailer with a loud bombastic 80's hair band rock song over Alice beating the shit out of hordes of zombies. To most horror fans, I'm sure they were all creaming their jeans but for me, this put me off completely. I get the other films have had similar trailers, I think the song choice killed it for me.
Then came the terrible first few posters. We had these awful Hunger Game inspired posters which eventually make sense once you watch the film but like moments throughout this series where Paul W.S. Anderson lifts scenes from other better films, these posters were a little too familiar and felt like they were directly inspired by the much better Hunger Game films. It seems Paul W.S. Anderson takes his inspirations from a lot of other places and tries to incorporate them here and they aren't always successful.
Once I sat down and started to watch The Final Chapter, I found myself enjoying it. The movie starts off extremely quickly. We are thrown right into the action. Alice uses an army vehicle to bring down a Kipepeo. It's a great way to start the film and the rest of the movie is pretty much just as action packed. The movie never really slows down from the opening scene, right up until the credits begin to roll. I'm still shocked that this movie was only made for forty million as this is full of action, explosions and a lot of zombie and creature carnage. A lot less it seems than the previous two entries in the series.
The movies standout action scene that deserves a mention is a scene where Alice evades two huge armored vehicles on a motorcycle after a huge fight on top of one of them as thousands of zombies are in pursuit. This is a highway sequence that would have Michael Bay busting a nut. We also have a really well done moment where they catapult barrels of petrol onto the hordes of zombies below. I found a lot of the action scenes in the film were a lot of fun. Speaking of Michael Bay, I think Paul W.S. Anderson can make four large-scale action horror films to Bay's one overblown budgeted film. That takes some talent.
Another major element of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter that played well for me was how they brought the series full circle. I wrote a tweet where I stated that Paul W.S. Anderson at least deserves a round of applause for trying to bring the series full circle and for the most part, he succeeds. I got tweets back where people chewed me out and that's alright. Everyone has their own opinions. This is a series that at times is messy and inconsistent but I was surprised and somewhat satisfied. I went in and thought they would mess it up and I think he tried to do it justice. It's not perfect but it worked in the context of his vision for this series.
Visually, I think Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is decent. The entire look of the film felt like Paul W.S. Anderson watched Fury Road and went and hired the colour correction team. The creature effects looked great. I think the gore and blood are also neat. We have a few grisly moments that had me wanting to jump up and cheer. A zombie having its face impaled on a metal spike, Ruby Rose being sucked into a huge turbine and she is completely obliterated and someone having their stomach blown out by a grenade. Not the goriest film in the series but a vast improvement over Apocalypse.
The problems I have with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter falls back on the fact that the ending of the film completely negates the title. If I've learned anything from a genre movie calling itself 'The Final Chapter' it never is. I also would have loved to see Alice have a happy ending. After fifteen years of putting Alice through the hell, I would've loved to see her get that happy ending and even though it seems positive in the end, the last sentence seems to state otherwise. I get that this is a Resident Evil film but would it have killed them to have her live out the rest of her days with Claire and the rest of the survivors sipping vodka?
Lastly, the acting as always is solid from Milla Jovovich. If you can count on Milla Jovovich to do anything, it's giving us a badass female action hero while making us empathize with her. I want to see her survive every single time. I want to see her safely make it out of this horrible thing she has taken on. People underestimate Milla as an actress. I stand by that comment. She isn't Meryl Streep but if you look at every performance as Alice, she has a vulnerability even when she is the most powerful thing on screen. I think Milla is underappreciated in her time.
DEATH TOLL: 108 (Estimated) + 1000's of Zombies Are Set Ablaze.
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A boy dies and turns into a zombie.
- A gondola full of people are eaten by a zombie.
- Someone is suffocated with a plastic bag.
- Someone is sucked into a huge turbine and obliterated.
- Death by pen, ice-pick, and decanter.
- Someone has their guts and stomach blown out by a grenade.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach.
- Every zombie on the planet dies.
- A zombie has its face impaled on a metal pole.
- A creature is decapitated.
- Lots of zombies are shot.
- A zombie is squashed.
- Human bait is shot by a machine gun.
- People are blown up.
- Someone is shot in the face.
- Someone's leg is completely crushed in a doorway.
- Two bioweapons are killed by being stabbed in the face.
- Someone falls to their death.
- Someone is bitten on the head.
- Someone has their fingers slice off.
- People are mauled by Cerberus.
- Cerberus are gunned down.
- A hand is cut off with a knife.
- Many people are eaten and bitten by zombies.
- Zombies are blown up.
- Soldiers are shot dead and in the head.
- A fish tank full of Alice clone heads.
- A flying creature is blown up and decapitated.
- A decomposed and obese zombie tries to attack Alice.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a fun ride. While the final isn't my favourite in the Resident Evil franchise, I think it was an enjoyable way to end the series. The movie has its fair share of problems but for the most part, I liked the conclusion. I think everyone involved tried their best to bring the story full circle. Not always successful and I still have questions about certain characters but as an enjoyable, action packed, zombie movie that has seen it's share of downs, this is a guilty pleasure sort of film.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
Alice awakes to find that she has a perfect life. She has a loving husband and a beautiful daughter. A massive contrast to the last decade of her being on the run from the Umbrella Corporation and battling the undead. When all hell breaks loose and the system shuts down, Alice soon realises that she is in one of Umbrella Corps. hologram testing facilities. A program that was created to show what damage the T-Virus can do in major cities. Alice also discovers this perfect life is fake and created by Umbrella which makes her seek revenge.
Resident Evil: Retribution begins straight away. Retribution starts off exactly where Afterlife had finished previously. We see that Jill Valentine has come for Alice and all the survivors on the Alaska safe haven. The film opens with an extremely gorgeous sequence that plays in reverse to reveal the damage that Jill Valentine and the Red Queen have done to what we all believed could have been salvation for Alice. A lot of casualties and large-scale devastation seems the only fitting way to begin the fifth film as the previous installment was the loudest and most bombastic yet.
As with every single Resident Evil film, we get the introduction by Alice. You know, the computer screens showing snippets of all the scenes from previous films? She is here to keep reminding us of past events as if the fans are silly and don't remember what happened a few years ago. Still, the introduction sequence has become one of the most noticeable aspects and a staple of the series even if they have become a tiresome way to give new viewers of the series a go at catching up on a decade of movies without ever having to commit to six hours of Resident Evil.
The next scene is my favourite moment in the entire film. Alice wakes up to the perfect life. She has a husband, Carlos from Extinction and a young daughter. She has a lovely home in suburbia and everything seems to have turned around for Alice. It's quite a sweet moment. We see what could've been had Alice not spent the better part of a decade battling the undead and Umbrella. It's one of those rare moments that give this series this sense of emotional vulnerability. We see a life that Alice would be perfect for but know this will be absolutely shattered. It's a scene that becomes extremely sad as you want to see Alice be happy.
The scene ends up feeling very reminiscent and inspired by Zack Snyder's brilliant and visually haunting Dawn Of The Dead opening scene. We see suburbia on the brink of chaos as Alice tries to flee with her young daughter while zombies are attacking all her neighbours. It doesn't feel like a coincidence as some of the shots feel almost identical. The set up of the camera on the car right down to Alice running out onto the front pathway to see the devastation that the virus has had on the neighbourhood. It's a goregous scene but it's not original by any means.
Retribution compared to Afterlife is a much more enjoyable entry. It feels like an improvement over the last film. It doesn't feel like its filler for the most part. It seems like Paul W.S. Anderson had a clearer vision and the 3D isn't the big gimmick of the story this time around. The movie does go from one big action set-piece to another but the story in between all the action feels more weighty. It feels like the stakes are once again high in Retribution. The addition of bringing all the characters back from previous films is also a nice little touch to the story.
The movie isn't without its problems, though. Retribution has several moments that deliver the cheese. There is a scene where Alice and a group of survivors are in the Russian hologram and we have hordes of undead zombie soldiers. It wouldn't be so silly if we didn't already seen these in the zombie horror comedy, Dead Snow. It feels like it's taken directly from that film. It's made even worse when the zombies are seen driving tanks, jeeps, and motorcycles. It feels even out of place for a Resident Evil film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and doesn't come across as scary but more laughable.
The acting in the film is solid from all involved. Having basically the entire cast from previous films was a stroke of genius. After the 3D gimmick was used in Afterlife to success, how could you possibly top that, add the character from previous entries to bring back fans you may have lost when you got rid of previous characters that they were attached to. It was great seeing Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr return. Even Colin Salmon was a neat addition. It was fun to see him not die immediately in a laser grid.
Lastly, the direction from Paul W.S. Anderson is great. You can hate him for the quality of his films but I can't in good consciousness say that the man is a terrible filmmaker. He may not make Oscar winning films but he has a good visual eye and can deliver some standout action as well as give us some solid camera work. That may come down to the help of his cinematographer, though. All in all, I think this was a better-looking film than Afterlife and Apocalypse. I think using Russia, Tokyo, Alaska, and New York as settings also gave this movie some more visual flare.
DEATH TOLL: 125 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Two pilots getting coin bullets to the face.
- Civilians are shot to death.
- Civilians are killed in an explosion.
- Zombies are shot.
- Someone is slashed and killed by a Licker.
- A Licker is hit by a car.
- A zombie is knocked over a banister and is impaled on a piece of wood.
- People are bitten by zombies.
- A zombie is smacked in the face with a baseball bat.
- Two executioner zombies are shot in the face and blown up.
- Nine guards are executed by being shot in the back of the head.
- Lots of zombies are shot in the head.
- Zombies are hit in the face with chains.
- A guy is sliced up the middle by a zombie with a chainsaw.
- Someone drowns by being pulled under water by zombies.
- Lots of broken bones.
- Someone is killed by having their ribs broken and heart crushed.
- Someone is repeatedly shot in the body and face.
- People drown when a huge underwater facility floods itself.
- A Licker is blown up.
- A Licker is shot in the head.
- Zombies riding bikes are killed by being run off the road.
- A zombie is hit with a grapple arrow and pulled into a bench.
- Russian war zombies are mowed down by bullets.
- A Licker picks up a guy and bites down on his head.
- A Licker is crushed by falling debris.
Resident Evil: Retribution is an improvement over Apocalypse and Afterlife. The story in the latest film feels meatier than the previous entry and the emotional stakes are much higher in Retribution. The acting is solid for the most part, we have a lot of enjoyable set-pieces and the movie looks great. The movie has its issues, though. We have some extremely cheesy moments and scenes that feel directly lifted from better zombie films. Still, the movie is a fun action zombie film. Go to watch the returning characters take on Alice and you should have a good time.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
Alice is still on a mission to bring down the Umbrella Corporation and Albert Wesker. After she discovers that Alaska isn't the safe haven she originally thought it would be, she flies to LA to take refuge with a small group of survivors who are living in a prison surrounded by the undead. When Alice soon learns that it isn't Alaska the prison that's a safe haven but a large carrier ship off the coast of LA, she and the remaining survivors must try and make it to safety alive.
When I decided to watch and review the entire Resident Evil series before Resident Evil: The Final Chapter made its way into theaters. I was talking to a friend of mine about how I felt about each Resident Evil film. Telling him which ones I enjoyed and which I didn't. I explained to him how I would've been happy if they had ended the series after Resident Evil: Extinction as I felt it was a nice way to go out on a high point after the disappointing sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
The reason I bring all this up is, before writing my Resident Evil: Afterlife review, I read a rather interesting and in-depth interview with Paul W.S. Anderson about the Resident Evil series. I know the guy cops a lot of hate as a film director but I'm not exactly one of his detractors. I liked Mortal Kombat, I loved Event Horizon, I even love the first Resident Evil. I also enjoyed his first film Shopping and the remake of Death Race. The guy makes loud, silly action movies as well as fun genre movies. He's clearly not Orson Welles and probably never will be. He even mentions that this is the stuff he enjoys making and he won't change.
In the interview, he also went onto talk about how he always planned on making two Resident Evil trilogies. The first three movies and a second trilogy which would all be shot in 3D. I am not a huge fan of 3D. I don't enjoy the format all that much. I'm a sucker for the 2D experience and will always choose that over 3D if possible. But this was a big revelation for me as I now got why I have always felt that the first three movies always made much more sense to me and I wasn't crash hot on Resident Evil: Afterlife or Resident Evil: Retribution when I first saw them in theaters.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is another situation where I felt like the Resident Evil series went sort of backward after the previous installment. After seeing all six films in the franchise, I can now safely say that Afterlife is my least favourite film in the series. Apocalypse was messy but I still felt that it was just a little more entertaining than Afterlife. I think Apocalypse is ahead due to Nemesis being the big villain of the film which gave a sense of nostalgia as was seeing Jill Valentine even if both characters were underused and the final annihilation of Raccoon City.
I think the biggest issue with this film is that the 3D element was used more as a gimmick than a way to propel the story forward. Yes, Afterlife has a story at its core, but for me, it just wasn't as entertaining as the first three films. Every bit of this movie's promotion was a way to state that this is the best 3D technology in the world. They even dropped James Cameron's name to try and get butts in seats and it worked. The 3D is well done but that's all it is, all style and not much substance.
This movie feels like it has the weakest story of the bunch. It feels like it's all filler. Alice goes from one set piece and situation to another but there doesn't feel like there is much emotion or heart in the film. This feels like the coldest entry of the series. As I said above, it has no real substance. Many would argue that the rest don't either but for me, this would part one of a two-part final like Mockingjay or Deathly Hallows if I could compare it to anything. The movie is just there to give way to the next two entries.
I found myself not caring for any of the supporting characters either. Every single one of them minus Chris and Claire Redfield. Alice is still the heart of this film but even she is just here to be a kickass heroine who is stuck trying to save all these terribly written supporting players who I didn't care for. The film again is all about the action and spectacle and less about anything else. I think this also plays a major part in the performances as well. A lot of the acting wasn't that great. I think Wentworth Miller is completely wasted as is Kim Coates. They could've taken his villain to darker places but he is there to chew the scenery. Standouts are Milla and Ali Larter.
The 3D in the film is great. This is an extremely polished looking film. It feels like all the budget went into the special effects. As I stated above, it's now clear that Paul W.S. Anderson wanted to do a trilogy in the third dimension and he succeeded. The movie is very nice to look at. We have a lot of slo-mo as well as some gorgeous looking cinematography throughout the film. I can't fault any of the visual effects or the camera work in this film. Paul W.S. Anderson deserves at least the credit of creating a well-made action, sci-fi film.
Lastly, when it comes to the action in the film, this is top-notch. The shower attack scene with Clair and The Executioner is standout. It's probably one of my favourite moments in the entire series. We also have a neat showdown between Alice and hordes of zombies where she loads a sawn-off shotgun with coins and the carnage is fantastic. The movie continues being a bloody and gory affair with lots of exploding heads. It's just a shame all the action removes all tension or any real decent jump scares from the film.
DEATH TOLL: 186 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A zombie attacks a man on a public street in Tokyo.
- A lot of zombie head shots.
- A rooftop full of zombies is blown up.
- Hordes of zombies plummet over a building.
- A crowd of zombies is splattered by a plane propeller.
- A piece of glass is kicked into a zombie Doberman.
- Many Umbrella Corp. soldiers are shot and killed.
- A security general is shot in the head.
- Soldiers and Alice clones are blown up.
- An Alice clone is shot through the chest.
- Majini zombies are shot in the face and head.
- A Majini zombie is stabbed in the face.
- Someone is shot in the chest with lots of blood spray.
- Someone is sliced in half.
- Two soldiers are stabbed in the stomach.
- Two soldiers are sliced through the stomach with a sword.
- A soldier is stabbed in the head with a sword.
- Groups of soldiers are decapitated and killed with ninja stars.
- Blood pouring out of someone's mouth.
- A sniper is killed by a flying creature.
- Two zombie Dobermans heads split open.
- People are pulled into holes by Majini zombies.
- A woman is grabbed and bitten on the head by a Majini zombie.
- The executioner zombie is shot with coin bullets.
- The executioner zombie's head is blown up.
- Someone is stabbed in the head.
- A zombie Doberman is riddled with coins.
- Zombies are ripped apart by bullet coins.
- Someone's head is blown out and they're repeatedly shot.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is sadly the worst film in the series in my opinion. The film is gorgeous on a technical level, the score by Tomandandy is also fantastic. The film has a few solid action set-pieces but it's all style over substance and I know that in a Resident Evil film, that's alright but for me, I think Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Extinction had more heart and emotion than Afterlife and a lot more substance.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
DIRECTOR: Russell Mulcahy
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
Set years after The Hive and Raccoon City disasters, the Umbrella Corp. had tried to contain the T-Virus from spreading but were unsuccessful. The virus had escaped and consumed the planet. Earth is now a barren wasteland. Alice who is traveling alone across the Nevada desert comes back into contact with Carlos and his convoy. They learn that there is a safe haven in Alaska where the infection hasn't yet reached. They will try and make their way to safety before all their resources dry up or the undead kill them.
After the wasted potential and ultimately disappointing Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I was left pretty worried about the future of the Resident Evil series. By the time that Resident Evil: Extinction was announced, I wasn't very excited for it. My red hot anticipation for the series had turned lukewarm by that time. Apocalypse left me pretty cold with the whole idea or the series continuing. What was essentially a survival horror series had morphed into a toned down action film with zombies.
Once the trailer for Resident Evil: Extinction was released, I began getting a more excited for it. While the movie still looked heavy on the action, the trailer offered more in the way of zombie carnage. It looked like the team behind the latest film were trying to steer the series back into a direction that gave us more of the survival horror element. It looked a lot more intense than the previous sequel. It looked like the stakes were higher and as the tagline for the film had stated, all bets are off.
After watching Resident Evil: Extinction, my faith was somewhat restored in Resident Evil again. While not as good as the original, I felt it was a vast improvement over Apocalypse. Extinction isn't perfect, it has its problems but compared to the last film, I thought Russell Mulcahy and Paul W.S. Anderson were a better fit than Alexander Witt. Resident Evil: Extinction feels like a more well-rounded film. I think the three years off gave Paul W.S. Anderson time to craft a better story.
With Resident Evil: Extinction, I think they had learned from the mistakes they made on Apocalypse and tried to rectify them. Extinction is a much more violent film. I think after the success of the Dawn Of The Dead remake, they went for it with the blood. This is a much bloodier film than Apocalypse. A lot of the gore and violence that is thrown at the audience is top notch. We get a lot of zombie attacks, some seriously mean-spirited moments and most of the major players meet their end.
Visually, I think Resident Evil: Extinction is an extremely slick and polished looking film. Russell Mulcahy is a much better filmmaker than Alexander Witt in my personal opinion. Extinction is probably my favourite film on a visual level. While the film is set mainly in the desert, the film looks fantastic. The cinematography and camera work in the third film is a vast improvement over Apocalypse. Long gone are the blurry zombie shots and erratic camera work. This feels expertly handled.
The action set-pieces in Resident Evil: Extinction are a lot more intense this time around. We have an infected crows attack scene that feels like a large-scale homage to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. The Las Vegas strip zombie attack scene is bloody and brutal, the suicide oil truck explosion is devastating and an early scene involves Alice being almost gang-raped by a band of roaming thugs but she turns it around on her captors and uses zombie Dobermans to her advantage. I thought the action sequences were excellent.
The biggest issues that I have with Resident Evil: Extinction is the fact that we start to get more glimpses into Alice's powers which become more clear as the series goes on but in the film, this seems to be the movie where they are sort of in between and it feels uneven. It's clear from Apocalypse that Alice is able to make people bleed from every orifice but here she can create force fields to prevent others from being burnt alive or levitate entire fields of rocks and motorcycles, yet they don't seem to be used ever again. A little inconsistent with what Alice is capable of as this badass action heroine.
Another element that I was disappointed with was the fact that the villain is the Tyrant. He is another major boss from the game series. He's not exactly on Nemesis level of being hard to defeat but he's a scary boss when you come up against him in the games. Here he is given all of three minutes of screentime before he is killed off. I think the Tyrant deserved a much bigger and better role, just as I think Nemesis deserved the same. Here they are merely used for the fans of the games but are left with nothing to do. They are more laughable than threatening.
Lastly, the acting is better than the first film. I think as the stakes are higher in Extinction and major characters from the series are killed off, the film has a lot more heartache and pain. This in turns gives Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, and Ali Larter the chance to branch out and deliver more emotional performances. I think even Mike Epps was much better in this film as well. I hated him in Apocalypse but there is a scene with him and Ashanti which see's him give his most emotional performance I think I've seen and he owns it.
DEATH TOLL: 200 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- An Alice clone is shot in the stomach.
- Lots of dead Alice clones are shown dead in a ditch.
- Bloody human bones shown all over the floor of a pit.
- An infected crow is shown eating a zombie's eyeball.
- Lots of exploding zombie headshots.
- Lots of zombies are mowed down by guns.
- Zombies throats are sliced with large blades.
- Lots of infected crows are burnt to death.
- The Tyrant is cut into cubes by a laser grid.
- An oil truck explosion wipes out a horde of zombies.
- A zombie Doberman's neck is snapped.
- A zombie Doberman lands on a metal pole.
- Four people are mauled by zombie Dobermans.
- A zombie has an arrow shot into its head.
- A dead body is shown hanging in a closet, covered in flies.
- Two zombies eat a scientist in a lab.
- An Alice clone has her neck ripped out.
- Zombie crows peck people to death.
- A zombie is blown away by a machine gun.
- Zombies are run over and splattered by a truck.
- The Tyrant smashes his claw hand into someone's eyes and face.
- A zombies stomach is split open.
- A kick to the nose smashing the bone into someone's brain.
- A zombie Doberman is electrocuted.
- Someone is shown being eaten on a deserted highway.
- A zombie has its skull ripped open by a large spinning spike.
- Blades are slammed into zombie's necks and heads.
- Zombies split up the middle with blades.
- A blade to a zombie's face.
- Bloody zombie bites.
- Someone falls to their death and splats on a metal structure.
Resident Evil: Extinction is almost on par with the original for me. The movie is one enjoyable ride. Extinction returned the series back to more survival horror roots, the gore and violence are handed out in bucketfuls, the movie is more emotional, the acting is at a series best and the movie is gorgeous to look at thanks to the hiring of Highlander director Russell Mulcahy. The biggest issues feel like inconsistent story beats and terrible use of the films villain the Tyrant. Still a return to form for the Resident Evil film adaptations.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
DIRECTOR: Alexander Witt
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
Matthew G. Taylor
After the tragic events that took place in The Hive. Alice awakens to find that the T-Virus has escaped the underground facility and been unleashed upon Raccoon City. The military is sent in to try and contain the zombie epidemic. The Umbrella Corp. also has their own sinister plans to stop the virus spreading by wiping Raccoon City off the map. A group of survivors must band together and escape from Raccoon City before it's too late. Little do they realise that they've also activated the Nemesis program which is sent into eliminate Alice.
When the first Resident Evil ends with the character Matt being dragged away by the Umbrella Corp. and taken into the Nemesis Program. I was so hyped to see what they would do with the character. Nemesis is one of those big baddies that feels almost undefeatable in the game. It was an excellent way to keep fans like myself excited about the future of the film series and I was looking forward to seeing what they would do with the next movie in the franchise.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse is where the film series moves away from the more horror elements of the games and heads into a more action orientated setting. Apocalypse is really the catalyst for the series turning away from horror into a vastly more action sort of feel. A sequel was always going to be bigger and more epic as the virus is no longer contained. This is clear from the final scene in the first film. Moving out of The Hive and onto the streets of Raccoon City really does lessen all the tension.
Rewatching Resident Evil: Apocalypse for the first time in years and I can't say my experience is a positive one. While not the worst film in the Resident Evil franchise, this is a far cry from the first film. The sequel has a lot of stuff to enjoy about it but you can see where the sequel falls short. Apocalypse has a lot of problems and this falls back on both the choice of replacement director Alexander Witt and Paul W.S. Anderson's writing. I'm sure Paul W.S. Anderson had a lot of input while on set but this is one messy movie.
What Apocalypse gets right is that after the modest success of the first Resident Evil film, a lot of the movie is vastly improved on a visual effects level. Where Paul W.S. Anderson may have been restricted by budget constraints on the first film. This can clearly be seen in the creature effects, Apocalypse is vastly superior. The Lickers look much better, Nemesis looks awesome, the zombie Doberman's are also improved and we have a lot more special effects being used to enhance some of the bigger set-pieces. The city being wiped out by a nuclear missile is a standout moment.
Another element of the film that is still solid is Milla Jovovich as Alice. Being that this franchise revolves around her character, she is still the heart of the series. I love seeing Alice take on Nemesis. A big nostalgic element for me is seeing Nemesis in his full get up, blasting away at S.T.A.R.S members never got old. Both elements, though, feel like a double-edge-sword in the sequel. While they are a lot of fun and a high-point of the second entry, they also bring into question a few negatives about the sequel.
With Alice being front and center, this limits the character time of Jill Valentine. While we get a few glimpses of Jill Valentine being handy with a gun, her character feels like she is given less screen time and moments to really shine. Every moment she has, see's Alice come in and save her. Jill Valentine is one of the major players from the games and sadly, Sienna Guillory is left to stand on the sidelines so Milla Jovovich can be the star. I'd have loved to see Jill Valentine be a major player as her character is an integral part of the video games.
Having one of the scariest and most unstoppable villains like Nemesis in the movie, I wanted to see him as the major threat. While he has a few scenes within the film where he poses a threat to Alice, he really is underused. He gets limited screen time and basically turns good towards the end of the film. This is not what I wanted to see as a fan of the game. A wasted opportunity. Where the Silent Hill film adaptation turned Pyramid Head into a completely scary and menacing figure who tore the flesh off people, Nemesis was sadly almost comic by comparison.
Alexander Witt who takes over the directing duties from Paul W.S. Anderson is a capable action director and can clearly do big-budget action movies. Early on in the film, I was digging some of the cinematography and camera shots but this quickly descends into some extremely terrible choices by him. There is polished camera work in the bigger set-pieces but his choice to go and use that awful blurry and disjointed 'Zombie POV' during the attacks was horrible. The editing was so frantic as well. It made a lot of the fight scenes feel unfocused and choppy.
Lastly, the gore, scares, and tension are basically non-existent in the sequel. We have a few moments that hint at what could've been but I feel maybe the producers and studio wanted to see the movie make big bucks so they toned down the gore. Compared to the first film, you can feel that this movie is cut in a way that makes the violence and gore, less impactful. The movie also suffers from being scare-free. This movie doesn't have an ounce of tension or suspense. With a major villain like Nemesis in the movie, the sequel should've been terrifying.
DEATH TOLL: 120 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A Licker attacks a scientist who is entering The Hive.
- Two guards are killed in a car accident.
- News footage of zombie attacks.
- Zombies are shot in the head in a police station.
- A woman is bitten by a zombie and jumps off a building.
- Hordes of zombies are shot.
- A lot of people are bitten by zombies.
- Lots of zombies necks are broken in a graveyard.
- A zombie is hit by a car.
- Nemesis is crushed by a fiery helicopter crash.
- A Licker is blown up by a motorcycle.
- Someone is eaten by a Licker.
- A priest is feeding his zombie sister human remains.
- A Licker is shot in the head with a shotgun.
- Twelve S.T.A.R.S members are mowed down by Nemesis.
- An entire city is wiped out by a nuclear bomb.
- Many people are eaten by zombies.
- Nemesis is impaled on a piece of metal.
- Lots of soldiers are shot.
- Zombie Dobermans are blown up.
- A zombie cook has it's neck broken.
- A soldier has his neck torn out by zombie Dobermans.
- Someone is electrocuted.
- Someone is thrown out of a helicopter and breaks their ankles.
- Someone is impaled by flying shrapnel.
- A weather lady is eaten by zombie school children.
- Someone breaks their finger back into place.
- Nemesis has his ankles shot out.
- Someone is seen bleeding out of their eyes and nose.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse has its moments. The film is bigger, the action set-pieces are grand and we have a lot more creature feature effects. Milla Jovovich is still the standout and holds the story together. Sadly, with all those elements, they aren't enough to drag this movie into the fresh for me. Some terrible directing choice by Alexander Witt, not enough Jill Valentine or Nemesis and Mike Epps playing the worst character in the entire series makes this sequel feel very inferior to the original.