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RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sandrine Holt, Jared Harris, Mike Epps
Director: Alexander Witt
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1, Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 94 Minutes
Release Date: December 28, 2004

ďMy name is Alice. I worked for the Umbrella Corporation, There was an accident, then everybody died. Trouble was... they didn't stay dead.Ē

Film **1/2

Movies adapted from video games are hard to accomplish in terms of quality. 2002ís Resident Evil was a mildly guilty pleasure, which didnít add up to much, but did manage to make for a rather entertaining ride as long as you didnít think about it too much. The ending clearly made the way for an eventual sequel.

Now, the sequel has arrived. Resident Evil: Apocalypse offers just about the same elements as its predecessor did. The plot is pretty much similar to the first movie, too, as this new installment represents more of a continuation. The central story involves a band of humans attempting to stay alive as an epidemic of flesh eating zombies continues to grow in and around Raccoon City.

Returning, of course, is the lead heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich), the former scientist employee of the Umbrella Corporation. She is now turned into a vigilante, trying to prevent the zombie infestation from growing even further. This time around, she gets a little help from fellow zombie slayer Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory).

So how does the movie hold up? Iím pretty much as mixed on this one, as I was the first movie. In this case, the result is pure passable entertainment, just as long as you donít think about it too much. The entertainment value is similar to that of playing the video game. And just like its predecessor, the ending of this movie hints at the possibility of a Resident Evil 3.

At the same time, in the wake of much more effective zombie horror flicks as 28 Days Later, the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and even the zombie movie spoof, Shaun of the Dead, this movie lacks a certain zing, for lack of a better word. To put it simply, youíre not doing any wrong by choosing to watch this movie, especially if you were a fan of the first movie, but if you want something more entertaining and intense, choose any of the aforementioned films.

Video ****

This is a knockout video handling from Columbia Tri Star. Both anamorphic and full screen versions are offered, but as always I stuck with the first mentioned choice. The picture quality is purely stunning, as the futuristic vision of Raccoon City is amazingly realized, even though itís reduced to shots of zombies destroying it. Colors are naturally perfect, as well. A nice capper to the year 2004 from CTS.

Audio ****

The 5.1 Dolby mix fares extremely great for this futuristic action adventure. The end result is a largely detailed level of dynamic range where everything from gunfire to explosions to music to even the occasional spoken word of dialogue is heard in the utmost form of sharp clarity. In the end, it makes the movie experience even grander.

Features ****

CTS has returned to this video game/movie enterprise with a vengeance in the form of an outstanding 2-disc package.

Disc 1 includes three commentary tracks; the first is a filmmaker commentary with director Alexander Witt, producer Jeremy Bolt and executive producer Robert Kulzer, the second a cast commentary with Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr and Sienna Guillory, the third a writer and producer commentary with writer Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt. Lastly, there are two bonus previews.

Disc 2 contains even more, including 20 Deleted Scenes, Cast Outtakes, Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated: A Six-Part Making-of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Corporate Malfeasance: a Featurette on the Real World Similarities to the Umbrella Corporation, Game Babes: a Featurette on the Emergence of Female Action Stars on Film, and Symphony Of Evil: a Featurette on the Special Effects Used in the Film, and a Poster Gallery: A collection from the finalists of the online poster design contest, as well as an extra trailer gallery.

Summary:

Though a lot of critics trashed it as much as its predecessor, Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a most eager to please follow up that, although not a perfect action movie, gets the job done in a great cinematic trash kind of way! The 2-disc package from Columbia Tri Star makes it worth checking out even more!

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