Resident Evil: Apocalypse Review

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Picking up where Resident Evil left off, we follow Alice as she emerges into the now (un)dead Racoon City. Together with other survivors Jill Valentine, Carlos Olivera and Nicholai she must battle her way to safety, past new threat Nemesis...


Here's irony for you.

The Year Of The Zombie, which got off to such a great start with Shaun Of The Dead and the excellent Dawn Of The Dead remake, has been killed by an adaptation of the very game whose success prompted the zombie movie revival in the first place.

Not that our hopes for Resident Evil: Apocalypse were high. After all, the original wasn't much cop. Sad to report, the sequel does nothing to improve on it.

Fanboys will be keen to pin the blame on Paul W. S. Anderson, who wrote and directed the original, but although he scribbled this mish-mash screenplay, he's not the culprit. The blame should go to first-time director Witt who, when not mangling action scenes with hamfisted editing and an alarmingly shaky grasp of geography, or rendering a simple plot incomprehensible, is busy undoing all of Dawn and Shaun's good work.

If those movies effectively killed off slow-moving zombies as a genuine menace, Witt makes sure they stay dead once and for all, unintentionally diminishing their threat still further by shooting the ravenous hordes in a horrendous, jerky slo-mo so corny you half expect Michael Jackson to pop up and pull some slick dance moves. Only once, with a sequence involving a roomful of zombie schoolkids, does he come close to generating any chills.

Admittedly, the second half does veer away from the zombies to focus on the Buffy-esque Big Bad: genetically engineered unstoppable killing machine, Nemesis. But again Witt drops the ball - when your villain looks like the Toxic Avenger's third cousin has fallen into a vat of Play-Doh, you're in trouble.

There are positives, though. Once again, Jovovich's Alice is suitably kick-ass (she's been souped up with enhanced speed and strength, and yet more gratuitous nudity), but despite a heavy dose of the flashbacks, there's precious little emotional connection to her or any of the characters (it was easier to care about Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira when they were pixels).

It's this lack of empathy that's Apocalypse's downfall - the zombie holocaust is mildly diverting, but chances are you'll emerge feeling like one of the undead.

Fans of the games will have fun spotting the Easter eggs on display, but precious little else. Indeed, the chief horror here is the cliffhanger promising a third instalment.