Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Featurettes, Photo Gallery and more

The "Resident Evil" franchise was off to a great movie start with its debut feature film adaptation in 2002. The film had everything fans of the video games and horror fans were looking for. Atmosphere, scary moments and lots of gruesome zombies. While it still had its flaws, to me it was a welcome surprise at the time to see how well the film had turned out. With the sequel "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" sadly the franchise is now taking a rapid downward spiral as director Alexander Witt serves up a film that is practically unbearable. If a film insults my intelligence three times within the first 3 minutes things typically don’t fare well, and "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" did just that. What was worse is that it kept doing it until the point that I turned it off some 50 minutes into the movie because I could no longer stand the superficial "cool" of the film, the barrage of moronic dialogue and the superhero-like attitudes of the players. Computer games work with a lot of clichés mostly because the creators and artists are typically not schooled in proper story telling or cinematic style. Games get away with it. Expectations are different, and the audience is more forgiving on those fronts being used to these limitations. If, however, a movie comes along and directly copies these same clichés and plasters them on the big screen, all you can do is shudder and shake your head. "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" is so flat, ludicrous and riddled with clichés that you wouldn’t believe it. The character of Jill Valentine – to take one of countless examples – looks, talks and behaves like the wet dream of a 15-year old computer nerd during puberty. There is nothing real about here. Not her hairdo, not her body, not her absolutely unsuitable attire, her walk, her shooting, her body language, nor the way she talks. She is not a person. The same is true for Alice, who magically appears in the right time at the right place and without need for orientation intuitively knows where to run and fire, and always hits the zombies straight in the frontal lobes with her first shot. Ah, yes… if I were 15 years old, maybe I would enjoy that much "fiction," but then I would be too young to see this film to begin with… so who’s your audience, guys?

Sony Picture Home Entertainment is releasing the film in its original 2.40:1 <$PS,widescreen> format on this DVD in an <$16x9,anamorphic> transfer A cropped <$PS,fullframe> version is also provided for those who care. Being a brand new film, the presentation is accordingly good and free of any defects or blemishes. Color reproduction is strong with good hues and saturated colors. Black levels are solid, giving the image good visual depth, and no edge-enhancement mars the picture. It’s a very good presentation.

The audio comes as a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> track that is also very impressive and makes aggressive use of the surround format.

The release is full of bonus materials and I admit that I did not care to look at much of it. The self-grandizing <$commentary,commentary track> is more of an embarrassment for the director and producers who really seem to think they have a good movie here. Well, think again. Then there is a cast commentary and a <$commentary,commentary track> by writer Paul Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt, which is equally redundant, as it is for the most part Anderson’s inept writing that this film never lives up to its potential, much like most of his previous work.

On the second disc you find deleted scenes, outtakes, promo featurettes and other tidbits about the film and its conversion from video game to movie. After suffering through most of thefilm, I had no more inclination exploring either of these.

"Resident Evil: Apocalypse" is a disaster, plain and simple. It doesn’t work on an emotional level, it doesn’t work on a story-telling level, it doesn’t work on the scare level, it doesn’t work at all. If the filmmakers had taken the material and tried not so hard to create a video game on the big screen but instead create an actual movie, it could have been a success like the first "Resident Evil" film, but like it is the film is an insult to everyone over the age of 18. The fact that is uses elements from some of the "Resident Evil" games make things even worse because these elements have been translated to the screen too literal, without adapting them to the medium properly, making the film a disappointment for everyone but maybe the hardest-core Resident Evil fanatics. Don’t waste your money on this stinker and get a decent zombie flick instead, like the original "Resident Evil," "28 Days" or the new "Dawn Of The Dead."