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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // September 10, 2004
Review by Kim Morgan | posted September 11, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Model/Singer/Actress Milla Jovovich graces the cover of this month's Maxim, clad in white bikini and a challenging, sultry gaze. Though her interview is riddled with typical Maxim how-do-you-like-to-do-it type questions, Milla states this excited declaration:

"I was always into science fiction, like 'Dune' and 'The Lord of the Rings.' Anything that has to do with morphing or warping or superpowers, I'm like 'sign me up!'...I saw the cover of a Heavy Metal comic book, and it had this woman with fairy wings and big, oiled muscles and no shirt on. Her breasts were huge and she was leaning on her crazy New Age sword, thinking about something really deep, like, 'should I enter that city over the horizon with a breast plate on or not?'"

OK. So even had she NOT worn the numerous tattered bathing suits accompanying the spread or talked about her sex life, gorgeous Milla (who also served as cover girl for High Times years ago), by the above confession would still make about two million Sci-Fi geeks/metal heads/pot-heads switch off the Star Trek, turn down the Iron Maiden, cough on their toke and drop their Giger doodles. As they read her love of morphing, a collective gasp occurred. "Hole-ly Shit. In the name of Odin, where can I find a girl like this?"

Well, probably not next door (you know, that girl down the street who's still obsessed with unicorns) but one can certainly dare to dream. As of now, Milla lovers can find her reprising her role in the highly underrated video game turned movie, Resident Evil in the sequel, Resident Evil Apocalypse--a movie that finds our Milla armed with doubled fisted guns, a motorcycle, an arsenal of kick ass fighting maneuvers and yes—some pretty sexy outfits--most alluring being a white towel that looks ready to slip off any moment.

But...the story? Sorry, we forgot—yes there IS one. Picking up where the first film left us, Apocalypse shows commando Alice waking up in her lab rat/amnesiac horror, escaping from an underground laboratory run by her old employers, the Umbrella Corporation. At the end of the first film, the streets were empty with a sort of Cronenberg-ian/Romero feel of horror. What's really happening is the city is rife with cannibalistic zombies linked to this nefarious corporation and intent on world dominance. On top of that, Alice comes to find she's been genetically altered and turned into a super-power, which accounts for her speed-addict-like moments of not feeling human (these are actually shot with a drug induced zeal that borders on interesting).

So Alice must battle zombies overrunning the city (called Raccoon City) using her newfound maximum powers to the ultimate limit. She teams up with some human survivors led by another sexy girl (this one in a mini skirt) named Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) and they band together to find the misplaced daughter of the one scientist (played by Jared Harris) who apparently knows a way out of this mess.

The first Resident Evil was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (yes, W.S.--lest you get him confused with P.T. Anderson--there are no porn stars or alienated Californians involved) but this time around, his only job is that of writer. Directorial control went to first timer Alexander Witt who lacks the pacing, aesthetic and ripped off personality of the original (though we wonder how well Anderson would have faired after his tedious Alien Vs. Predator debacle). Though Milla is a slinky ass kicking goddess and her acting just fine (the actress has a terrific voice--a sexy cross between a little girl and a raspy pothead), the film is shot with a combination of such un-inspired flatness and purposeful confusion that we frequently, can't see what the hell is going on. In one scene, scary zombie dogs are attacking our heroines, but what are they doing? And where are they in the room? In the muddled mess of barking and jumping and attacking the action is cut into so many bits that it looks like an editor picked clips off the floor and just chucked them at the screen. And even when Milla must face off with a horrid killing machine monster (the scene has a supposedly touching twist), there's little thrill to the showdown. And there should be--after all, we've got an Eastern European model punching out some repulsive humanoid—it should involve creative fighting choreography and possibly, humor in the beauty vs. beast smack down.

There are a few moments of fun, horror or exciting action in this sequel. The film starts loud and frantic and continues the pace throughout only becoming briefly intriguing (oddly) by its final ten minutes. When the shot sits on Milla, the picture can't help but ape just part of the first film's appeal— a sort of Sci-Fi Helmut Newton photo shoot riddled with zombies. But there is little else that holds one's interest in the story or tension or, dare we even say, drama. Worse, Milla frequently feels like a secondary character to the other lackluster humans thrown in for extra "personality." Really, this is Milla's show and, had the director been smarter, he would have given her the full-on Barbarella/Kill Bill treatment where she is the one we follow and root for. A heroine we'd take seriously (and laugh with) whom we'd actually feel for if she pondered something like…oh I don't know, maybe Milla asked it best: "Should I enter that city over the horizon with a breast plate on or not?"

Read More Kim Morgan at her blog Sunset Gun
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