Finally, the Resident Evil movie we’ve been waiting for. It’s certainly a high point but if my memory serves me correctly, it’s all downhill again from here so I’m going to enjoy this one while I can.
Where the opening to the saga was devoid of any actual ‘Resident Evil’, you can tell that Apocalypse has either been researched or the games have been played.
Rather than a sequel or the second movie in a franchise, Apocalypse is a homage to all of the games up to Code Veronica and for fans of the series, it’s extremely welcome.
Once we get the obligatory recap out of the way, we’re straight into Racoon City and it’s like watching a live action Nemesis. From the first movie, we know that Racoon City has fallen to the T-Virus but we watch a brief run through of the breakdown of the city. Everything seems rosy but we quickly descend into chaos with the authorities overrun with the infected. They even do the obligatory helmet reflection shot! Can’t remember it from the game? Take a look below….
As the movie moves forward, the first half an hour is classic Resident Evil. There’s tension, there’s panic and there are civilians that don’t know any better. They even get the Lickers right in the church. They stalk their prey and cling to the ceiling. You can hear their nails tap the surface as they move and the way they hunt is Predator-esq. It’s a truly brilliant representation that the first movie got terribly wrong.
Then, just as our group are tackling their adversary, Alice joins the party. She’s like a bad smell that you just can’t get rid of; the unwanted guest at the party. What Alice provides is a complete shift in tone for a movie (and a beloved game) that simply doesn’t fit. She dispatches the Lickers with ease and in the process, evaporates any tension that was built or any need to be afraid.
Indeed, she disappears again after her first fight with Nemesis and when we’re back with Jill and Carlos, it’s enjoyable again.
If you’ve played the games, you know that Jill is pretty awesome and whilst the movie made her more of a bad-ass, it’s a brilliant representation of the character. So much so, it removes the need to have Alice, so you can imagine my joy at her reappearance.
In the process, she destroys another brilliant reference, this time from Resident Evil 2. Jill and Angie is a clear nod to Claire Redfield’s protection of Sherry Birkin and it’s interweaved into the story to become the main plot point. It works perfectly and Sophie Vavasseur plays Angie charmingly well; everything you’d expect from the daughter of an Umbrella employee.
And then we have Nemesis. Whilst he didn’t stalk our S.T.A.R.S members as he did in the game, his limited time on screen still highlighted how close to the game he was. The look was spot on, you got that juggernaut vibe and he genuinely seemed insurmountable as an enemy.
It’s just a shame that Alice is the “main draw” of these movies. If she wasn’t, we may have not had to witness the Karate Kid style final battle. I was just waiting for “You’re the best around” to kick in and that would have been it.
The only good thing that Alice did in this movie was the Claire Redfield gun drop. And that’s only because I’m a fan boy that think he comes from Racoon City. Hence all the clips. Well, shut up, here’s another one. Just get to 1 minute, 40 seconds and you’ll see it.
And that’s it! Essentially, a movie that’s great if you fast forward anything with Alice.
3* - Jill, will you be my Valentine?