The Sixth Estate
Friday, September 10, 2004
QUOTE OF THE DAY : "If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law." - Winston Churchill

SONG OF THE DAY : The Crystal Method - Name Of The Game


Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake.

Well it's that time again. The Toronto International Film Festival 2004 is upon us.

I've already seen a few cool movies, with many more to come. Accidentally saw the first 15 minutes of the new Neve Campbell movie When Will I Be Loved, 5 minutes of which are her naked in the shower. It was a good mistake to make. After that I saw Ghost in the Shell 2 : Innocence, sequel to the popular anime film from the mid 90's. Then tonight I went to a press screening of House of Flying Daggers, Zhang Yimou's follow up to HERO. Cool flicks I thought.

But before any of this, I saw Resident Evil 2! Underwhelming, but fun.

6/10 STARS

Alright... I'll watch your movie... But only if you put the gun down.

Milla Jovovich returns as Alice in Resident Evil : Apocalypse, sequel to the surprisingly successful Resident Evil. Both films have been adapted from the popular Capcom video game series of the same name. Apocalypse starts off right where the first film ended, having survived the Raccoon Forest incident Alice finds herself in downtown Raccoon City, now seemingly devoid of anything living. There are plenty of zombies roaming the streets though. As it turns out the mega-conglomerate Umbrella Corporation accidentally unleashed the T-Virus on the unsuspecting citizens of Raccoon City. The T-Virus is a bio-weapon, it re-animates dead cells; which invariable results in hordes of zombies. What would a zombie movie be without a rag-tag band of heavily armed survivors? Not much of a zombie movie. A mysterious Umbrella scientist, Dr Ashford (Jared Harris) enlists the help of the survivors in an effort to find his young daughter. Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) a beautiful and hard-as-nails cop. Carlos Olivera an abandoned Umbrella mercenary. Terri Morales (Sandrine Holt) a TV weather reporter, and L.J. (Mike Epps) a wise-cracking criminal. Alice and company fight off wave after wave of zombies throughout the city in their search for Dr. Ashford's daughter. All the while the group is being stalked by Umbrella's ultimate bio-weapon: Nemesis, a hulking, mutant behemoth armed with a minigun and rocket launcher. Things get interesting to say the least.

Resident Evil : Apocalypse is better than it's predecessor, but that isn't really saying much. The film is more akin to the Capcom video games, which fans of the series will appreciate. The movie doesn't revolutionize the zombie-movie genre by any means, but it's still a fun ride. I did actually find myself caring about what happened to some of the characters, because for the most part they were generally likeable. Milla Jovovich, having played Alice twice now, really knows her character and does a good job with the role. Mike Epps as L.J., the film's comic relief will have you laughing throughout. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously, so you can laugh at many of the ridiculous and implausible situations the characters find themselves in. This is a zombie movie after all, you're going to have to suspend your disbelief right from the get-go.

Almost all of the movie takes place at night, this can make it difficult to make out exactly what's going on in some scenes. This problem was especially present in the fight scenes. The shaky cameras combined with the blindingly fast martial arts (Yes, karate works on zombies) make it hard enough to tell friend from foe, and the darkness just compounds the problem. The script was written by Paul W.S. Anderson, director of the first Resident Evil, and it's actually pretty good for what it is. Anderson was busy directing Alien vs Predator, so this time the directorial reigns go to Alexander Witt. Witt succeeds with Apocalypse, where the first one failed... Actually making you care to a certain degree. The characters had some time to develop, instead of becoming zombie fodder instantly. No effort was made to disguise the city of Toronto where the film was shot, the cities famous landmark the CN Tower is seen in 2 scenes but never shown again in distant shots of the city. Toronto's City Hall also stood in for Raccoon City Hall. Toronto is the sixth largest city in North America, give people some credit.

If you liked the first film, or you're a fan of the games you'll enjoy this movie. If you didn't see the first one you'll probably be at a loss, though it's not too hard to follow, just a typical zombie flick. Didn't like the first one? Don't see the sequel, it's more of the same. Resident Evil : Apocalypse is a fun zombie movie, that doesn't take itself too seriously. You're in for a good time if you go in with low expectations.


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