“Night of the Living Dead.” “Dawn of the Dead.” “Dead Alive.” These are some of the movies we may think of when we hear the name of one of the most terrifying horror film creatures ever made: zombies. But should “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” be among the films we look back upon later in life and shiver? If you’re looking for a mindless killing spree involving thousands of undead flesh-eaters, this might not be your cup of T-Virus.
“Resident Evil,” based on Capcom’s popular videogame series, was the first zombie-infested adventure starring Milla Jovovich (“The Fifth Element,” “Zoolander”) as Alice, an amnesiac security agent employed by the Umbrella Corporation.
Film number one takes the femme fatale through a secret underground laboratory, massacring zombie workers, zombie dogs and zombies with really big tongues that lick people to death. She prevails over the thousands of undead only to be captured at the end of the film by scientists in white coats.
Alice, captured and subjected to unknown scientific experiments, then awakens in a hospital with tubes attached to her. Tubes! After much tube removal, Alice exits the hospital to find the surrounding area deserted. In the place of a thriving city now lies a disaster area-post-apocalyptic, if you will. This image of destruction is the end of one film and the beginning of the other.
“Resident Evil: Apocalypse” picks up at the moment its prequel leaves off, a desolate wasteland with no signs of life and Alice, armed with a shotgun, ready to kick some ass.
In this second movie bearing the “Resident Evil” title, Umbrella Corporation (the one responsible for creating the T-Virus, a virus that brings dead things back to life!) accidentally releases the virus into Raccoon City-a city totally controlled by Umbrella. So, like any considerate corporate entity, Umbrella cleans up its mistakes-by allowing the virus to spread then doing experiments on the poor zombie population. This experiment just happens to involve a big, ugly, almost invincible, regenerating monster by the name of Nemesis, who travels through the city blowing things up with a bazooka.
Police, civilians, members of S.T.A.R.S (the special police force)-all get the good old zombie treatment, but zombies do not take center stage in this film. They are like a force of nature, killing off an inconvenient character here and there, causing general havoc, popping up randomly in the streets. The zombies don’t get the focus they deserve in this movie and it made me sad for about five seconds. My sorrow was replaced by overwhelming joy at the complex character development, fear of real life corporations like Umbrella, and a particular scene involving a whiny journalist (like me!), a hoard of tiny zombie-children, and blood. Lots of blood.
Fans of Capcom’s “Resident Evil” game may notice one very important thing: this movie is more accurate to the games’ storyline. Anyone who has played “Resident Evil: Nemesis” might recognize the description of the big, ugly thing with the bazooka. Whether you’re a fan of the games or you just wanted to see more blood, this movie rocked my face and it very well might rock yours, but don’t expect the thrills of your favorite zombie movies. Expect the very real fears of corporate control in our world today.