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Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a 2004 science fiction action horror film. It is the second installment in the series of film adaptations based on the Capcom survival horror game series Resident Evil. Borrowing elements from the video games Resident Evil 2, 3: Nemesis, and Code: Veronica, the film follows the heroine Alice, who has escaped the underground Umbrella facility, and must band with other survivors including Jill Valentine and escape Raccoon City, before it is too late. The film was directed by Alexander Witt and produced by Paul W. S. Anderson.

Plot summary

The film begins with Alice (Milla Jovovich) recalling the key events from the first film. The Umbrella Corporation sends in a research team to re-open the complex. The entire team is slaughtered by zombies and Lickers who have been sealed within the complex. The virus and infectious zombies make their way to the surface. Umbrella then establishes a security perimeter around the city to keep the citizens in a quarantined area.

Alice wakes up in a downtown hospital, recalling her recent memories. As she awakes she finds herself in a hospital room. She rips IVs and various probes, wires and tubes from her body. As she exits the hospital, she recognizes the virus has escaped causing devastation in the streets and makes her way to a police car where she grabs a shotgun from the back seat.

As civilians reach the checkpoints, Umbrella operatives screen them for traces of any infection, until Major Timothy Cain, orders all checkpoints to be closed, as the infection already reached the gates, and then he informs the remaining citizens to return to their homes. No one responds to the order, and the military threatens them after hoaxing a shoot-out.

Dr. Charles Ashford (Jared Harris), a key Umbrella scientist and creator of the T-Virus, has refused extraction by Umbrella until he has his daughter Angela (Sophie Vavasseur). As he hacks into Raccoon City's network of closed circuit cameras, he determines she is hiding out in her school and contacts Alice and her group.

Elsewhere, Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and two other Umbrella soldiers Nicholai Ginovaef (Zack Ward) and Yuri Loginov link up with multiple Special Tactics And Rescue Squad units. Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) (a S.T.A.R.S. unit member) together with former Raccoon News weatherwoman Terri Morales (Sandrine Holt) and Peyton Wells (Razaaq Adoti) retreat to a church, where they are attacked by Licker before being saved by Alice. In the church Terri is recording their encounters with the zombies and other monsters.

When the infection reaches critical stages, Umbrella dispatches their Nemesis program (Matthew G. Taylor) to kill all remaining Special Tactics And Rescue Squad operatives and as many of the undead as possible. However, when he encounters L.J. Wayne (Mike Epps), and thirteen other members of S.T.A.R.S, they open fire on Nemesis, but it is ineffective against him. Nemesis guns them down, sparing only L.J.'s life.

As they look for a way out, Alice and the others walk through a cemetary, where a confrontation breaks out between Jill and Alice regarding Peyton's infection. Jill tells Alice if and when the time comes she'll do the job herself. The infection's critical stages are shown as even the buried corpses are coming to life, and the group fights their way out of the graveyard before they can be overwhelmed. This fight brings Alice to Umbrella's attention, and Major Cain wants to run the true test of their experiment, and sics Nemesis on Alice. The Nemesis then kills Peyton, and Alice draws it away so the others can get to safety. While they rest and recover, Jill and Terri are attacked by zombie Peyton, and Jill kills him. Meanwhile, Alice barely gets out of the chase from Nemesis alive.

Dr. Ashford reveals Umbrella's plan for sanitizing Raccoon City: obliteration via nuclear bomb. He offers to help Alice, Jill, L.J., and Terri escape Raccoon City if they return his daughter to him, alive. Jill, L.J., and Terri drive to the school in which Angela Ashford is located. Inside the school, the group encounter Carlos and his team, who have also been given the same offer. Terri Morales is mauled by the infected school children when she mistakes one of the infected children for Angela. Her death is recorded with the camcorder that she had.

Jill manages to find Angela in the very classroom where Terri was killed. While trying to escape, Jill Valentine is attacked by the infected K-9 Unit dogs. Umbrella soldier Nicholai Ginovaef comes to her rescue, but is ultimately killed by the dogs. Alice meets up with both Jill Valentine and Angela Ashford after saving them from the attacks of the dogs.

The group finds out that Ashford created the T-Virus in order to prevent Angela from being paralyzed and that the Umbrella Corp took his invention for the corporation's usage. The group uses the antivirus in Angela's bag to inject those who are infected. They get into contact with Ashford and he gives them the location of the extraction point, and tells them that it's "lightly guarded." Alice records her story with Terri's video camera as they travel to the extraction point.

Alice and the other survivors are confronted by Major Cain. Cain had been aware of Ashford's plan. Cain captures him along with Angela and the others who accompany Alice. Cain, after killing Dr. Ashford, forces Alice to fight Nemesis for her friends' lives. She realizes Nemesis' true identity (her friend, Matt Addison) and refuses to deliver the killing blow. Her mercy appears to rekindle a trace of Nemesis' former humanity, and they join forces and attack the Umbrella troops. While Nemesis is killed in the fight, Alice and the others escape in the helicopter piloted by L.J. Major Cain is thrown off the helicopter by Alice, and is eaten alive by zombies after his attempt to commit suicide failed (with, ironically, the reanimated Dr. Ashford being the first to get to him).

The N-2 Missile flies above Raccoon City, reaching the towers, and then drops a 5 kiloton tactical nuclear device which obliterates the entire city. The shock wave violently shakes the helicopter and sends a piece of metal hurling towards Angela. Alice moves in front of her and is impaled by it. The helicopter then crashes into the Arklay Mountains. Alice is recovered by Umbrella, the rest of the occupants escape before the crash site is located. Terri's video is subsequently recovered and released. Initially, news stations worldwide express the global suspicion that Umbrella is under, however the situation quickly deviates when the footage is said to be a hoax. In reality, however, Umbrella devised a clever cover story, crediting the disaster to a reactor meltdown at the local nuclear facility. In the end, Terri's video is discredited as being fabricated, with Jill and Carlos thought to be the masterminds behind the "hoax".

Alice is taken to an Umbrella research station, after several weeks she awakens in a water tank, completely regenerated from her injuries, but is an amnesiac and can remember nothing of what has transpired. Led by Umbrella scientist Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), the doctors question her: the queries cause her to recall everything that has happened to her. She contemptuously snarls "My name is Aliceā€¦ and I remember everything." She fights her way out of the facility showing some of her darkest powers yet, only to be surrounded by dozens of armed guards. Jill, Carlos and L.J., disguised as Umbrella employees, pull up in an SUV. Carlos shows the guards a written order placing Alice in his custody. The guards stand down and Alice enters the waiting vehicle only to see Angela in the back seat. Angela asks Alice if she is alright, to which Alice doesn't respond. Dr. Isaacs is shown announcing "Program Alice Activated", and the film comes to an end.

Cast

{| class="wikitable"
! Actor/Actress || Role
|-
| Milla Jovovich || Alice
|-
| Sienna Guillory || Jill Valentine
|-
| Oded Fehr || Carlos Olivera
|-
| Thomas Kretschmann || Major Timothy Cain
|-
| Sophie Vavasseur || Angela Ashford
|-
| Sandrine Holt || Terri Morales
|-
| Razaaq Adoti || Peyton Wells
|-
| Jared Harris || Dr. Charles Ashford
|-
| Mike Epps || L.J.
|-
| Iain Glen || Dr. Sam Isaacs
|-
| Matthew G. Taylor || The Nemesis
|-
| Zack Ward || Nicholai Ginovaef
|-
| Stefan Hayes || Yuri Loginova
|}


Production

Pre-production

Resident Evil: Apocalypse was first discussed by Milla Jovovich and Paul W. S. Anderson while promoting Resident Evil. Anderson stated that he began writing the screenplay for the second film after completing the first. He revealed an idea to have Jill Valentine meeting up with Alice, however this idea was scrapped as he wanted two separate stories occurring at the same time. Anderson mentioned the film would go ahead if the first film was a success and promised that "the sequel will be even better" stating that "there is more of the story to be told." The sequel was officially greenlit by Sony in mid 2002, however Anderson chose not to direct but rather stay on as the film's producer and writer due to commitments to Alien vs. Predator.

Alexander Witt was hired by Sony to direct the sequel. Milla Jovovich confirmed her character would return in the sequel if the first film was successful, and when the film was greenlit, Jovovich officially signed on.In March 2002, Eric Mabius (who played Matt Addison in the first film), confirmed the story would revolve around his character becoming Nemesis. He also revealed he would portray the character and study his movements whilst playing Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, however before production began he pulled out and Matthew G. Taylor was cast as Nemesis. It was reported that Gina Philips would appear as Claire Redfield and Natasha Henstridge as Jill Valentine, however both actresses left before production began. Sienna Guillory was cast to portray Jill Valentine and Oded Fehr was cast as Carlos Olivera, while Claire Redfield's role was scrapped after Emily Bergl dropped the role. The role was later offered to Ali Larter in the film's sequel Extinction. Jason Isaacs was originally intended to return and portray Dr. William Birkin, however passed on the role and the characters name was changed to Dr. Isaacs, with Iain Glen being cast in the role.

Jack Noseworthy was originally rumored to portray Brad Vickers, however this was later revealed as a rumor. Two weeks before production began, Jared Harris was cast as a new character called Dr. Ashford who developed and produced the T-Virus.

Story development

In March 2002, it was revealed the film would borrow plot elements from Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, as the film's subtitle was revealed as being "Resident Evil: Nemesis". It was also revealed the film would include new characters from the video game series such as Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Carlos Olivera, Dr. William Birkin and Nemesis. In April 2003, it was confirmed that the story would begin minutes after the ending of the first film, where Alice is a survivor lurking amongst the ruins of Raccoon City.

The film borrowed numerous elements from the game series including re-enactments of certain scenes from the games, such as Alice running through a building with an Umbrella helicopter firing at her, up to the point where she drops her gun, falls, re-grabs it and fires, which is reminiscent to the introduction scene of Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Another scene involves where Raccoon City is overrun by zombies, and the police and Umbrella mercenaries are fighting back, up to the point in which a zombie reflects off a fallen police helmet, which is reminiscent to the introduction scene of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Other scenes involve the launching a missile to destroy Raccoon City and the attack at the graveyard scene.

The film references Resident Evil such as the crash site of the helicopter being located in the Arklay Forest near the Arklay Mountains, where the Resident Evil series first began. Other similarities include Jill basing her moves from the first game. The recording of Terri's death is similar to Kenneth's death which is also recorded. A white goddess statue can be seen in the church as artwork of goddesses has a large role within the puzzles in the Resident Evil series. Whilst walking on the Arklay Overpass, Jill speculates that there is no way out, and that Ashford may just be watching them on the cameras, as if the whole thing were some sort of sick game. The games themselves use a fixed camera perspective, and in most of the earlier games resembles a mounted camera's perspective. Another similarity includes where Jill finds a gun under a pew, mirroring the game when you find ammo or weapons in certain areas.

The film references Resident Evil 2 such as when Alice visits the gun shop which is similar to Kendo's Gun Shop. Angela Ashford's character is based on Sherry Birkin, as they are both children, dressed in school uniforms, and in need of rescue. Both of their fathers are also researchers working for Umbrella. The Ashford name, however, comes from the founders of Umbrella revealed in Resident Evil : Code Veronica. The film also references Resident Evil 3: Nemesis such as Jill wearing the same outfit. Nemesis is a character taken directly from the game, and also mentions "S.T.A.R.S." on numerous occasions.

Production

Actors portraying zombies were trained at a zombie "boot camp" where they were coached to act as zen-zombies and liquid zombies. Anderson and other crew members intended to make the zombies move faster but decided that it would be breaking a fundamental element of the games. The design for Nemesis was to include an actor in a suit (Matthew G. Taylor) with only special-effects applied to certain parts of the character's body, such as the eye. The Lickers were fully computer-generated, though the use of physical puppets was originally considered. To avert issues faced during production, the CGI work of the lickers began early. The film was filmed on location in Canada, with the film entering pre-production stages in mid 2003. Principal photography was slated to originally begin in July 2003, before being bumped up to August 6, 2003.

The film was shot in Ontario, Canadamarker, with Torontomarker and its surrounding suburbs being a stand-in for Raccoon City. Toronto City Hallmarker and Exhibition Placemarker (namely the National Trade Centre) were used as Umbrella's worldwide headquarters, while the logos of Canada's largest banks feature prominently in the skyline shots of the city, and the Prince Edward Viaductmarker was used to represent Ravens' Gate. It was originally feared that production would be shut down due to the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto; however, production resumed, with filming ending in October 2003. The film was also shot at the Hamilton cemetery in Hamilton, Ontariomarker, Canada.

Marketing and release

The film was planned for an October 31, 2003 release, although was pushed back to September 10, 2004 due to the 2003 SARS outbreak. In late 2003, a teaser trailer was released titled Regenerate and was directed by Marcus Nispel. The preview was noted for being reminiscent of the Olay product Regenerist advertisements and can be viewed in RealMedia and Windows Media formats. In May 2004 It was later revealed the trailer would actually be part of the film. Milla Jovovich's official website later released promotional images that showed Alice in several scenes from the film.

The theatrical trailer was released on Yahoo! Movies on July 7, 2004 and prior to the film's release, two albums for Resident Evil: Apocalypse were released. The first was the soundtrack which was released August 31, 2004 and featured music from the film. The second was the film's score, which was released in late 2004 and was composed by Jeff Danna and performed by the London Philharmonia Orchestra. A day before the film's release, numerous props from the film were auctioned on the website Premiere Props. The film opened at number one in North America on September 10, 2004 and received an estimated $23.7 million on its opening weekend and $129,394,835 worldwide,

Critical reaction

Reaction among critics was poor, with Apocalypse holding a rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of out of 35 out of 100 on Metacritic. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a score of one half star out of four, saying: "The movie is an utterly meaningless waste of time. There was no reason to produce it, except to make money, and there is no reason to see it, except to spend money. It is a dead zone, a film without interest, wit, imagination or even entertaining violence and special effects. [...] Parents: If you encounter teenagers who say they liked this movie, do not let them date your children."

Dave Kehr of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying: "Anderson's screenplay provides a steady series of inventive action situations, and the director, Alexander Witt, makes the most of them. His work is fast, funny, smart and highly satisfying in terms of visceral impact." M. E. Russell of the Portland Oregonian said: "The bad news? The movie is monumentally stupid. The good news? It's a fun kind of stupid." Nathan Rabin of The Onion's A.V. Club said that the film "takes too long to get going to qualify unequivocally as a good movie, but when Jovovich finally starts kicking zombified ass, it becomes good enough."

Gregory Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly praised Jovovich but felt that "the rest of the cast is strictly straight-to-DVD." Ben Kenigsberg of the Village Voice said the film is "not without its moments of elemental dread [but] also obviously padded, too long on action, and painfully short on irony. The satirical element still packs a minor jolt." Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that "those who want something more substantial from a movie than a vid-game script with centerfold appeal will not find it in this noisy, bone-crushing survivalist flick.". In 2009, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video games movies. It is understood that Paul W.S. Anderson, the director of the first film and writer of the series was critical of director Alexander Witt's work.

DVD releases

The film was released on DVD in North America on December 28, 2004. Releases on UMD and Blu-ray Disc formats followed on April 19, 2005 and January 16, 2007, respectively. The film was released in Australia and New Zealand on March 16, 2005 and February 2005 in UK. The release included an audio commentary by the director Alexander Witt, producer Paul W.S. Anderson, and actress Milla Jovovich. The release included 20 deleted scenes with numerous outtakes and a featurette titled "Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated". 6 other featurettes were included which covered behind the scenes of the film's production. The blooper reel included on the DVD edition is not included on the Blu-Ray edition of the film.

A special "Resurrection Edition" of both Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Apocalypse were released in a two-disc set on September 4, 2007. An exclusive sneak peek scene for Resident Evil: Extinction was included, along with several other bonus features including Diary of an Apocalypse and The Evolution of Resident Evil: Bridge to Extinction.

References

  1. DAVE KEHR, " Call to Arms, With Trouble Right Here in Zombie City: Review of RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE," The New York Times (September 10, 2004).
  2. Resident Evil: Apocalypse reviews, Publication
  3. Resident Evil: Apocalypse reviews, Metacritic
  4. Review, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, September 10, 2004
  5. Review, Dave Kehr, The New York Times
  6. Review by M. E. Russell, Portland Oregonian, September 2004
  7. Review, Nathan Rabin, The A.V. Club
  8. Review, Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly
  9. Review, Ben Kenigsberg, Village Voice
  10. Review, Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer
  11. Resident Evil/Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Double Feature)
  12. Deadly Bundle: Resident Evil Flicks Resurrected


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