RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE
I give the makers of RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE ($29) all the credit in the world. They couldnít possibly be aspiring to greatness by making a science fiction/action film based upon a video game- and they didnít. What they did do is deliver a perfectly fine popcorn movie that requires as much thought as one as likely to get from the brain dead zombies that inhabit the film. In a nutshell, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE is dumb fun and it really doesnít need to be any more than that. However, I should point out, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE doesnít provide horror hounds a particularly high gore level, with the zombies in the story mostly providing target practice for the living characters- pretty much the way the would in a video game.
The plot of RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE picks up after the events of the first film. The viral infection that overtook the Umbrella Corporationís underground complex, known as The Hive, has now been unleashed upon the world above, with Raccoon City becoming the first victim of the contagion. Fortunately or unfortunately, Raccoon City is a contained metropolis with only one way out, which has been sealed off by the paramilitary and police forces under the direct control of the Umbrella Corporation. Alice (Milla Jovovich), who survived the first film, finds herself awakening in the midst of the zombie ravaged city, somehow altered and enhanced by the Umbrella Corporationís bad science, and turned into a one woman killing machine, with a knack for obliterating the undead. Sure, the plot has all the depth of a video game, but isnít that the whole point? The cast of RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE also features Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Sophie Vavasseur, Razaaq Adoti, Jared Harris and Mike Epps.
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE available on DVD in a 2.40:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. A full screen presentation is also provided on a separate layer, but is not reviewed here. This is a great looking wide screen transfer, that delivers a sharp and very nicely defined image, and doesnít leave one much to complain about. Colors are very strongly rendered and donít show signs or noise or smearing. Blacks are deep, whites are clean and shadow detail is generally very good. The film elements appear virtually pristine and there is little appreciable film grain during the presentation. Digital compression artifacts are held in check despite the film being confined to a single layer.
RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE comes with a nice, punchy Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that assaults the viewer like any good video game or action movie would. Directional effects are well deployed and the sound mix is aggressively implemented. Fidelity is great with the music having a distinct sense of presence, while the sound effects are crisp and precise sounding. The bass channel is solid enough for the gunshots, but could have shaken the ground a bit more. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and always understandable. No other language tracks are provided, but English subtitles have been included.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this set. Disc one actually features three separate audio commentaries. Commentary one includes director Alexander Witt, producer Jeremy Bolt, and executive producer Robert Kulzer. Commentary two features cast members Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, and Sienna Guillory. Commentary three is with writer/producer Paul W.S. Anderson, who also directed the first film, as well as producer Jeremy Bolt.
Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming. Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated is a six-part program that runs fifty minutes and provides a rather detailed looks at the making of the horror/sci-fi/action sequel. Other featurettes include: Corporate Malfeasance, an all too brief three minute program that looks at the filmís Umbrella Corporation and compares it to its counterparts in the real world. Game Babes spends eleven minutes looking at the emergence of the female action hero in both video games and cinema. Symphony Of Evil clocks in at approximately seven minutes and provides a look behind the scenes at the special effects work, while allowing one to take in the filmís music. Next, one will find Twenty Deleted Scenes and/or scene extensions that total twelve minutes worth of footage. Also featured on disc two are three minutes worth of Outtakes, plus a Poster Gallery of winning submissions to an online design contest for RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE. Lastly disc two contains a teaser and theatrical trailer for RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE, plus bonus trailers for RESIDENT EVIL, UNDERWORLD, ANACONDAS, THE GRUDGE, THE FORGOTTEN, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, and THE FIFTH ELEMENT.
As far as movies based upon video games go, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE is a good dumb fun way to spend ninety-four minutes. The DVD looks and sounds great, and provides a solid array of supplements. If you are into this type of video game, or like horror/sci-fi/action movies in general, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE is probably your kind of DVD.
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