Before the release of the fourth game Resident Evil 2 was the best game in the series. Problem is Resident Evil: Apocalypse has nothing to do with the second game. Instead it exhumes the main antagonist of the third game and sticks him in the middle of a film which is better than its predecessor, but stupid all the same.
The plot is a bit more forgivable than last time because it is set in Raccoon City. Despite being just as unfaithful to the games as the first film it is some conciliation that they took into account where two of the best games took place. There is more action to go around this time and the setting is a lot better than The Hive. Once again we follow our amnesiac protagonist who is still searching for answers while trying to escape the city. The story comes to a climax with a showdown between the protagonist and Nemesis. It certainly tops the ending of the first film which felt like a cheap knock off of the second games ending. Despite having its own flaws the story is more respectable this time.
The effects have moved on a bit from last. The zombies still don’t look right, but at this point it doesn’t really matter since it is obvious that these films don’t excel at visual effects. Nemesis looks kind of weird and quite unlike his game counterpart who was a truly terrifying opponent from the moment he appeared. Here he looks too thin and less muscular than he should be. He never uses his purple hand tentacles and his voice sounds like the actor is saying his famous line “S.T.A.R.S” while half way through drinking a can of Coca-Cola. Maybe it can be considered a small mercy that they didn’t use G-Birkin. That could have been even more outrageous if not flat out offensive to fans.
Generally the acting is better than last time as are the characters which appear. Milla Jovovich is just about the same as before. Her character is more or less the same and does not get any substantial character development until the ending. Sienna Guillory was a major casting error so congratulations to whoever thought she was a good choice. She completely destroys one of the best female characters in the series with her lacklustre performance. Oded Fehr is Carlos Olivera. Remember him? He is another character from the series who has been dissected rather cruelly. While it is sad what has been done to the character his performance is not half bad so don’t blame him. Blame the writers. Jared Harris makes a surprisingly good performance as Dr Charles Ashford who is a better character than some I could name. In a nutshell the acting is good, but not without its faults.
It is reasonable to choose to watch this over the disgraceful first film. The best advice, though, is to forget this film series and go play the games they were based off. In spite of the fact that it improves on the original Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a slow moving train that derails itself long before it has finished.