Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004 – Alexander Witt)

Twice in the last twelve months have my energy bills gone up, and this is with no significant change in oil wholesale prices.  I moan about this, because it highlights the cruelty corporations will inflict upon working people in order to make profit for its major shareholders.  Housing is not a luxury; it is a necessity.  The fact that this necessity is exploited, and that individuals rarely even complain or resist such exploitation, is significant.  Most people choose to blame society’s ills upon those people living off benefits.  It strikes me that we have lost a degree of humanity when we choose to attack another human being rather than a faceless corporation.  It’s an argument that not all people appreciate at the photocopier at 8:30am on a Monday morning…

Resident Evil: Apocalypse pushes the insidious Umbrella Corporation to the forefront; they are clearly responsible for monetarising healthcare and denying ordinary civilians health, security and justice.  As such, the zombies become positioned as easy targets – they are people, nominally like us, yet different in small, but significant, ways.  George Romero’s greatest strength in his zombie films, particularly in the abandoned second trilogy that began in Diary of the Dead (2007), was to accept that the zombies were a unique lifeform in and of themselves.  He began to explore the consequences of humanity sharing this planet with another lifeform, albeit one that was predatory.  There is little such exploration in the Resident Evil films, the series instead choosing to present a streaming mass of villains, as a hostile ‘other’.  They become the ignorance of man; our inability to understand the ‘other’ and subsequently treat them as fodder.

Apocalypse moves away from the sterile, almost futuristic laboratory setting of the first film and into more traditional landscapes.  This is a horror/action picture set in abandoned churches and schools and graveyards.  It is a safer terrain; a less intimidating aesthetic to an audience primed on an endless stream of horror movies.  There are a few nods made to the videogame origins of the series – such as some fairly pedestrian first-person visuals – but largely, this is a fairly standard piece of genre filmmaking.  It lacks the visual strangeness that Paul W. S. Anderson brought to his instalment.

  • At this point the series begins to position Milla Jovovich as iconic. From now on, the franchise will take every opportunity to show her, legs astride, arms locked out in front, two pistols in hand.
  • Frustratingly, this film has more tedious endings that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003 – Peter Jackson).

Resident Evil rankings:

 

  1. Resident Evil
  2. Resident Evil: Apocalypse

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