Director: Alexander Witt
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Oded Fehr, Thomas Kretschmann, Mike Epps, Sandrine Poulter, Jared Harris
Plot: Alice wakes up from a medical experiment to find Raccoon City has been overrun by the zombies she thought she defeated.
I am a fan of the Resident Evil films, but admittedly, the second film makes it a little harder to defend my respect for them.
We pick up the action instantly from the last movie. The two remaining survivors, Alice and Matt, were captured by the Umbrella Corporation and when Alice comes to a medical lab, alone, she finds that the zombies have been unleashed on the city. Raccoon City hits lockdown, the mysterious government figures leaving the civilians to fend for themselves, and everyone struggles to survive the zombie attack. Alice finds a way out on a potential helicopter extractation, but in order to discover its location, she is blackmailed into finding the daughter of the manipulated scientist who created the T-Virus. To make matters worse, the Umbrella corporation have created the perfect killing machine, the Nemesis, and decide the best way to test out its prowess is to send it after the single survivor of the zombie outbreak, Alice.
Apparently, fans of the Resident Evil games didn’t like the first, as it was a little generic as a zombie movie. Therefore, the sequel is pretty much all action, very little horror. Basically, almost everything I loved about the first has been stripped away for the simple fun of seeing highly-trained military agents karate chop the undead. Everyone gets an intricate knowledge of Kung Fu that stretches your belief in what you see, and all of these elements are thrown together into a great, big fight. This film does feel like a love letter to the games. It follows the story of the second game with the Nemesis from the third. It even introduces Jill Valentine, the lead hero from the gaming franchise, although she becomes my biggest problem with the movie. Sienna Guillory doesn’t do a bad job, but her addition to the movie is simply a crowd-pleaser. She could have easily been removed and we would have still had the same finished product for a movie. All we get from her character is two female bad-asses competing for the top spot, which doesn’t really work.
There are moments that shine through the mundane. The church battle with the Lickers (they need to make a comeback in the movies) is terrifically thrilling and exactly what I wanted from the entire film. The addition of zombie school-children is a good one and gives us the best kill in the entire movie, but they are short-lived. The rest is just simple action. It feels very bland, even messing up the final fight with the Nemesis. Thomas Kretschmann is a little bland as a villain, probably the most boring in the entire movie franchise. His plan is daft, makes very little sense and I am not sure why he is even present to see the Nemesis take on Alice. He risks his life (they are dropping a nuclear bomb on the area moments later), for very little reason, especially as the Umbrella Corporation are meant to have cameras everywhere. Maybe we should have been introduced to a shadowy figure watching from afar, maybe complete with blond hair and black sunglasses.
I quite like this theme of the next movie being set up in the final five minutes. Even when you are demoralised by what you’ve seen, the pure awesomeness of the cliff-hanger restores your faith in what you have seen. We are introduced to the next film’s creepy villain (Iain Glen going melodramatic and larger than life), Alice gets even more complex as a heroine and the third film promises to be much better than this one. However, future promises hardly save a film, leaving my opinion of the second Resident Evil mostly criticisms.
Final Verdict: A poor addition to the Resident Evil franchise, becoming little more than an excuse to see some martial arts and boring zombies.