Just rented Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I loved the first one.
Indeed on rewatching the original Resident Evil the other day (to prep for the sequel!) I realized just how much it moved me: on rewatching the original, every scene moved more quickly than I’d remembered it. I suspect that effect has to do with how much detail your brain was recording the first time ’round — my theory is that if you are really interested in a film then you record so much that in a subjective sense even a fast paced film like RE seems epic.
Anyway, the sequel wasn’t so epic.
I tried to quiet my internal monologue the moment I noticed that the film seemed to lack the style of the first one, but before I could silence it I observed that they seemed to be introducing another female lead character without good cause.
I realized the cause appeared to be simply because back when it came time to write the script, they were probably worried they wouldn’t be able to get Milla back for the sequel, so they wrote up a storyline that didn’t need her character. But they did get Milla back (and for good cause: she’s the balls). So they ended up with two female leads, and the film remained fractured from that initial mistake onward. The filmmakers, having been unable to determine who to focus on, ended up with a film in which there was no one to relate to.
When “generic seven foot tall comic-book supervillain” showed up it was clear that this film was firmly aiming for “Let’s Suck!”.
The film played out like a cross between Escape from New York and an episode from the subpar seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I can’t forgive the filmmakers for making Milla’s character so unhuman. I don’t mean in a DNA way, I mean in making her so difficult to connect with. She was the spirit of the first film but for this second one she was just some generic muscle. “Hey, why don’t I hope over this fence and fight this cartoon character for no apparent reason?” It’s a shame really.
I expected, naively I guess, that a sequel to a highly praised film like RE (it was praised, wasn’t it? It deserved to be!) would mean that they’d make a sequel as good or better. I was not prepared for the old school method of “let’s ride on the coattails of the first film by making a low budget film that sucks, and hope no one notices the drop in quality!” I feel betrayed. I bet the actors (MJ) feel betrayed. This film series could be redeemed by a third film, but only if they bring in someone like Alex Proyas to do the honors.