Synthesizing elements from 2001, Dawn of the Dead, Alien, and even Solaris, the first Resident Evil was a breezy exercise in metakitsch. Jumping from set piece to set piece (and genre to genre) with on-to-the-next-level informality, the movie scanned as a work of unintentional surrealism—and taken that way, it wasn’t bad. Resident Evil: Apocalypse ups the ante with not one but two terminatrices (Milla Jovovich, again, and Sienna Guillory), overtones of Nazism, a dash of Wachowskian bullet-time, and an all-new genetically enhanced slime monster (which looks like a demonic Michelin Man). Not without its moments of elemental dread, Apocalypse is also obviously padded, too long on action, and painfully short on irony. The satirical element still packs a minor jolt: The scene of Umbrella Corp. heavies plastic-cuffing dissidents gains from resonance with recent events.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 7, 2004