This post over at The Cheap Bin inspired me to write up this spiel.
Video games and I don't mix well. Time and again I have a tendency to buy systems, play a few games half-heartedly for a few weeks (usually with cheat codes at the ready), and then let it all languish as a dust collector as I move on to something else. My console investments have ended with the PS3 and that's primarily for its excellent Blu-ray performance. No more.
So I'm not an expert in the slightest in RE mythos, but having experienced the first game years ago I was greatly disappointed in Anderson's movie adaption. It's still baffling as to why those involved decided to completely alter a formula that launched one of the most enduring horror/survival game franchises in history. It's like if Kellogg's discontinued Corn Flakes for a few years and then re-introduced it with the same name but fashioned the actual cereal after Fruit Loops.
Extinction also doesn't sit well with my memory only relaying the scene where decaying crows attack the group's bus...or something. But then there's the middle child, '04's Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I'm not afraid and have no shame in admitting my adamant liking for this part of the (current) trilogy.
It surely has issues many find annoying. An abundance of showy camera tricks paired with frantic editing constructed around a wafer thin story with characters intersecting under the most threadbare circumstances. The first and third films also suffer from these problems, but there's a key difference--an unabashed campy monster flick sensibility. Something any movie with a cumbersome twelve foot tall leatherclad beastie armed to the hilt requires.
The story wastes no time and not fifteen minutes in we're already at city zombie meltdown. The all-too-brief siege sequences are like a dream come true. Many undead flicks, even Dawn of the Dead, have just teased the idea. Land of the Dead accomplishes this, but with far less finesse and soldiers that are more akin to office workers. Apocalypse offers the nearest glimpse of a moonlit undead commando battle in fiery city streets with a style that's ripped from your most awesome of rotting shuffler dreams. This aspect alone nearly commands a pass for the film if it wasn't so damn short. Hopefully the film adaption of World War Z will bring this pain to maximum potential with the Battle of Yonkers sequence.
Milla Jovovich still doesn't quite sell the feminine badass thing, probably from the liquid sex innocence exhibited in The Fifth Element. Thankfully, Sienna Guillory fills the Little Miss Zombo Ball Buster "gap" (innuendo hehe) and looks stunning doing it.
Apocalypse flirts with a few bold concepts unlike its siblings. There's a running undercurrent of suicide solution being the only way out after all else has failed. A priest "feeding" a zombizied loved one flesh. The murder of a reporter by undead school children. A daughter experiencing first hand the cold blooded killing of her father. These things aren't explored to any critical extent, but it's nice seeing them injected quietly into such a brainless B-movie. Also zombie strippers, graveyard kung-fu, explosions, glass shattering, and shiny automatic weapons. Indeed.
In short, sit down with Apocalypse again and try taking it separately from the series. You might find yourself enjoying it more than ever thought. This all being said, I'm not particularly looking forward to an RE4, but the Japanese locale has more potential than a concrete bunker or a shitload of sand.