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Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Making a narrative out of a video game is a hard business, and so far Paul W.S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil) has had the best success rate. A dubious aptitude if there ever was one, Anderson was too busy working on his comic book adaptation Alien vs. Predator to direct the sequel to his zombie horror film hit Evil, so he wrote the script and got Alexander Witt, best known for his work as a second-unit director, to helm it. And if ever a film felt like it was made up of second-unit footage, it's 2004's Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Milla Jovovich returns as Alice, the sole survivor of the first film. When Raccoon City is abandoned by the evil Umbrella Corporation, Alice teams up with non-zombies Jill Valentine (Sierra Guillory, forced to wear a Lara Croftian tube top and skirt throughout) and Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) to try and find safe haven in a town run over by the undead. They're offered a bargain by scientist Dr. Ashford (Jared Harris): If they find his still-alive daughter Angie (Sophie Vavasseur), he'll find them a way out before the entire city is nuked. What they don't know is that Major Cain (Thomas Kretschmann) has sent in "Nemesis," a mutant zombie who knows how to use weaponry and is the Umbrella Corporation's new secret weapon. More of an action film than a horror entry, Apocalypse is the sort of bad film that is most entertaining when it's at its most completely and totally incoherent. For instance, at one point Alice provides one of cinema's more ludicrous deus ex machinas when she crashes through a church window to save Jill and one of her coworkers without knowing they might actually be there. Subsequent silliness has the main characters taking a short cut through a cemetery (during a zombie crisis), while another instance has Alice appearing on top of building simply so she can kick a sniper's butt and then rappel down the side of a building to kick more hiney (how she got to the top without anyone noticing is not exactly important, because, well… it looks cool). Uninspired and routine at its worst, the only saving grace of the movie is that it's not pretentious and it's not boring — the action is kept frequent. Columbia TriStar presents Resident Evil: Apocalypse in both anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and pan-and-scan transfers with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. A two-disc set, the first disc comes with three audio commentaries, the first with director Witt, producer Jeremy Bolt, and executive producer Robert Kulzer; the second with actors Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, and Sienna Guillory; and the third with Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt again. Disc Two features "Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated," a 50-minute featurette broken up into six sections, and then three additional featurettes: "Game Babes" (11 min.), the effects collage "Symphony of Evil" (8 min.), and "Corporate Malfeasance" (3 min.) on the faux Umbrella Corporation. There's also 20 deleted scenes (12 min.), outtakes (3 min.), poster designs, and trailers for this and other barely related genre films. Dual DVD slimline keep-case with plastic slipcover.

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