Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a 2004 science-fiction action horror film directed by Alexander Witt, from a screenplay written by producer Paul W. S. Anderson. It is the second installment in the Resident Evil film series, which is based on the Capcom survival horror video game series Resident Evil.
Borrowing elements from the video games Resident Evil 2, 3: Nemesis, and Code: Veronica, Resident Evil: Apocalypse follows heroine Alice, who has escaped the underground Umbrella facility, who must band with other survivors including Jill Valentine and escape Raccoon City alive.
The film opened to theaters on September 10, 2004. On a budget of $40 million, the film grossed $51 million domestically and $129 million worldwide, surpassing the box office gross of the previous installment. Resident Evil: Apocalypse received mostly negative reviews from critics, praising the action sequences but criticizing the plot. The film was released to DVD on December 28, 2004.
On September 29, thirteen hours after the initial t-Virus outbreak in The Hive, the Umbrella Corporation sent a research team to re-open the complex. As the team entered The Hive through a secret insertion point beneath Raccoon City, the entire team was slaughtered by zombies and lickers who had been sealed within the complex. Realizing the entrance was now open, and the virus and infectious zombies will make their way to the surface, Umbrella established a security perimeter around the city to keep the citizens in a quarantined area.
When Alice and Matt was abducted by Umbrella scientists, Alice was injected by a t-virus which bonded her blood on a cellular level and gained a superhuman powers.
As the civilians reached the checkpoints, Umbrella operatives screen them for traces of any t-Virus infection, until Major Timothy Cain, orders all checkpoints to be closed, as the t-Virus infection already reached the gates, and informed the remaining citizens to return to their homes. No one responded to the order, and the military threatened them after hoaxing a shoot-out.
Elsewhere, Umbrella soldiers Carlos Olivera, Nicholai Ginovaef and Yuri Loginova linked up with multiple Special Tactics and Rescue Service units in an attempt to hold against an onslaught of zombies in the street. However they were overrun, causing Carlos and his team to fall back with an infected Yuri who was bitten during the battle. Jill Valentine, a S.T.A.R.S. unit member, together with Terri Morales and an infected Peyton Wells retreated to a church, where they were attacked by Lickers before being saved by Alice. In the church it is revealed that Terri Morales was recording their encounters with the zombies and other monsters in case they survive the outbreak. Yuri had already turned into a zombie and bit Carlos, causing him infected. Carlos and Nicholai shoot him.
When the t-Virus infection reached critical stages, Umbrella dispatched Matt being a Nemesis program to kill all remaining S.T.A.R.S. operatives. Dr. Charles Ashford, a key Umbrella scientist and creator of the t-Virus, had refused extraction by Umbrella until he had located and rescued his daughter Angela. As he hacked into Raccoon City's network of closed circuit cameras, he determined she was hiding in her school and contacted Alice and her group. He informed them that Umbrella's method of sanitizing Raccoon City was by nuking it, but he offered to arrange for an evacuation in exchange for rescuing Angela.
When they were proceeding to the school, they have encountered Nemesis which killed Peyton. Alice fought Nemesis while Jill and Terri ran away. Alice got trouble fighting Nemesis and ran away from it instead.
Jill and Terri proceeded to the school where they have encountered L.J., a civilian. They got into the school and went to find Angela into a separate way. L.J. encountered Carlos, who have also been given the same offer, while Terri was attacked by a zombified students and got killed. Jill found Angela and encountered several zombie dogs where they were saved by Nicholai. Nicholai then got killed by two of the zombie dogs and Jill and Angela was then saved by Alice from the two zombie dogs. Angela revealed that she was injected with the t-virus and Alice revealed hers as well. Alice then injected Carlos with the anti-virus to save him.
When contacted by Alice about their success, Ashford gave them the location of the extraction point, and told them that it was lightly guarded. After subduing all of the guards, Alice and the other survivors are confronted by Major Cain. Cain had been aware of Ashford's plan, captured him, and finally killed him, forcing Alice to fight Nemesis for her friends' safety. As she defeated Nemesis in hand-to-hand combat, she realized his true identity which was Matt Addison and refused to deliver the killing blow. Her mercy appeared to rekindle a trace of Nemesis's former humanity, and they joined forces and attacked the Umbrella troops. Nemesis was killed in the ensuing fight, and Alice and the others escaped in the helicopter, Major Cain attempted to board the helicopter but Alice threw him off. Major Cain picked up a pistol and fired it into the rapidly growing crowd of approaching zombies several times, then tried to kill himself with the pistol, only to find that it was out of bullets. He was eaten alive by the rest of the zombies, along with zombified Dr. Ashford being the first to get to him.
On September 30, The N-2 Missile flied above Raccoon City, reaching the towers, and then obliterated the whole city. The helicopter was caught in the blast radius, the shock wave dislodged a piece of metal that hurtled towards Angela. Alice lept in front of her and was impaled by it. The helicopter then crashed into the Arklay Mountains. Alice was recovered by Umbrella, but the rest of the occupants escaped before the crash site was located. Terri's video was recovered and released, and flashes of news scenes appeared. At first the scenes showed a public suspicious of Umbrella, but it was soon revealed that Umbrella hushed up the incident, saying it was nothing more than a sick joke playing on the accident at Raccoon City. Umbrella explained the nuclear explosion on a failed reactor, and by the end of the series of news clips, Terri's video seems to have been regarded as a hoax, and those featured in it are called in by the police for questioning.
Alice was taken to an Umbrella research station, where, after several weeks, she awakened in a water tank, completely regenerated from her injuries. Led by Umbrella scientist Dr. Isaacs, the doctors query her. At first, she appeared to have no memory, but soon regained her memory. She fought her way out of the facility showing some of her darkest powers yet, only to be surrounded by dozens of armed guards. Suddenly, Jill, Carlos and L.J., disguised as Umbrella employees, pulled up in an SUV. Carlos showed the guards a written order placing Alice in his custody. The guards stand down, and as Alice entered the waiting vehicle she saw Angela at the back seat. The group simply drove away and Dr. Isaacs announced that the Program Alice was activated.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse was first discussed by Milla Jovovich and Paul W. S. Anderson while promoting Resident Evil (2002). Anderson stated that he began writing the screenplay for the second film after completing the first. He revealed an idea to have Jill Valentine meeting up with Alice, however this idea was scrapped as he wanted two separate stories occurring at the same time. Anderson mentioned the film would go ahead if the first film was a success and promised that "the sequel will be even better", stating that "there is more of the story to be told." The sequel was officially greenlit by Sony in mid 2002, however Anderson chose not to direct but rather stay on as the film's producer and writer due to commitments to Alien vs. Predator (2004).
Alexander Witt was hired by Sony to direct the sequel. Milla Jovovich confirmed her character would return in the sequel if the first film was successful, and when the film was greenlit, Jovovich officially signed on. In March 2002, Eric Mabius, confirmed the story would revolve around his character becoming Nemesis. He also revealed he would portray the character and study his movements whilst playing Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, however before production began he pulled out and Matthew G. Taylor was cast as Nemesis. It was reported that Gina Philips would appear as Claire Redfield and Natasha Henstridge as Jill Valentine, however both actresses left before production began. Sienna Guillory was cast to portray Jill Valentine and Oded Fehr was cast as Carlos Olivera, while Claire Redfield's role was scrapped after Emily Bergl dropped the role. The role was later offered to Ali Larter in the film's sequel Extinction (2007). Jason Isaacs was originally intended to return and portray Dr. William Birkin, however passed on the role and the character's name was changed to Dr. Isaacs, with Iain Glen being cast in the role.
Jack Noseworthy was originally rumored to portray Brad Vickers, however, this was later revealed as a rumor. Two weeks before production began, Jared Harris was cast as a new character called Dr. Ashford who developed and produced the T-virus.
In March 2002, it was revealed that the film borrowed plot elements from Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, as the film's subtitle was revealed asResident Evil: Nemesis. It was also revealed that the film included new characters from the video game series, such as Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Carlos Olivera, Dr. William Birkin and Nemesis. In April 2003, it was confirmed that the story began minutes after the end of the first film, where Alice is a survivor amongst the ruins of Raccoon City.
The film borrowed numerous elements from the game series, including re-enactments of certain scenes, such as Alice running through a building with an Umbrella helicopter firing at her, up to the point where she drops her gun, falls, re-grabs it and fires, which is reminiscent of the introductory cutscene of Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Another scene where Raccoon City is overrun by zombies and the police and Umbrella mercenaries are fighting back is reminiscent of the introduction of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Other scenes involve the launching a missile to destroy Raccoon City and the attack at the graveyard.
The film references Resident Evil, with the crash site of the helicopter being located in the Arklay Forest near the Arklay Mountains, where the Resident Evil series began. Other similarities include Jill's moves from the first game. The recording of Terri's death is similar to Kenneth's death. A white goddess statue can be seen in the church, with artwork of goddesses having a large role in the puzzles of the Resident Evil series. Whilst walking on the Arklay Overpass, Jill speculates that there is no way out, and that Ashford may just be watching them on the cameras, as if the whole thing were some sort of sick game. The games use a fixed camera perspective, which in most of the earlier games resembles a mounted camera's perspective. Another similarity includes a scene where Jill finds a gun under a pew, mirroring the game when the player finds ammunition or weapons in certain areas.
The film references Resident Evil 2 when Alice visits the gun shop which is similar to Kendo's Gun Shop. Angela Ashford's character is based on Sherry Birkin, as they are both children, dressed in school uniforms, and in need of rescue. Both of their fathers are also researchers working for Umbrella. The Ashford name comes from the founders of Umbrella revealed in Resident Evil Code: Veronica. The film also references Resident Evil 3: Nemesis with Jill wearing the same outfit. Nemesis is a character taken directly from the game, and the "STARS" are mentioned on numerous occasions.
Actors portraying zombies were trained at a zombie "boot camp" where they were coached to act as "zen" zombies and "liquid" zombies. Anderson and other crew members intended to make the zombies move faster but decided that it would be breaking a fundamental element of the games. The design for Nemesis was to include an actor in a suit (Matthew G. Taylor) with only special effects applied to certain parts of the character's body, such as the eye. The Lickerswere fully computer-generated, though the use of physical puppets was originally considered. To avert issues faced during production, the CGI work of the Lickers began early. The film was filmed on location in Canada, with the film entering pre-production stages in mid 2003. Principal photography was slated to originally begin in July 2003, before being bumped up to August 6, 2003.
The film was shot in Ontario, Canada, with Toronto and its surrounding suburbs being a stand-in for Raccoon City. Toronto City Hall and Exhibition Place (namely the National Trade Centre) were used as Umbrella's worldwide headquarters, while the logos of Canada's largest banks feature prominently in the skyline shots of the city, and the Prince Edward Viaduct was used to represent Ravens' Gate. It was originally feared that production would be shut down due to the2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto; however, production resumed, with filming ending in October 2003. The film was also shot at the Hamilton Cemetery in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Marketing and release
The film was planned for an October 31, 2003 release, although was pushed back to September 10, 2004 due to the 2003 SARS outbreak. In late 2003, a teaser trailer was released titled Regenerate and was directed by Marcus Nispel. The preview was noted for being reminiscent of the Olay product Regeneristadvertisements and can be viewed in RealMedia and Windows Media formats. In May 2004 it was revealed the trailer would actually be part of the film. Milla Jovovich's official website later released promotional images that showed Alice in several scenes from the film.
The theatrical trailer was released on Yahoo! Movies on July 7, 2004 and prior to the film's release, two albums for Resident Evil: Apocalypse were released. The first was the soundtrack which was released August 31, 2004 and featured music from the film. The second was the film's score, which was released in late 2004 and was composed by Jeff Danna and performed by the London Philharmonia Orchestra. A day before the film's release, numerous props from the film were auctioned on the website Premiere Props. The film opened at number one in North America on September 10, 2004 and received an estimated $23.7 million on its opening weekend and $129,394,835 worldwide.
A novelization written by Keith R. A. DeCandido was published by Pocket Star on August 31, 2004. The novel is 288 pages long. DeCandido also wrote the novelizations for the first and third films.
Leonard Maltin rated the film a "BOMB" in his book Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, and called it a "Tiresome follow-up to Resident Evil that plays more like a remake." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a score of half a star out of four, saying: "The movie is an utterly meaningless waste of time. There was no reason to produce it, except to make money, and there is no reason to see it, except to spend money. It is a dead zone, a film without interest, wit, imagination or even entertaining violence and special effects. [...] Parents: If you encounter teenagers who say they liked this movie, do not let them date your children."
Dave Kehr of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying: "Anderson's screenplay provides a steady series of inventive action situations, and the director, Alexander Witt, makes the most of them. His work is fast, funny, smart and highly satisfying in terms of visceral impact." M. E. Russell of The Oregonian said: "The bad news? The movie is monumentally stupid. The good news? It's a fun kind of stupid." Nathan Rabin of A.V. Club said that the film "takes too long to get going to qualify unequivocally as a good movie, but when Jovovich finally starts kicking zombified ass, it becomes good enough."
Gregory Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly praised Jovovich but felt that "the rest of the cast is strictly straight-to-DVD." Ben Kenigsberg of The Village Voicesaid the film is "not without its moments of elemental dread [but] also obviously padded, too long on action, and painfully short on irony. The satirical element still packs a minor jolt." Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer said that "those who want something more substantial from a movie than a vid-game script with centerfold appeal will not find it in this noisy, bone-crushing survivalist flick."
In 2009, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video games movies. It is understood, according to the DVD extras of Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), that Paul W. S. Anderson, the director of the first film and writer of the series, was critical of director Alexander Witt's work.
|31st Saturn Awards||Best Make-Up||Paul Jones||Nominated|
|Directors Guild of Canada Awards||Best Sound Editing-Feature Film||Kevin Banks, Stephen Barden, Joe Bracciale, Lee de Lang, Craig Henighan, Jill Purdy, Nathan Robitaille||Nominated|
|25th Genie Awards||Best Sound Editing||Craig Henighan, Steve Baine, Stephen Barden, Tony Lewis, Jill Purdy, Nathan Robitaille||Won|
|Golden Reel Award||Paul W. S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody||Won|
|Best Overall Sound||Dean Humphreys, Todd Beckett, David Lee||Nominated|
The film was released on DVD in North America on December 28, 2004. Releases on UMD and Blu-ray Disc formats followed on April 19, 2005 and January 16, 2007, respectively. The film was released in Australia and New Zealand on March 16, 2005 and February 2005 in UK. The release included an audio commentary by the director Alexander Witt, producer Paul W. S. Anderson, and actress Milla Jovovich. The release included 20 deleted scenes with numerous outtakes and a featurette titled "Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated". 6 other featurettes were included which covered behind the scenes of the film's production. The blooper reel included on the DVD edition is not included on the Blu-ray edition of the film.
Special "Resurrection Editions" of both Resident Evil (2002) and Resident Evil: Apocalypse were released in a two-disc set on September 4, 2007. An exclusive sneak peek scene for Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) was included, along with several other bonus features including "Diary of an Apocalypse" and "The Evolution of Resident Evil: Bridge to Extinction".