Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Blu-ray) (2004)
Audio Commentary-x 3
Featurette-Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Alexander Witt|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Matthew G. Taylor
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Linear PCM 48/24 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Linear PCM 48/24 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Linear PCM 48/24 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In recent years the zombie-movie genre has been successfully re-animated, with the likes of 28 Days Later, Doom, Quarantine, Planet Terror, and Dawn of the Dead. Some of these films have been commercially, and even critically successful, others less so. The Resident Evil films are probably the stand-out success story of the lot. The original film was released in 2002, and the sixth, Resident Evil: Afterlife, is due next year. This review is of the first sequel, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which was released some time ago on Blu-ray. As with any movie based on a video game, don't expect any subtlety. That noted, this movie has some of the coolest scenes I've seen since the original Matrix film.
"My name is Alice, and I remember everything".
Apocalypse opens with a quick recap of the first film, and then picks up the story where that one ended. As a sequel, the producers seem to have decided that character development was not required in a movie aimed squarely at a target market of young men, who (like me) have spent their adult life happily blasting away on first-person-shooter video games.
As for the story: Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up from heavy sedation in the underground Umbrella labs to find that she has been genetically modified to gain superhuman abilities. Meanwhile, above ground, Raccoon City has been quarantined and closed off, as it has been overrun by flesh-eating zombies (I wonder if there are any vegetarian zombies?) BTW: Is it my imagination, or wasn't Raccoon City destroyed in the first film?
Anyway, Alice quickly arms herself in a military surplus store and teams up with a few human survivors, including the very Lara Croft-like Jill Valentine. Along the way, they pick up a stereotyped ghetto-wise-cracker for some comic relief, and begin their search for a little girl who could be their ticket out of the city. There's a lot of posing, posturing, and cocking of shotguns. It's a bit like Escape From NY meets Dawn Of The Dead.
Paul W.S. Anderson has made a career bringing computer games to the big screen. Anderson directed Mortal Kombat, and wrote and directed both Resident Evil and AVP: Alien v Predator. He also wrote and produced Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Resident Evil: Extinction, and Death Race. He is currently writing and producing the sixth instalment of Resident Evil, titled Resident Evil: Afterlife (to be released next year). For this film, Apocalypse, he has vacated the director's chair for Alexander Witt.
Witt is known as the king of Hollywood's second-unit directors, and he has directed action sequences for many films, including Speed, Twister, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, The Bourne Identity, xXx, The Italian Job, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Witt is certainly no stranger to the action movie, and he expertly provides a series of highly stylised, blood-spattered set pieces that all come at a breakneck pace. Interestingly, Resident Evil: Apocalypse remains the only film he ever directed, as Witt chose to return to being a second-unit director after this film, working on movies such as Aeon Flux, Casino Royale, and American Gangster.
This is not a film for Academy Voters or Pseudo-Intellectuals - enjoy it for the mindless zombie-fun that it is.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse was mastered in 2007 using 1920 x 1080p, using the old MPEG-2 compression. The High Definition transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in a native 16x9 frame. This is the film's original theatrical ratio.
The sharpness, black level, and shadow detail are all good. Sadly, some of the CGI work looks a little soft in comparison, but overall this is a great picture, albeit not of reference quality. The colour is also great, and the film uses coloured lens extensively to help create the various moods. The skin tones are accurate. There are no problems with MPEG or film artefacts.
19 subtitle streams are present, and the English subtitles are accurate to the spoken word.
This is a BD-50 (50 GB Blu-ray disc), with the feature divided into 16 chapters.
The quality of the audio is also great, although at times the explosive effects and heavy music creates an aural bombardment. Apocalypse's cacophony comes with the following options: English Uncompressed PCM 5.1 Surround, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Italian Uncompressed PCM 5.1 Surround, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Spanish Uncompressed PCM 5.1 Surround, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.
The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.
The musical score is credited to Jeff Danna, with additional music by Elia Cmiral. The heavy, techno-flavoured music really suits the film and grungy mood.
The uncompressed PCM 5.1 surround mix is still one of the most aggressive PCM 5.1 surround sound experiences of recent years. The surround activity is as unrelenting as the action, and the rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score and to provide ambience. There is also a great deal of panning between the speakers, which helps create a very immersive listening experience.
The subwoofer is also hammered throughout, such as during the film's many explosions.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a number of extras included on this 50 GB Blu-ray disc, all ported from the original DVD release. The Outtakes, Apocalypse Trailers, and Poster Gallery extras included on the DVD release are missing, but four Blu-ray trailers have been added.
A simple menu structure which can be accessed while the film continues to play.
A screen-specific commentary provided by Director Alexander Witt, Producer Jeremy Bolt, and Executive Producer Robert Kulzer.
A screen-specific commentary provided by actors Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, and Sienna Guillory. Jovovich becomes a bit annoying, as do Hehr's continued attempts to be funny.
Audio Commentary-Writer And Producer
A screen-specific commentary provided by writer/producer Paul WS Anderson, and Producer Jeremy Bolt.
Featurette-Game Over: Resident Evil Reanimated (49:44)
Presented in standard definition, in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, the cast and crew provide an overview to the production of the sequel.
Also presented in standard definition, in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio:
Deleted Scenes (12:02)
Presented in standard definition, in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, there are 19 deleted scenes, and one alternative ending.
Sony's Blu-Wizard has been added, which allows fans of the film to create playlists and customise how they are viewed.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
This Blu-ray is zoned for all three regions.
Okay, so there are plot holes an entire zombie army could march through, but Apocalypse has plenty of action, hot chicks with guns, hungry flesh-eaters, and enough action scenes to please its target audience. The Resident Evil films are not just for fans, nor just for those who have played the games. They are also easily accessible for those who might be zombie-curious.
The video quality is good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are ported from the DVD.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Samsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)|