Written by Paul W.S. Anderson and directed by Russell Mulcahy, the second sequel to 2002's RESIDENT EVIL, a horror movie based on a popular video game series inspired by a horror movie (George Romero's 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) suggests that between flesh-eating zombies and soulless corporate drones, the undead may be the lesser of two evils.
Once upon a time, a badass beauty named Alice (Milla Jovovich) tumbled down a rabbit hole and into the Hive, a top-secret underground research facility maintained by the Umbrella Group, a super-corporation with all sorts of secrets. Umbrella's science division accidentally unleashed the T-virus, a bioengineered microorganism that turns human beings into cannibal zombies, then tried to cover up the mishap and contain the inevitable plague of zombies, skinless undead Dobermans and mutant monsters with killer tongues before anyone noticed. Their efforts failed and now, less than a year later, the walking dead outnumber the living and the T-virus has poisoned the Earth itself, drying up lakes and turning fertile soil into barren sand. The Umbrella corporation's elite have taken refuge in the company's extensive underground complexes, where amoral Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) is developing a serum that will domesticate the undead – not make them human again, of course, but dampen their blood lust and reawaken their basic motor skills so they can do the heavy lifting of rebuilding society. Aboveground, a resourceful handful of civilian survivors – including Alice, whose blood may hold the key to taming the T-virus –scrounge for food and gasoline, always on the move and always looking over their shoulders – the dead are never far behind. Alice, haunted by her experiences at the hands of Umbrella Corps' mad doctors, uncovers tantalizing evidence that there may be a virus-free oasis in Alaska and joins forces with Clare Redfield (Ali Larter, of TV's Heroes) to lead a small convoy of survivors, including Alice's old comrades-in-arms Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps), to what may be the last safe place in a blasted world. All they have to do is get past shrieking undead crows, shambling zombies and the remorseless minions of Umbrella Corporation.
Equal parts MAD MAX (1985) and DAY OF THE DEAD (1985), this third and supposedly final entry in the RESIDENT EVIL franchise is no less derivative than its predecessors but moves along at a brisk clip. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh