Now we get to the first of many 'Resident Evil' sequels, each written, but not necessarily directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. This was one chapter in the series that wasn't directed by him, but rather Alexander Witt; a man known best as a director of photography. This was his directorial debut, and in some ways it shows. Although a lot of the cinematography is pretty solid, this was a noisy flick, had its share of lame cliches, and the acting was pretty stiff from a few of the side characters. This also feels like a sort of "bridge" movie, setting up for a lot of what's to come. So the other 'RE' films just feel like a little more that this one.
Alice (Milla Jovovich) recaps the last film, recapping her fight to escape an underground research facility known as "The Hive". She and others had to battle their way through zombies, created by something called the T-Virus, created by a pharmaceutical company called Umbrella who dabble in underground bio weaponry. As the film ends, she and other survivor, Matt (Eric Mabius) are taken away by Umbrella to be experimented on. Matt goes into the "Nemesis Program", and Alice wakes up with her story being a mystery. She walks out of the lab to a ruined Raccoon City, but she cocks a rifle signifying that she's ready for the sequel - which is exactly where things pick up.
Meanwhile, Umbrella accidentally releases the zombie outbreak in their attempt to figure out what happened in the Hive. Soon, Raccoon City is taken over, and Umbrella puts it into quarantine, with only one way in or out of the city. They also extract vital personnel, including Angela Ashford (Sophie Vavasseur); daughter of T-Virus creator, Dr. Charles Ashford (Jared Harris) and inspiration for the Red Queen in the previous film. She is involved in a collision during her extraction, however, and Charles chooses to stay and try to find his daughter who may or may not still be alive. Upon Alice waking up, she ends up searching for him to see if he can help.
Meanwhile again, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) returns to her former STARS (Special Tactics And Rescue Squad) precinct to get her fellow officers to evacuate the city. Eventually things lead to her meeting Alice, along with mercenary Carlos Oliviera (Oded Fehr) to give the audience a bit more game familiarity, but it ultimately ends up being a matter of finding and rescuing Angela, and uncovering some more truth behind what Umbrella did to her back at that lab. All the while, they have to duck and dodge zombies (they come in dog form here too), and something a man named Major Cane (Thomas Kretschmann) came up with - a sort of tank zombie called "Nemesis" (referring back to Matt).
No matter what we all feel about the 'Resident Evil' films, it seems somewhat unanimous that this one is probably the lowest ranking of the bunch. I would have to say that I would probably agree, but I don't think it's hot garbage like so many others do. It's certainly not without some problems, like bad acting here and there, and sometimes being a bit of a jumbled mess, but I thought there were a few things to appreciate about it. I liked that the outbreak was still contained within Raccoon City here (for a while), so there were still a few real world things going on like news broadcasts. Also, whether or not I know anything about what Nemesis is, I have to say the creature effects on him were pretty awesome.
One thing I can say for certain is that as far as the 'Resident Evil' movies I have seen go, this has been the most forgettable. At the very least, the other films have a scene or two that have really stood out for me, but the only thing I ever remember from this is Nemesis because I appreciated how good he looked. Whether or not they got the character right is anther story - I have no idea, really. But again, these are extremely objective reviews, seeing them as their own branch of 'Resident Evil'. Overall, I probably would claim this to be the weakest chapter in the series, considering it doesn't offer too much other than names for game recognition and attempts at fan service. But it could have been worse.