Paul WS Anderson is, by reputation, a nice guy. He probably loves his family, pays his taxes, tips generously and never double-parks. Let's assume, for argument's sake, he's an all-round beautiful human being, a paragon of such unimpeachable virtue that he makes Santa look like Charles Manson. And yet his pictures are so soul-sappingly soporific they leave you feeling physical assault is a reasonable form of artistic criticism.
Apocalypse may be slightly inferior to Resident Evil. In the original, Anderson wrote a functional script with a couple of potentially exciting set-pieces and screwed it up through his spectacularly hollow direction. Here, helmer Alexander Witt shows a bit more skill behind the camera than his predecessor. Anderson's script, though, is much, much worse.
Abiding by the maxim that sequels should be bigger (if not necessarily better) than their predecessors, Anderson ups the Lara Croft clones to two. Thus we find Milla Jovovich, as photogenic and bored as ever, joined by Sienna Guillory, utterly helpless as a tough-chick cop who oscillates between hard-ass and jellyhead depending on how many random words Anderson needs to bump up the page count.
There's also a risible, wart-headed beastie with a machine-gun - - a bugger to kill in the videogame - - whose genetic provenance is pitifully obvious; also along for the ride are the requisite funny black guy (Mike Epps) and a little girl who might as well be Newt from Aliens (Sophie Vavasseur). Curiously, they all sound the same. Given the relentless, primal nature of the walking dead, this might be a knowing comment on the insignificance of the individual. Somehow, though, we doubt it.
Which brings us to the zombies, relegated here to a background nuisance; easy to kill and easier to ignore, dispatched in wham-bam action sequences with the minimum amount of gore. This isn't a zombie movie, it's a corpse. And in the year of the excellent Shaun and Dawn Of The Dead, its cynical exploitation of an avid fanbase seems even more offensive than last time. In Jovovich's words: ""We thought we had survived the horror". We were wrong."
Tedious and inept in marginally different ways to the original, this zombie drone is soulless and scare-free. Someone bury this franchise.