In an era of resurgent zombie-flick creativity that has seen the likes of "28 Days Later" and this year's "Dawn of the Dead" remake, the leaden mindlessness of "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" is nothing short of pathetic.
Having burned through most vague ties to its videogame roots in the unwatchable first "Resident Evil" -- an inept, logic-impaired, plotless wonder of unmitigated noise, cheap scares and endless ammunition -- this sequel begins with the biggest opening-scene cliché in all zombiedom: a quiet day in the suburbs where chaos will soon reign.
Underneath this blissful berg (which returning writer Paul W.S. Anderson seems to have forgotten he showed destroyed in Part One) is the lab where the global-evil Umbrella Corporation's virus experiments went so very wrong back in 2002. Foolishly re-opened to learn "what went on down there," out pours an army of the undead, and apparently there are only two people who really know how to fight them -- slinky, half-naked, heavily-armed 105-lb. hotties Milla Jovovich (the original movie's survivor) and Sienna Guillory ("Love Actually").
Devoid of personalities but always ready to mow down or kung-fu kick any hoards of loping flesh-chompers coming their way, they join forces, during a shootout with genetically engineered uber-zombies, when Jovovich (who has just emerged from a coma) jumps a motorcycle through an abandoned church's stained-glass window for no apparent reason.
Offered a way out of the now locked-down city if they rescue an Umbrella scientist's little girl, the tough chicks and their crews of expendable extras are soon racing against the clock too, since the crooked corporation is going to nuke the place at dawn -- and, in one of the movie's many impossibly stupid and nonsensical plot defects, "make it look like an accident."
Overflowing with off-the-shelf action-hack staples (gratuitous slow-motion, catch phrases punctuated by cocking a shotgun), burdened by tiresome stereotypes (Mike Epps tags along as a token ghetto wisecracker), and directed with an ironic lack of narrative or cinematic sense by former cinematographer Alexander Witt, the only way "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" could look good would be by comparing this limp excuse for an action movie to its wholly inept and unrestrained predecessor. And even that race it would be a photo finish.