Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) Explained

An Average Movie-Goer’s Review

Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post

Resident Evil Apocalypse 2004 Explained Poster

I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.

Today we’re looking at 2004’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse sequel to 2002’s Resident Evil which we also covered and you can read by clicking here.

Following the events of the first Resident Evil film, Alice and a group of survivors attempt to escape Raccoon City while stalked by Nemesis, Umbrella’s latest biological weapon.

Is it Scary?

What? Did you think a movie about a zombie apocalypse was supposed to be scary? Ha! This is Resident Evil: The Paul W. S. Anderson Universe where the W. S. stands for Wasted Scares. This movie is straight action with no scares and attempted jump scares you can see coming a mile away. In case you don’t know, Paul W. S. Anderson is the director for most of the original Resident Evil films and writer for all.

All of our Paul W.S. Anderson Resident Evil Explanations/Reviews:

Related Article: Resident Evil (2002) Explained

Related Article: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) Explained

Related Article: Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) Explained

Related Article: Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) Explained

Related Article: Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) Explained

Detailed Plot:

Last we left our main characters they were all mostly dead leaving just Alice and Matt alive. You can read our full explanation/review of 2002’s Resident Evil here, but here’s a quick summary of the ending that ties into this film.

Before Alice and Matt can leave the mansion, Matt’s scratch from the Licker begins to mutate and a group in hazmat suits captures them. We hear Matt is being placed into the Nemesis program and Alice is sent to a different facility for some kind of testing.

Sometime later Alice wakes up in the now abandoned facility, removes a bunch of needles, and steps outside to find Raccoon City decimated.

Raccoon City in Resident Evil Apocalypse 2004
This is how it ended

Resident Evil: Apocalypse opens with Alice (played by Milla Jovovich) giving us a brief recap of the previous movie. We then cut to Raccoon City where all appears normal, which means this must take place prior to the first movie’s ending.

Under the city, a hazmat-wearing group of Umbrella operatives re-open the Hive which is Umbrella’s underground facility where the outbreak started. To be clear, this group fully knew the T-virus was let loose and that there were bio-weapons since they are using a T-Virus tracker that is literally tracking zombie movements. Despite that, not a single one is carrying a weapon.

Hazmat group makes a big mistake entering the hive
“Hey guys, this might be a stupid question at this point but… why don’t we have guns?”

They are immediately attacked and killed.

We next see a convoy of Umbrella security rushing through the city to pick up high-value employees including wheelchair-bound Dr. Charles Ashford (played by Jared Harris). Realizing he is being evacuated and that it’s never a good thing, Dr. Ashford inquires about his daughter who has already left for school. But, the security detail tell him it’s already taken care of.

At the school we see the young Angie Ashford (played by Sophie Vavasseur) being picked up from junior high school while a bunch of other kids look on. Do these kids or teachers get warned of the incoming danger? Nah, fuck’em.

Angie and her security detail don’t get far though as they are hit by a truck. Their van flips over and we see everyone is dead except for Angie whose hands twitch as we cut to 13 hours later.

They couldn’t send another truck to pick her up for 13 hours?!

We pick up with another main character, Jill Valentine (played by Sienna Guillory) at home and getting changed while we pan across newspaper articles on her wall detailing her suspension from S.T.A.R.S. S.T.A.R.S. is Raccoon City’s elite Special Tactics And Rescue Squad. Why does she have these articles hanging up? To show us she’s a badass.

Jill turns on the tv and we find out the virus has spread throughout the city causing mayhem in the streets. Which… just feels awfully quick, doesn’t it?

Since the infected only recently turned to zombies, they don’t look like traditional zombies and police mistake them for crazed people, arresting them and bringing them to the station.

Just in case you didn’t know how much of a badass Jill Valentine is, she rushes to the police station and opens fire on several zombies. No one shoots her since she’s “Jill Valentine: the badass” but also if they don’t realize the infected are zombies then, to other cops, it looks like Jill just killed a bunch of innocent sick people with precise headshots.

Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine in 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
“Who fucking coughed?”

Jill tells her captain they have to aim for the head but doesn’t say how she knows this. Before she leaves she shoots the handcuffs of Lloyd Jefferson “L.J.” Wade (played by Mike Epps), freeing him. Why? Because he’s another one of our main characters and the attempt at comic relief in this movie. 

If you’ve played the games, you know Jill knows to aim for heads since the events of the original Resident Evil game have already happened by the time the virus reaches the city. But, in the timeline of these movies we don’t know if the mansion incident ever happened. Just some more timeline fuckery this movie is going to do.

We cut to Major Timothy Cain (played by Thomas Kretschmann) and we finally catch up to the ending of the first film as he’s revealed to be the one who wakes Alice up at the facility.

Project Alice? What in the fuck is going on?

In a replay of the ending of Resident Evil, Alice wakes up, removes her needles, and walks out of the facility grabbing a shotgun. She also walks past a newspaper with the headline “THE DEAD WALK” which raises more timeline questions! It hasn’t even been a full day since the zombies appeared, so how often are they printing newspapers in Raccoon City?

By nightfall Umbrella has closed off the entire city except for Raven’s Gate Bridge where Umbrella mercenaries are stationed creating a check point. 

We cut to a women running from a horde of zombies up a building and onto a roof. She’s spotted by our next group of main characters, an umbrella mercenary group in a helicopter led by Carlos Oliviera (played by Oded Fehr), who demands his pilot land so he can help the woman. 

Carlos drops down killing all the zombies on his own because everyone gets a cool intro and tells the woman he can help.

Oded Fehr as Carlos Oliviera in 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
“Did you see my cool action intro? I’m a hero, let me help.”

Unfortunately she reveals she’s been bit and refuses to go along with them. She instead jumps to her death.

Back at Raven’s Gate Bridge hundreds of people have gathered, all attempting to leave the city through the checkpoint. Jill arrives and meets with fellow STARS member Sgt. Peyton Wells (played by Razaaq Adoti). 

In front of them a man drops to the ground and begins convulsing before dying. He immediately turns into a zombie and bites Peyton’s leg. Jill quickly shoots the man in the head eliminating the threat. All of this is watched by the mercenary team above and Major Timothy Cain. Cain then tells his team that the virus is at the gate and orders them shut.

“Alright, fuck’em all.”

Seeing the gates closing, people start rushing them but Major Cain announces that they need to return to their homes. When people refuse he orders the mercenaries to open fire, dispersing the group while also killing a few.

Behind the gates, we see Major Cain advising Dr. Ashford to leave the area and apologizing for not being able to rescue his daughter. Ashford refuses to leave without her and tells Major Cain to do what he must. Ashford then enters a tent and hacks into the city’s security cameras to search for his daughter and any others who could save her..

Back with Alice she enters a store that conveniently has guns and ammo that hasn’t been looted yet. She also finds some clothes to change into. When she’s done she drops to the ground in pain and we something slug-like under her skin sliding up her bicep, meaning she’s infected.

That’s not supposed to look like that…

We cut back to Jill and Peyton who are now traveling around with news reporter Terri Morales (played by Sandrine Holt). I know there are a lot of characters to keep track of but we’re guaranteed to lose a few soon.

Anyway, Terri is documenting everything so she can reveal Umbrella’s atrocities to the outside world and also win an Emmy. You can be selfish and helpful at the same time. The three enter a church and are immediately held at gunpoint by a man who tells them to leave.

Razaaq Adoti, Sienna Guillory, Sandrine Holt as Peyton Wells, Jill Valentine, and Terri Morales in 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
There’s no way all three of these people live till the end.

Cooler heads prevail and the four hunker down in the church. Jill investigates a sound at the back of the church and comes across a priest caring for his zombie sister. By caring for I mean he’s been feeding her the flesh of the dead. Unsurprisingly the sister breaks free and kills the priest. Jill then kills them both. 

The gunshots scare Terri who tries to leave but finds dozens of zombies outside. Peyton and the man help save her and they barricade the door but they hear something else running past them on the ceiling.

Scared, the man runs off and is immediately grabbed and killed by a Licker.

This is why you don’t split up!

Hearing his screams, Jill goes to investigate, finds his gun, his dead body, and meets a Licker. She shoots at it and runs back to the rest of her group who appear to be missing. She’s then pulled into a corner by Peyton who informs her there are three Lickers surrounding them. 

They attempt to escape but are overwhelmed and run out of bullets. Just when the Lickers go in for the kill, Alice runs a motorcycle through a stained glass window because ALL MAIN CHARACTERS NEED COOL INTROS.

She jumps off her motorcycle as it crashes into a Licker causing the Licker and the motorcycle to launch into the air. Who cares about physics when you have literal walking dead. Alice shoots the gas tank causing an explosion and killing one of the Lickers.

“Was that the only Licker cuz I only brought one motorcycle.”

There are two more lickers but Alice easily kills them in less elaborate ways, mainly with shotgun blasts to the face. Jill then asks “who the fuck are you?” instead of saying thanks to the person who singlehandedly killed three Lickers.

We next see a quick scene of L.J running over zombies and yelling “GTA motherfucker” because comedy. He then crashes his car after being distracted by naked zombie strippers because hilarious. 

We cut back to Carlos and his mercenary team working with Raccoon City police to fend off an oncoming swarm and it’s not going well. They are quickly overrun and have to escape through alleyways.

Reminder, this happened in only thirteen hours.

Meanwhile Alice and her group are walking through the cemetery (what happened to all the zombies that were outside?) and Alice realizes Peyton is infected. She coldly recommends they kill him but Jill refuses.

Suddenly they’re attacked by dozens of zombies coming out of the graves. It was nice of them to coordinate their attacks and must have been hard to do it underground. Also how the hell did those zombies dig through 6 feet of dirt after breaking through a casket?

Either way the group fight their way through several zombies in a pretty bad scene because of the constant cuts and escape on foot.

Back to Major Cain who is being informed the T-Virus levels are above 9000 and he instructs his team to activate the Nemesis program. In another facility we see a large hulking monster wake up mirroring how Alice woke up at the start of the movie.

Nemesis 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
They couldn’t let him retake that profile pic?

Carlos and his remaining team consisting of Nicholai and a bitten Yuri spot a helicopter dropping supplies at a nearby hospital. When they arrive we see it’s the facility where Nemesis had just woken up from and the supplies were weapons for him. While they wonder what the hell is going on, Yuri converts to a zombie and bites Carlos before being shot by Nicholai.

Meanwhile “comic” relief L.J is almost shot by a S.T.A.R.S member who is doing some target practice on a roof. L.J enters the building and meets with a dozen other S.T.A.R.S members who are holding up in the small building. 

Nemesis then appears, targets only the STARS members, and kills them all. We also see that Nemesis is being run by a program controlled by Major Cain and his team. We don’t know what the purpose of this is but Major Cain appears to be able to run Nemesis like a computer program.

Nemesis shows up to attack the S.T.A.R.S team 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
“Hasta la vista baby”

Alice and her group make their way through the city and constantly ignore ringing payphones as they walk. Alice finally answers and it’s Dr. Ashford who informs Alice he can help the four escape if they go save his daughter.

He tells Alice Umbrella plans to destroy the city with a nuclear device at 6am as they know they can’t contain the virus. With no other choice, the four agree to find Angie who has been located at her school.

As the group cross a bridge, Alice senses something in the distance. Angered, Peyton runs forward to shoot but is shot and killed by Nemesis. Alice tells the group to run as she jumps down and prepares to fight it. 

We see the purpose of Nemesis was always to fight Alice as they have both been enhanced by the virus and I guess Major Cain just wants to see a good fight without having to pay for HBO? Alice is unable to do any damage to Nemesis and has to retreat into a nearby police station.

Nemesis busts through the wall and continues firing but Alice escapes through a garbage chute. For some reason this causes Nemesis to end his pursuit.

Nemesis breaks through the police station wall in 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
Hey, that’s like the video game!

Back with Jill and Terri, Jill is forced to kill a zombified Peyton after hotwiring a car. On their way to the school, they bump into L.J who joins them. As they arrive we see there’s a crashed Raccoon Police Dept. K-9 unit van outside. Why? Because the screenwriter had to fit zombie dogs somewhere, that’s why.

The three enter and despite Terri’s protests, Jill forces them all to split up. Searching the first floor, L.J is saved from a zombie by Carlos who has also been contacted by Dr. Ashford.

Meanwhile, Terri searches an empty classroom and finds a girl in a corner facing away from her. Thinking it’s Angie, Terri approaches but it’s revealed to be a zombie girl. Terri jumps back and bumps into over a dozen zombie children. 

A scene that makes no sense since the room was completely empty except for one girl just moments ago. The zombie children would have to have ran in without making a sound in the moment Terri approached the girl and then, chosen to have waited till she turns around. 

Anyway, the zombies eat Terri alive and she drops her camera.

Terri Morales is killed by children zombie in 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
“This is some bullshit!”

Jill hears Terri’s scream and finds the classroom now completely empty again with barely any blood in the room. Wtf? This time Angie is in the room and tells Jill she’s too late to save Terri which is fucked up. Jill seems to not care, picks up Terri’s camera, and the two leave the classroom.

Entering another classroom, they’re attacked by a zombie dog but are saved by Nicholai who kills the dog. He is then attacked by another dog and tells Jill and Angie to run. After they leave he’s attacked by more dogs and is killed.

In the kitchen Jill and Angie are cornered by even more zombie dogs. Jill turns on the gas on all the stoves and the two run with the zom-dogs giving chase. Jill lights and throws matches behind her as they exit the kitchen but they fizz out before reaching the gas. 

In a ridiculous turn of events Alice appears and throws a lit cigarette at the doors just as the zom-dogs bust through them igniting the gas. How did she know Jill’s plan? Why was she randomly smoking? Why are you asking questions? Look, explosions!


Alice protects Angie from the explosion using a fire blanket and Jill dives out of the way. Alice then reveals Angie is infected with the virus and carrying around doses of the vaccine. 

Exposition time!

Angie is suffering from some type of genetic disease that will slowly cause her to be unable to walk or worse… it’s not specified. Her dad, Dr. Ashford, runs the Advanced Genetics and Viral Research Division which allows him to create a cure, unfortunately that cure is the T-Virus.

Though it cures Angie it also means she has to constantly inject herself with the anti-virus in order to not become zom-Angie or die?… again it’s not specified.

Angie tells Jill and Alice all of this just as Carlos and L.J enter the room. The group contact Dr. Ashford and make plans to escape. He instructs them to make their way to city hall but also tells them the aircraft will be guarded by Umbrella security. 

After he hangs up Major Cain shows up and he reveals he knew he couldn’t trust Dr. Ashford, he then removes his access. I don’t understand why it’s a bad thing since Ashford was able to get his daughter back without wasting Umbrella resources but villains gotta villain.

“I shouldn’t be angry about this but the script says I should be.”

On their way to the aircraft, Alice gives Carlos the anti-virus and records herself stating all of Umbrella’s secrets using Terri’s camera. 

The group arrive at the evacuation site and take down several members of security with Alice somehow getting to the roof without anyone knowing. In a pretty cool fight scene she takes down most of the security forces single-handedly. 

Unfortunately as the group enter the aircraft it’s revealed to be a trap with Major Cain appearing and Nemesis making his way to them. Umbrella’s forces zip-tie the group and place them on their knees except for Alice.

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t my Nemesis.”

Major Cain then monologues and tells Alice to fight the Nemesis as he wants to find out who is the better experiment. Why? Why not!

Alice refuses but Major Cain tells her he will kill the group if she doesn’t. To prove his point he kills Dr. Ashford and Alice reluctantly agrees to fight. And… the directing is not good, too many cuts and too much camera movement, I don’t even know what’s going on half the time. 

Anyway, they face off with Alice gaining an early upper hand but Nemesis is able to strike back and take control. Just when Nemesis appears to win Alice regains momentum and knocks Nemesis back. Feeling like he’s losing Nemesis decides to cheat and break a piece of iron off of a nearby structure.

Major Cain tosses Alice two batons to even the fight despite Nemesis only have one steel pipe so, not entirely fair. Alice gains the upper hand and kicks Nemesis into the protruding metal spike he created when he broke the pipe. 

“Was that pipe always sticking out of my chest?”

Alice realizes Nemesis is a mutated Matt from the first movie and begs for his forgiveness. Major Cain demands she kill Nemesis but she refuses. When she questions what he plans to do with Nemesis he insinuates it will be destroyed and regarded as a failure.

Nemesis pulls himself off of the spike and is instructed to kill Alice but he decides to kill the Umbrella security instead because apparently the killing machine still has feelings. Alice uses the confusion to grab a gun from the Umbrella security and start killing others.

Meanwhile Carlos and Jill free themselves and start fighting off the security forces. Major Cain boards the aircraft and questions why they haven’t taken off. The pilot is revealed to be L.J who punches Cain in the face. Admittingly this part got a chortle out of me.

Mike Epps in 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
“I did something!”

The group continue fighting off oncoming Umbrella security including helicopters (why are there so many left?). As Alice is about to get shot by a helicopter, Nemesis steps in front and shoots a rocket at it, destroying it.

He didn’t have to stand directly in front of it…

Since he’s standing directly in front of the helicopter it crashes onto Nemesis and kills him. On top of that one of the rotor wings breaks off and strikes Alice in the head. Carlos grabs Alice and carries her to the helicopter where she throws Major Cain off and into the gathering group of zombies.

It was nice of them to wait till the main characters escape

He’s then bitten by a zombie Dr. Ashford and is killed by the horde. The rest of the group take off in the aircraft just as the nuke reaches the city.

Raccoon City is destroyed  in 2004's Resident Evil Apocalypse
This feels a bit too close

The blast is too close to the chopper and causes major turbulence. The force launches a metal piece of the craft to break off and head directly for Angie. Alice jumps in front, is impaled through her stomach, and looks pretty dead.

The helicopter crashes at the Arklay Mountains and an Umbrella team arrive two hours later. The team collect the dead Alice but find no other bodies. We then see the video evidence Terri collected has been released to the press. But, it’s quickly discredited as a hoax with Jill and Carlos wanted by the police.

Three weeks later in Alice wakes up in an Umbrella facility.

Deja-vu anyone?

This time Alice appears to be suffering from amnesia and is unable to speak. One of the researchers notes she has remarkable powers both mentally and physically. Suddenly all of Alice’s memories come rushing back and she fights back against the facility researchers. 

Escaping the facility, Alice is able to mentally kill a security guard watching her through security footage.

Honestly, what in the fuck is going on?

Alice leaves the facility but is surrounded by Umbrella operatives. A van pulls up and Jill, Carlos, and L.J., wearing Umbrella gear, come out and claim they are under Level 6 classified orders to take Alice.

Umbrella security falls for this despite Carlos and Jill being wanted criminals but okay. At the checkpoint, the head researcher calls the guard and instructs them to let them escape. He then activates Program Alice and we see Alice’s vision turn into the same as Nemesis’ computer vision from earlier in the movie.

The film ends as the group drives off, we, the audience, unaware if Alice is now fully controlled by Umbrella.


If you’re a fan of Resident Evil games and you’re going into this expecting anywhere close to adaptation of the games you’re going to be extremely disappointed. Honestly feels like Paul W.S Anderson wanted to make a movie about Resident Evil but only read brief synopsis of the games and needed to force Alice into it.

The acting is iffy and at times feels like a parody but it’s not overt enough that it ruins the movie. If you read the Detailed Plot above then you know the plot has multiple scenes that make no sense but, again, nothing that breaks the movie. I do like Nemesis’s design even if during his fight with Alice he looks super stiff.

My biggest issue with the movie are the fight scenes. There are so many quick cuts during fights that it’s actually disorienting at times. For example the cemetery fight with zombie had multiple quick cuts, a slow motion shot of Alice flipping over a gravestone, and random zoom in on characters just standing around.

Now, is it a bad movie? Ehh, it’s definitely not great and it’s not good. It’s a horrible Resident Evil movie but it’s an action-packed zombie movie that happens to have Resident Evil elements. It’s an okay movie to watch when you feel like watching a mindless zombie film that has plenty of action and you don’t want to be scared.


Stuff to Ignore

Rotten Tomatoes – 19%

Metacritic – 35

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