Alice (Milla Jovovich) and Matt have fought their way out of the genetic research facility called the Hive. Zombies that resulted from the Umbrella Corporation’s illegal experiments have escaped and overwhelmed Raccoon City. Umbrella quarantines the city and evacuates their own personnel. Angela Ashford (Sophie Vavasseur), daughter of Umbrella scientist Doctor Charles Ashford (Jared Harris) is involved in a car-crash during the evacuation and is now missing. Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), a tough-as-nails operative of the Raccoon City Police Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (STARS) is helping evacuate all the police, but they are left behind too.
Alice awakens in a deserted hospital and wanders about the city. At the bridge over which the civilians are fleeing, she meets with Sergeant Dayton Wells (Razaaq Adoti), but he is bitten by a Zombie. Major Timothy Cain of the Umbrella Forces (Thomas Kretschmann) seals the exit and sends the residents back into the city. Umbrella soldiers Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and Nicholai Ginovaef (Zack Ward) team up with STARS to fight the Zombies. They are overrun and Olivera is bitten. Elsewhere, Valentine, Wells, and news reporter Terri Morales (Sandrine Holt) hide in a church and are attacked by Lickers. Alice shows up in a spectacular way, or motorcycling through a stained-glass window, and saves them from being overrun.
Umbrella deploys a secret weapon, a mutated supersoldier called Nemesis (Matthew G. Taylor) to kill the remaining STARS before searching for Alice. Doctor Ashford hacks into the city’s communication system to contact Alice and the other survivors, offering to help them escape if they can find his daughter Angela, and he makes the same offer to Olivera and Ginovaef. Umbrella intends to use a nuclear bomb to sterilize the zombie infection in the city. On the way to get Angela, Alice and her team are ambushed by the Nemesis creature. Valentine kills Wells when he turns. Alice battles Nemesis but is wounded and retreats, luring Nemesis away from the group.
Valentine and Morales go on, picking up a civilian called Lloyd Jefferson or L.J. (Mike Epps) on the way. With Olivera, Valentine finds Angela in her school, but Morales and Ginovaef are killed by zombies and infected dogs. Angela reveals that the zombie menace was created by her father to treat the genetic disease she has. She must still take the injections as well as an antivirus to stave off zombification, like Alice does. Alice uses some of this to cure Olivera. Doctor Ashford directs Alice to the extraction point. They make it to the copter but are stopped by Umbrella. Major Cain kills Doctor Ashford and forces Alice to fight Nemesis. She is winning the battle when she realizes it is Matt Addison, mutated by Umbrella. She refuses to finish him off.
Nemesis turns on Major Cain and attacks the Umbrella troops to protect Alice but is killed. The rest seize the helicopter and kick out Major Cain, who is overrun by zombies, including the infected Doctor Ashford. Just behind them, the nuke destroys Raccoon City and the blast crashes the helicopter. TV footage says the nuke was a meltdown of the power plant—not Umbrella’s fault. Umbrella is publicly thanked. Alice wakes up again in a tank in an Umbrella research facility and escapes. She is even more powerful now and can kill telepathically. She has the help of Olivera, Valentine, L.J., and Angela. But Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) reveals that this was part of Umbrella’s plan. The team is now two kick-ass babes, one of them a superhero, the tall dark and handsome Israeli commando, the smart-aleck clever black guy, and the tough, brave little girl. Pretty good action team to start the next movie.
The film was directed by Alexander Witt and written by Paul W.S. Anderson, the second film in the Resident Evil series, based on the video game. It was filmed in Toronto and locations like City Hall are blown up. It did not receive good reviews but made more money than the first film. It was criticized for so-called feminine stereotypes in the relationship between Valentine and Alice, their nurturing attitudes, and their revealing clothing and camera angles, even though they are powerful females in an action film. I thought they were perfect, actually. There were nods to Escape from New York and The Omega Man. Nemesis was created by a costume made from a body cast on the six-foot-seven frame of Matthew G. Taylor, but the Lickers were all CGI. Jovovich performed all the stunts not nixed by the insurance company. The score was by Jeff Danna.
The Nemesis suit weighed sixty pounds and was too hot to work in after fifteen minutes. The machine gun itself weighed sixty-five pounds. Oded Fehr had no problem handling guns because he had been trained by the Israeli Army. We know him as the handsome desert warrior in the recent Mummy movies. According to the map, Raccoon City seems to be near Philadelphia. The film was supposed to be called Resident Evil: Nemesis but it too closely followed the release of Star Trek: Nemesis. Paul W.S. Anderson was unable to direct because he was working on Alien vs. Predator, but he regretted it. Both Milla Jovovich and Anderson were disappointed in the film because the action and explosions left no room for story, and the critical response reflected the fact. On Rotten Tomatoes, for instance, the results were 19% favorable by critics and 60% favorable by audiences. I thought it was a damn fine action movie.