B Movie Haiku Reviews – File Under: ‘Unnecessary’ – Death Race 2 / Gothika / Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Odd month. I temporarily gave up on finding the forgotten or unheralded masterpiece for a while.

This should have meant more time to watch truly great films and entertaining movies from my own collection – and it did – but it also entailed me heading to the DVD shop and bringing him piles of mediocrity enclosed in little snappy cases.

So while the following flicks might have larger budgets and more “name” actors than flicks I choose to haiku (there are Oscar winners here!) rest assured after watching them while the ingredients weren’t necessarily B rated, the finished products sure are.

Death Race 2

In this unnecessary direct to DVD prequel cash-in capitalising on Death Race’s unexpected (by me anyway) success – and I must admit equally unexpected enjoyment value – we learn the origins of Frankenstein, the roughest, meanest, fastest Death Race driver in the biz, even if they somehow managed to tempt an all-star B movie cast in Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, Sean Bean and Luke Goss as the Man who would be Frankenstein.

Plot Overview

Shows or-ig-ins of Death Race

Star-ted as Death Fight

War-den thought cars mean ra-tings

The Action

Bet-ter cast than the first film!

Act-ion, T & A

Hate to ad-mit, it’s not bad!

In Summation

A pre-quel no-one nee-ded

Fun flick all the same

Same as the first in ess-ence

This was always going to be a “haiku movie” for me as soon as I saw the cover, I mean who was crying out for the origin story to a character that isn’t that exciting or gripping in the first place? Paul W. S. Anderson’s Financial Planner that’s who!

But Death Race 2 actually could have warranted a full write up – if it wasn’t so similar to the first in so many ways – “nearly” good guy goes to jail and is exploited against his will by female warden on PPVV (pay per view violence).

To be fair to the film it was a lot better than it needed to be to justify its existence, the warden is hotter and has an even pottier mouth, the hot pit navigators show more skin and how many films can boast a flamethrower fight?!?

Final Rating 6.5 / 10. Good films are getting worse and bad films are getting better. Should we be getting concerned yet?


This was made in the early 2000s when Hollywood watched nothing but The Sixth Sense re-runs and saw only low budgets and potentially high box-office, leading to The Ring, The Grudge, Don’t Say a Word and this… film.

Oscar winners Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz headline, with a newly “on the recovery trail” Robert Downey Jr and Charles S Dutton as support, pretty good cast right?

Plot Overview

Hal-le is a shrink, Cruz nuts.

Hal-le kills hub-by

Screams “GHOST”! Who did it rea-lly?

The Action

Hal-le ends in nut-house too

Sees, hears, feels strange things

Who is the girl? Who did it?

In Summation

No sus-pense or cle-ver-ness

All re-vealed at end

First hour was point-less.

Everyone sleepwalks through this as if they really weren’t sure what they signed up for. RD Jr looks mostly bored unless he’s rubbing up against Halle in the cell (granted a better experience than he might have endured in his own sentence).

Cruz looks dangerously bored in her bits and whispers her lines and Halle tries but is out of her depth as a possibly possessed / possibly plain nutso inmate in one of the crappier security facilities in cinema – within a few days she manages to escape three times!

For some reason she is the only inmate given a tight white T shirt, and I think it is irrelevant to the plot but Halle walks like she just rode a horse for two hours…


Once the “startling truth” arrives you realise that even if it did make sense and you are willing to go along with the ridiculous events the fact that no-one doubts (not even Halle herself) that she offed the hubby means her freedom inexplicable.

Final Rating – 5.5 / 10. A little bit of style (but zero real scares or shocks) wasted on a tepid plot that needs to be spelled out in the last scenes before anyone can understand it.

Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse

Look I’m on the record as saying the first film was pretty good and I stand by that. I also stupidly enough believe these characters and set up have a good film in there in the right hands – so I line up to watch hoping that things improve.

Four times now… and they never do. I loathed the 4th film but until the weekend thought this was the worst in the bunch, it isn’t; but not by much.

Apocalypse takes place immediately after the events of the first film as Alice (Milla Jovovich) reaches the surface of the most ridiculously named city in film: Raccoon City (at least they know the nickname of every local sporting team in advance).

Plot Overview

Mil-la ver-sus in-fec-ted

Vi-rus now pub-lic

Must es-cape from doomed ci-ty

The Action

Al-ice has all the “fly” moves

Which teen-boy wrote this?

Game sca-ri-er and coo-ler

In Summation

Cal-cu-lat-ed and ste-rile

Fan-boy pan-der-ing

Brain cell kil-ling trash. HATE IT!

After Raccoon City is walled off and scheduled for discussion Alice and random other trapped survivors take turns at doing stupid things until you hope they all die. (For the record Jill Valentine seems better equipped and hotter than Alice, but that’s just me.)

Highlights for me include when Alice busts through the stained glass window of a church at the last second to save the day; sure it looked cool but how the fuck did she know the people inside were in danger and that she could land safely? Was she just planning to bust through for a break, and then it was just luck that people needed rescuing?

Or how about when Jill kills a bunch of infected dogs by lighting 4 stove top gas burners, seconds later Alice – though she never smokes in the film aside from this one moment – walks in and flicks the ciggie stub, igniting a huge explosion. That’s a lot of gas to be released to fill a big room in a few seconds wouldn’t you say???

But my third and perhaps favourite moment of stupidity comes when Alice explains that Masked Scavenger City is to be destroyed by “a precision tactical nuclear device”, without missing a beat Jill Valentine asks “What Yield?” Sorry, destroyed by nuclear device wasn’t scary enough? She had to know “Well just how destroyed are we talking here?”

Oh and the less said about the Terminator rip-off the Nemesis the better, after all he is essentially stymied by a metal stick anyway – some unstoppable killing machine.

Final Rating – 5 / 10. All the calculated cool in the world can’t save this poorly plotted tripe that fails to utilise both zombies and doesn’t include any effective action.

One last thing. Mike Epps seems to get a lot of fourth banana “comic relief” roles where he spouts stupid gibberish and “talks black” a lot. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without acknowledging his career, because I really hope it’s over very soon.

Yo Mike Epps

You’re fun-ny as Car-rot Top

Gang-sta as Fresh Prince

Please quit “ac-ting” and re-tire

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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