I very much enjoyed 28 Days Later even if the ending was rather weak - The end of the Director's Cut being much better. I had great hopes, therefore, that this sequel would be of similar quality. While the overall style and feel of this movie remained faithful to the original, the concept and therefore the plot don't hit the same heights. The result is a movie which is very watchable but not very interesting. In fact, I would have to say that this film is closer in quality script-/plot-wise to one of Paul W. S. Anderson's recent offerings (Resident Evil 2; Aliens Vs. Predator).
With much of the art department (Art Directors Patrick Rolfe and Denis Schnegg) remaining in place from the last film, 28 Weeks Later definitely looks and feels like its predecessor in terms of it's aesthetic, pacing, and overall style. I think this is, in large part, down to the contribution/collaboration of Editor Chris Gill (another holdover from 28 Days Later) and Director of Photography, Enrique Chediak, who together help further maintain the consistency from the previous film to this one.
Style aside, 28 weeks Later falls into the trap which the first film so neatly avoided. 28 Days Later took a really strong, simple premise, and explored it on a small scale, never over-reaching in terms of plot plausibility (even considering horror's innate implausibility). Most of the film centred on a few main characters and their quest for survival: from hordes of Rage-infected zombies on the one hand, to the reality of trying to stay alive removed from the every-day infrastructure of modern life. 28 Weeks Later, on the other hand, goes large in terms of scale, both in terms of the numbers of people/characters and the sheer scope of the environment being dealt with.
The film opens, suitably small-scale, with a limited group of people including husband and wife, Don and Alice (Robert Carlyle and Catherine McCormack), who are trying to stay alive holed up in a rural country house. From such small and intimate beginnings, the chastening of which sets the film up with some very interesting themes and relationship dynamics, the plot then falls victim to trying to do and show too much too soon. As the story reaches London anyone with any knowledge of video-games will not fail to notice some very obvious nods to games such as Half-Life 2. And it is from this point onwards that the film moves away from more layered narrative development to very simplistic, location dependent plotting. This serves to give the rest of the film the feel of a generic AAA video-game title.
While Danny Boyle and Alex Garland (who directed and wrote the original respectively) are on board as Executive Producers, one can only wonder what would have happened had they been at the helm this time around. The script, this time penned by the team of Rowan Joffe, Jesus Olmo, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (who also directed this film), is not a patch on Garland's original screenplay and suggests that the ideas at the centre of it are little more than "How can we get this location and that location into the story? and how can we get our characters from one to the next?" This is classic video-game plotting and really fails to deliver on the big screen.
There is plenty of action, gore, and frights to be had in 28 Weeks later, but after threatening such a potentially interesting film from the opening, the rest of the movie is a real let-down from a story point of view. Still, if you're only in it for the things that generic horror movies deliver then you'll probably be more than happy with this film. If, on the other hand, like me, you admire the originality of 28 Days Later and were hoping for more of the same, you'll likely be disappointed.