Written & Directed by Paul WS Anderson
Starring Mila Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller
Just when you thought Umbrella was done and Project Alice could roam the post apocalyptic Earth killing off a zombie here or there for fun like a futuristic Cane from Kung Fu the s suddenly hits the f again in Resident Evil Afterlife.
The original Resident Evil has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. No, it’s not a great movie or even a good one but there’s fun to be had and Mila brought something different to the action hero role. The sequels were generally weaker than the first usually trying to be too complicated and those films also tended to take themselves too seriously. To do these films successfully and make them really good films then there would need to be a stronger writer and director working behind the scenes of the films. With films like Aliens vs. Predator and Event Horizon under his belt you may begin to wonder why Paul WS. Anderson even has a career. The reason must be the nuggets of fun that come along in guilty pleasures from him such as Death Race and the original Resident Evil.
This film picks up fairly quickly after the last film and if you haven’t seen that last film you’re going to be lost. The writing of this film seems arrogant because it assumes that everyone in the theater will know the previous films and be caught up on the story. It’s also short sighted because it assumes that no new fans will be drawn to this new installment in the franchise. I had seen the previous films but had forgotten how the last film ended. So for the first 15 to 20 minutes I was completely lost on the super villain that Alice had to fight and on all of the copies of her. Fortunately after one major twist in the story most of what happens in the first act is just fun to look at and unnecessary for the rest of the story.
Alice finds herself alone again at the beginning of the film and looking for other humans. There’s promise of a place where there’s no infection, food, and a safe place to rest. So Alice is desperate to fine this place. Her journey reunites her with some people from her past and puts her in the midst of hungry zombies. This whole story started as a hybrid zombie movie/fight the big corporate monster story but now all of that is washed away either due to clumsy writing or a need to just get away from the corporate monster part of the story. It’s a shame because the evil Umbrella corp. was such a major part of the RE universe in the games. Now Umbrella is just represented with random logos throughout the film. After the first chapter of the film the story does settle down but it doesn’t really get any better or clearer. What the film does do is look really cool, even in the scenes with weaker CGI. This film was hyped as being crafted using the same 3-D technology as Avatar and in some scenes you can really tell that is the case. There’s an extra layer of depth in those scenes not common to most current lower budget 3-D films. The action is really cool and Mila is still an awesome action star. She tries her best to carry this weakly executed film to the closing credits and it’s just too much for her to handle. As always she’s a lot of fun to watch but that’s the only redeeming factor to the film. If you’re a fan of the franchise and have enjoyed the film up to this one then you’ll have a good time. This installment is the best since the first film. If you aren’t a fan of the franchise already this film isn’t a reason to jump in.