Resident Evil: Afterlife: A Movie In Desperate Need of Salvation

20 09 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife is the fourth installment in the video-game-turned-zombie-movie franchise and the first one to be in 3D. Milla Jovavich returns as Alice, the kick-ass heroine of all four movies. Here’s the breakdown:

Alice makes her way north, to Alaska. There, she hopes to find Arcadia, a supposed safe haven from the devastating zombie virus. But upon her arrival, she realizes Arcadia is not what it seems. Meeting up with old and new friends and pitted against new enemies, Alice must uncover the devious Umbrella Corporation’s latest, sinister plot.

The Monkey: The action is deliciously over-the-top. Any shred of believability was lost far earlier in the series, giving the filmmakers an opportunity to play in an almost unlimited sandbox. With freefall firefights, gratuitous slow-motion and plenty of blood-n-guts, Resident Evil: Afterlife fits right in with its previous installments.

While I’m sure James Cameron would cringe at Afterlife’s use of 3D, audiences will enjoy it. What would a 3D zombie movie be without brains, bullets and massive battle axes flying into the audience? A bit overdone, but awesomely so.

The Weasel: Unfortunately, despite the fun action sequences and 3D goodness, there’s a lot to dislike about Afterlife. Definitely the weakest of the four films, the movie felt more like a bridge to the fifth installment, which has since been confirmed. The plot jumped around uncontrollably, moving from a promising thread about Arcadia, to ridiculous situations designed just to facilitate action scenes.

An opening scene in Tokyo, while exciting, had little impact on the rest of the movie, making the scene rather pointless. In fact, a plot thread from the previous movies (the Alice clones) was all but glossed over and tossed aside. There were many seemingly huge story developments that the movie skimmed right over in its haste to blast zombie brains all over the place, which is really too bad, because there’s a great story in these movies…somewhere. The characters of Claire and Chris Redfield were wasted miserably, to the point where I have to assume the meat of their screen time was left on the cutting room floor. And the rest of the cast were pointless production costs, as it was clear from the beginning they were nothing more than zombie fodder, to be predictably picked off one by one.

Alice’s ridiculous video-cammed “diary” entries were a cheap way to explain (or at least try to explain) the gaping plot holes.

Lastly, the final boss fight was lacking significantly. A cross between The Matrix and a straight-to-DVD testosterone flick, there was nothing new or particularly dazzling about Alice’s last stand.

Afterlife plays out like a kick-ass, 3D music video, crippled by lack of story. I hope the fifth film delivers a better script – and then delivers the zombie splattering action fans love.

2.5 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? How did you like Afterlife compared to the rest of the Resident Evil movies? Are you looking forward to the fifth installment? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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