Monday, February 14, 2011

DVD Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife *
Directed by:
Paul W.S. Anderson.
Written By: Paul W.S. Anderson.
Starring: Milla Jovovich (Alice), Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Kim Coates (Bennett), Shawn Roberts (Albert Wesker), Sergio Peris-Mencheta (Angel Ortiz), Spencer Locke (K-Mart), Boris Kodjoe (Luther West), Wentworth Miller (Chris Redfield), Sienna Guillory (Jill Valentine), Kacey Barnfield (Crystal), Norman Yeung (Kim Yong), Fulvio Cecere (Wendell), Ray Olubowale (Axeman).

I skipped Resident Evil: Afterlife when it came out in theaters last fall, and felt comfortable in that decision. I had seen the other three films, and really cannot say that there was anything that was left unanswered for me that required a fourth film. None of them have been very good, and to be honest they have started to blend together in my memory. In remembered the cool lasers that cut Michelle Rodriguez to pieces in the first film, and I’m pretty sure the third film was the one that was a Road Warrior clone, but I couldn’t tell you for sure. And without looking them up, I don’t think I could you what the title of the second and third movies were (I did look them up and the were Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Extinction – I think I would have gotten the Extinction, but the other one no way). In short, I’ve never seen much need for this series, and was comfortable letting the fourth installment pass me by. But then, it had to and become the Porky’s for a new generation –by that I mean it beat the lowly teen comedy from the 1980s to become the highest grossing Canadian film of all time – and got nominated for five Genies as well, in addition to winning the Golden Reel award for highest grossing Canadian film of the year (only in Canada, where we are so insecure about our film industry do we give an award for having people see your damn movie). So I trudged off the video store to rent the latest Resident Evil film – and once again it has already started to blend in to the other films in the series in that hazy part of my memory that I rarely access.

The story this time involves our heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich), first attacking the evil Umbrella corporation, and then flying off to Alaska to try and find the supposed safe haven that is Arcadia. The Zombie epidemic still remains unabated, and Alice is still the most powerful human in the world, because she is the only one that Umbrella was able to successfully inject with the T-virus, and not turn into a brain hungry zombie. But soon she loses those powers – but she’s happy about that. She is human again.

Unfortunately, Alaska is a bust, except that she finds an old friend Claire (Ali Larter) there, although she has no memory of Alice. But they get back into Alice’s plane anyway, and fly south. They end up at a nearly abandoned prison, occupied by only a few humans. They discover that Arcadia is real after all – but it’s not a city, it’s a ship, and that ship is close by. But in order to get to it, they need to get past thousands of brain hungry, blood thirsty zombies. So they devise a plan.

Of course things go wrong, people start dying, someone will turn on them, and the supposedly evil guy will turn out to be good. And of course, Alice hasn’t seen the last of the Umbrella corporation – and since this movie was successful, I doubt that even at the end of the movie, we will never see Alice, the zombies and Umbrella again.

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson with his typical lack of style (or over abundance of style if you want to see non-stop slow motion and bloody deaths as style), Resident Evil: Afterlife is a lazy action-horror movie. It was made to make money, and while the same can be said of pretty much every movie, in this case it seems even more cynical. There is no reason for this film to exist – so please someone remind me not to see the fifth Resident Evil movie, whenever that film comes out, which I’m sure it will.

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