Movie Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife (3D)

When a movie relies entirely on 3D gimmicks and action, typically there’s something missing. And though I love Milla Jovovich (and have since I saw her in The Fifth Element), good old Alice couldn’t even save Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Let me back up a bit here… The Resident Evil movie series started in 2002 and is based on a video game series that’s been around since the mid-1990s. The premise is that a global, multi-national organization called the Umbrella Corporation is doing genetic research when a scientist gets fumble fingers and releases a killer virus. The “T-Virus” infects people and starts rewriting their DNA – killing them in the process. Of course, death is just the beginning and the corpses reanimate as undead zombies bent on world domination…

So it’s one part conspiracy, one part warning against the dangers of unchecked science, and one part George A. Romero. Add to that the character Alice (Jovovich), who seems to be the only person who’s been infected with the virus and become stronger without achieving zombie status or going power mad and becoming a monster.

Through the next two movies (Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Extinction), Alice finds some friends, kills a lot of zombies and T-Virus monstrosities, and continues her goal of stopping the Umbrella Corporation and the virus.

The film starts after the events of Resident Evil: Extinction, which left Alice heading off to get more revenge on the Umbrella corporation and Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and the gang heading to the mythical “Arcadia” in Alaska that is promised as a virus free zone for survivors of the zombie plague. Of course, Arcadia doesn’t quite pan out…

Yes, Alice, Claire, Claire’s brother Chris (Prison Break‘s Wentworth Miller), K-Mart (Spencer Locke), Luther (Undercovers Boris Kodjoe), and all their friends manage to kick some T-Virus butt, but I was left wondering what exactly they were fighting for. Most of the population has been turned into monsters and the few that are left are being used as lab rats by Umbrella.

As for whether 3D made this movie any better, I have to say it may have improved a few scenes, but I’ve never actually seen a 3D movie that I considered boring until now. And when you add in the zombies and monsters, this shouldn’t be boring at all. It’s an action horror movie for Pete’s sake.

Though I appreciate the fact that they got to use James Cameron’s 3D camera setup from Avatar, what I found was a movie where I watched a few folks get up and walk out of the theater after 30 minutes and I was tempted to check the time on my cell phone about 6 times.

To provide an example, there’s a scene where an aircraft is about to plow into Mt. Fuji with Alice and the big bad guy Wesker (Shaun Roberts) on board… suddenly we’re in a 3D freeze frame traveling from the nose of the craft to the tail, seeing everything in painful slow motion. As I said before, I love Milla, but when we pause for what seems like forever for no good reason. In my mind, effects should be there to provide something to push the story forward. A glorified “pause” button doesn’t really help that cause.

If you’ve seen the trailers on television, you’ve already seen one of the better battles between the huge monster with the axe, Alice, and Claire in a prison shower. The big guy is impressive – a one monster wrecking crew. But I didn’t need to pay to see this scene again.

Ultimately Resident Evil: Afterlife was a major disappointment. I enjoyed the previous movies with scary monsters, zombies that were extremely fast, and Milla kicking some serious butt. Sorry Milla, but this one was a swing and a miss for me. I’d skip it.

Rating: ★☆☆☆

–Fitz

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Resident Evil: Extinction? More like a Lull in the Battle

Resident Evil: ExtinctionImage via Wikipedia

Hi all…

Yes, thanks to the WGA strike, we’re continuing to move at a staggering pace through our Netflix queue. The latest casualty was Resident Evil: Extinction, which came out last year.

Here’s the IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0432021/

Rating: ★★☆☆

So for those who don’t know anything about this series of movies, this is the third. Resident Evil came out in 2002. Resident Evil: Apocalypse came out in 2004. And Resident Evil: Extinction came out in 2007.

Like the others, this one is rated R for violence, splatter, and minor nudity.

The entire series is based on a series of Resident Evil video games. Think first person shooter in a zombie infested world and you pretty much get the gist. The backstory includes the Umbrella Corporation, who is the most powerful company in the world and involved with everything from military weapons to bio-engineered viruses. The T-Virus is one of these lovely genetically engineered viruses. It gets out of hand quickly, proving that if you get infected and die, you come back as a zombie hungry for fresh human flesh.

Is this just another zombie movie in the genre of 28 Days Later, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and so on? Well, yeah, sort of. Survivors battle armies of mindless and not so mindless undead.

What sets this apart is Milla Jovovich. She’s one of my favorite action actresses of the last 20 years. Ever since Kuffs (with Christian Slater), I’ve been hooked. And when The Fifth Element came out in 1997, it sealed the deal.

That said, even Milla couldn’t save herself from Extinction. This one didn’t do anything for me. Maybe it was the fact that many of the battles took place during the daytime — and zombies in bright sunlight aren’t so scary as much as silly looking brutes.

Also from earlier movies, Oded Fehr (who I liked in the Mummy, but his character in the RE series hasn’t done much for me) and Mike Epps who provided some funny scenes in Apocalypse but fell short in Extinction. Ali Larter and Ashanti joined the cast as known quantities. I liked Ali Larter’s Claire character, but Ashanti’s Betty barely makes a blip on the radar.

Generally I guess you can see where I’m headed with this. It falls flat. (Sorry Milla.) And if this was meant to end the trilogy, it left the end wide open for more, which is the scariest part of the whole film. :)

This one gets 2/4. Rent it if you get bored and like Milla. She’d appreciate the residuals.

Until next time…
–Fitz

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