Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Shawn Roberts, Spencer Locke, Boris Kodjoe, Kim Coates, Kacey Barnfield, Norman Yeung, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, and Sienna Guillory.
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson.
Released: September 10th, 2010.
After Resident Evil: Apocalypse, everything the series had going for it began falling apart with its third film Extinction and it continues to do so with the latest chapter Afterlife. See, the first two Resident Evil movies referenced the source material a lot, i.e. the mansion in the first Resident Evil that is also from the original game, and Raccoon City in Apocalypse which was the setting from the second and third game (not to mention, Nemesis from the third game as well). But then, all of a sudden, the series turned into a bunch of run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic zombie films beginning with Extinction. This, of course, doesn’t happen in the games and that was actually a smart move. Having the T-Virus take over the world so quick and so soon in the franchise was a huge mistake because they’re showing too much too soon. Imagine if Aliens switched places with Alien as the first film in that series? Seems kind of unbalanced, doesn’t it?
But hey, what’s done is done, right? Oh well. I guess they should have let George A. Romero direct these movies from the get-go, but since they didn’t… Resident Evil: Afterlife follows Extinction in which Alice travels to Alaska in search of the promise land known as Arcadia. She finds nothing but the remains of Claire’s chopper from the last film (if you recall, Alice told Claire and the remaining survivors to escape without her on a chopper). However, she does come across a bewildered Claire who’s been spending the last few months isolated by herself and is suffering from some memory loss. Alice takes Claire with her and they fly a plane to the city of Los Angeles, or rather, what’s left of it. I have to give props to Anderson for making a very dreadful zombified Los Angeles. Anyway, they spot a bunch of survivors on the roof of a maximum security prison and land the plane there. At this point, we’re introduced to Claire’s brother, Chris, who happens to be one of the survivors holding up in the prison.
The prison portion of the film is somewhat long and it is perhaps the most interesting chapter in the film itself as its the closest we ever get to spending time with our characters in a zombified world. Once the prison portion is done, the film rushes to its conclusion in this eighty-five minute crap-fest of a sequel. Much like Extinction, Afterlife seems more heavily influenced by other films than by the source material of the games. Don’t get me wrong, the game references are in there but they are overshadowed by this strange hybrid of Matrix and Dawn of the Dead nonsense that’s lame above all else. Speaking of Dawn of the Dead, we don’t get to see much of the zombies this time around to begin with, we get like about ten minutes worth perhaps.
Extinction went the route of ripping off Mad Max, Day of the Dead, bits of The Matrix, and 28 Days Later (fast zombies, anyone?). In Afterlife, we have lots of heroes and villains in shiny black Matrix outfits with slicked back Matrix hair, Matrix sunglasses, Matrix slow-motion action sequences, and we might as well throw in Alien Resurrection and the second Star Wars prequel. The film’s opening action sequence involves an army of Alice clones, decked out in tight black Matrix gear and just fresh out of the hair salon, attacking Umbrella chairman Albert Wesker at his underground Tokyo base. They might as well call this Resident Evil: Attack of the Clones. And don’t get me started on the 3D crap. I have a feeling that they made a fourth film just to have a 3D Resident Evil film. See, it’s like a franchise necessity to Hollywood, every big film series needs to have AT LEAST one. Jaws 3D, Saw 3D, Friday the 13th 3D, heck even Step-Up 3D. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to see Little Fockers 3D at this rate.
As I said before, this franchise has strayed way too far from the source material and is now basing its story-lines and action bits around those of other movies. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with action flicks, but there are smart action flicks with characters that we actually care about. John McClaine in Die Hard is a prime example, the Bride from Kill Bill is another good one. As for Alice? Seems like she’s Ellen Ripley, the T-800, and Neo all rolled into one. I’d like to propose a suggestion for this franchise and this is going to annoy some of you for sure: REBOOT! I’m sorry to say, but this is one film series that actually needs one.