Resident Evil: Afterlife, also known as Resident Evil (movie) 4, has quickly become one of the most anticipated movies due to release during fall 2010. Being a long-time fan of the Resident Evil video game franchise-and the first two movie adaptations, but not the third-I find myself asking a very simple question: What’s the point?
Resident Evil: Extinction, which released in 2007, seemed to wrap-up the movie adaptation storyline in a fiery, heavily-explosive but resounding finale; as to what the writers and producers hope to accomplish with bleeding the turnip to produce a 4th movie in the adaptation series I do not know. Milla Jovovich (Alice, a character unique to the movie franchise) is an action heroine as hardcore as any RE fan could hope for; the Resident Evil movie series also featured the hardcore heroines from the video game series, Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield. As not only a female fan of the Resident Evil video game franchise, but also a female semi-fan of action movies, I greatly appreciated the abundance of deliciously competent female heroes in the series.
One feature of this latest Resident Evil movie adaptation which immediately caught my eye was the elements of the Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica storylines hinted at in the official trailer (view the trailer here on IMDB). The return of Jill seems to reflect the events included in RE5, and several clips of an arctic location-not to mention the presence of both Chris and Claire-seem to pay tribute to the Code Veronica video game. Both of these chapters in the Resident Evil saga are favorites, although RE5 was definitely too action-not-survival for my tastes.
In Resident Evil 5, players enjoyed the return of Jill to the storyline. Chris, who is the main character along with new heroine, Sheva, believes Jill to be dead. But a cloaked, feminine figure is eventually revealed to be his long-lost partner and original second-half in the opening game, Resident Evil. Under the influence of Wesker, the eternal mega boss and seemingly undefeatable opponent, Jill turns on Chris only to be rescued and brought back into her true self at the climax of the latest RE chapter. If the trailer is to be believed-along with credits for both Jill and Chris in the cast list-fans of the series will see at least fragments of this development in the storyline play-out in this latest movie adaptation. Sheva is not credited in Resident Evil: Afterlife which is a disappointment; the character has the distinction of being the first primary cast member of African American heritage, something many fans eagerly anticipated.
The older game, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, was the chapter in the series where Claire really shone. Although she was the female option to play through in Resident Evil 2 along with Leon S. Kennedy, Claire’s first time being the primary protagonist came in Code Veronica. While searching for her missing brother she encounters both Wesker and a new playable character, Steve Burnside, in keeping with the standard theme in the Resident Evil franchise of both a male and a female playable character. She is captured and imprisoned on Rockfort Island, which is a mixture of an “island of misfit toys” and crazy people. The Ashfords, whose history goes back far into the origins of the T-virus, are the primary antagonists of this chapter of Resident Evil and it will be interesting to see if Alfred-or Alexia-play a part in Resident Evil: Afterlife.
Eventually, gameplay in Resident Evil: Code Veronica switches from Claire to Chris and the storyline takes players into the frigid north. Scenes from the official trailer show an arctic landscape which could easily be Antarctica, the scene of the climax for this chapter in the series.
Resident Evil: Afterlife does have one unique trait to offer viewers: the movie is being released in the incredibly trendy 3D fad which has taken-over theatres for the last two years. However, the feature of Resident Evil: Afterlife which will definitely get me into a theatre-other than the relentless bribes from fellow RE fans-is the cast list: According to the list on IMDB, this latest Resident Evil movie will feature not only Alice (Jovovich), but female femme fatales Claire (Ali Larter) and Jill (Sienna Guillory) are also returning to the screen. Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), the primary villain of the RE series, is also credited; an added bonus is Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield, brother of Claire and one of the original two heroes (along with Jill in Resident Evil).
Although I am increasingly disappointed with Resident Evil video games’ transition from “survivor horror” into the “action” genre, the movie adaptations have always been about hordes of zombies, savvy survivors with cool weapons and crazy, fiery explosions. Without a doubt, Resident Evil: Afterlife will feature these same perks-if also a watered-down, over-rated storyline-and I look forward to the premiere of the film on September 10th, 2010.
IMDB, “Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)”