Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Boris Kodjoe, Sienna Guillory, Kim Coates
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Paul W.S. Anderson
Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife
Fighting Back: The Action of Afterlife
It's difficult to imagine a reason beyond the abundant charisma of star Milla Jovovich for anyone to continue following the Resident Evil films, a series that has yet to generate a single original idea despite now being on the fourth film in the series.
While the Resident Evil series has never been a blockbuster series at the box-office, the films have all made money and, in fact, it's one of those rare occurrences where each subsequent film in the series makes more than the last.
Yes, this means that the last film, the abysmal Resident Evil: Extinction, has been the top bread winner so far. As we've learned numerous times before, cinematic quality is often irrelevant in Hollywood. If it makes money, it will continue.
Resident Evil: Afterlife writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, who created the series before heading off to the greener pastures (Editor's Note: This is what's known as sarcasm) of Death Race and the mind numbingly awful Alien vs. Predator, is back for this 3D extravaganza and, true to form, while the film doesn't offer an ounce of originality or a performance worth paying attention to it does feature some eye-popping use of 3D technology, a few downright entertaining action sequences and, well, Milla.
At its cinematic roots, Resident Evil: Afterlife is a big budget, high special effects B-movie featuring the required laughably stilted performances, silly dialogue, outlandishly impossible action sequences and scenes that will simply make you chuckle. If one goes into the film with realistic expectations, I prefer to call them low expectations, then there's certainly a degree of fun to be had in Resident Evil: Afterlife, a film that is, I'd dare to say, miles beyond its predecessor in virtually every respect.
This is not to say that Paul W.S. Anderson, who is most often referred to as a big budget Uwe Boll, has suddenly become a decent director. He has, however, started to figure out how to, with a modest degree of success, copy the work of far more successful directors and actually create a film that is almost worth watching.
In this film, Alice (Jovovich) goes off to Alaska in search of some zombie nirvana called Arcadia and, of course, along the way goes whup ass on any zombie who manages to get in her way. She reunites with her old pal Claire (Ali Larter) and returns to the burnt out Los Angeles to take on more zombies in a high-rise prison holding a group of survivors that includes Claire's brother (Wentworth Miller), a decent location for a zombie flick in which Anderson tries like heck to capitalize on the locale's closed in aura.
Actually shot in 3-D, rather than the latest trend of being retro-fitted with it, Resident Evil: Afterlife benefits greatly from the technology in the earlygoing with scenes that feel far more alive and fresh than they really are when it comes right down to it.
Jovovich fanboys will be at least modestly disappointed in her notable lack of nudity this go around, after all she's a burgeoning serious actress these days. However, once again she remains the highlight of the film with a solid blend of humanity and hellraiser. The others in the film are generally a disappointment, reduced to wooden acting and macho grunting for much of the film.
Let's be honest, though. If you're a fan of the Resident Evil series then odds are pretty strong that you don't give one iota about decent acting, a coherent story or realistic dialogue. You want to watch a couple hours of zombie ass kickin' and, in this respect, Resident Evil: Afterlife gets the job done.
A good film? Not a chance. But, if all you're looking for this weekend is a scene after scene of stylized, broadly drawn action sequences then Resident Evil: Afterlife will do just fine.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic