Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Or: I can haz 3-D?
Each subsequent entry in the Resident Evil film franchise has earned more money than its predecessor. Extinction turned its $45 million budget into a worldwide gross of nearly $150 million. For its fourth installment, the producers experimented with something new, 3-D, and the results were the highest grossing Resident Evil movie to date. Afterlife went on to earn nearly $300 million worldwide! Not bad! Truly, Resident Evil is the little franchise that could.
Returning to the’s chair for the first time since the original picture, Paul W.S. Anderson reunites with real-life wife Milla Jovovich for the slickest Resident Evil movie yet. Armed with a larger budget than usual and the allure of 3-D, Afterlife opens with a bravura action sequence that sees Alice’s army of clones lay siege to an Umbrella facility. With over-the-top moves and special effects, the director seems to be indicating that this isn’t your father’s Resident Evil. Alice faces up against long-time RE bad guy Albert Wesker, who had a cameo in Extinction, played by Terra Nova actor Jason O’Mara, and is portrayed here by Shawn Roberts, who brings a host of creepy mannerisms to the character.
Following the entire destruction of Tokyo via wormhole… exploding… thing… Alice ventures back to America in search of her friends from Extinction. After picking up Claire Redfield, she lands her small plane on the roof of a Los Angeles high-rise surrounded by the living impaired. There, she joins up with a rag-tag bunch of… oh, you know the drill. Newcomers include professional weasel Kim Coates (Bennett), playing a Hollywood-type; badass Boris Kodjoe (Luther West), an actor I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of; and Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller (Chris Redfield), finally bringinggame main character Chris Redfield to the big screen. Of course, viewers have to be willing to ignore the coincidence that, out of all the people in the world, Claire’s brother happens to be one of the survivors and happens to end up at the same place as her.
Having never seen the movie in 3-D I can’t tell whether this technology enhances the experience or not. Luckily, even in plain old 2-D, the movie looks great and doesn’t suffer from a 3-D conversion syndrome I like to call Things-Constantly-Poked-Towards-The-Viewer-itis. Paul W.S. Anderson wisely pulls out all the stops, which means the movie ends up a bit like a Resident Evil’s greatest hits montage: there’s, dogs, Umbrella shenanigans, Alice doing cool things while looking hot, and a pretty decent cliffhanger to close things off.
The Verdict: [rating:4]
And don’t forget to check out Resident Evil: Retribution, opening in theaters September 14! Will Alice finally defeat Umbrella once and for all? Not as long as there’s money to be made churning these movies out!
Your faithful reviewer,