Reviews
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) 1 brainhalf brain
(UK)

Alternate Titles:

Biohazard IV: Afterlife


While I was watching Resident Evil: Afterlife - 3-D, I wished that my 3-D glasses had come with a handy attachment that let me pull my brain out through my nostril, so that I wouldn't be plagued throughout the movie with bothersome questions, like "Where is the Umbrella Corporation getting its endless supply of food, munitions, and electricity?" "How are there still fires burning in L.A. after four and a half years of apocalypse?" "How does one guy help a landing plane brake simply by pulling on a cable with his bare hands?" As in the last movie, writer (and in this one, director) Paul W. S. Anderson sacrifices logic with a vengeance on his altar to Milla, who of course reprises her role as Alice. In fact, Anderson isn't happy with just one Alice, so he opens the movie with a whole strike force of cloned Alices, invading one of the Umbrella Corporation's outposts. If Anderson has his way in the sequels (and based on the ending of this one, it's clear that sequels are coming), we may actually see a movie consisting completely of Alices, fighting each other in slow motion, in the rain.

But cooler heads will probably prevail, and there will still be other characters in the plot, such as it is. Zombies are barely part of the story now, other than as obstacles to Alice as she wages her vendetta against the Umbrella Corporation. If you take out all the fight scenes from this movie, you can see that this was really only a short escalation in that conflict, setting up for the next movie. Anderson is probably going to milk this for as long as he can, mixing a small advancement in plot with a whole lot of gunfire for each movie. When Milla gets too old for the part, CGI will be advanced enough that Anderson can use a simulation of Alice instead, so that in the year 2050 we might actually see how this ends.

Anyone who has seen the previous movies will know pretty much what kind of movie they're going to get. I've never played any of the video games, so I couldn't say how close or not this is to those, but maybe the lack of plot is also due in part to the effort to recreate one of the games on the screen. They could do so much more with this storyline, but then they would risk alienating the audience that just wants to see some brainless action. And let's face it, the formula seems to be working for them, since the fan base is pretty solid. However, it doesn't work for me.

To give credit where it's due, the movie makes excellent use of 3-D technology. As in all the previous films, the visuals are the most striking part, and in this case the 3-D brings them to new heights. If something in the film's writing made me cringe, I could always admire the depth of field in the scene instead. If you must watch this film, do yourself a favor and watch it in 3-D; that way you will feel less ripped off when you leave.