The RESIDENT EVIL film franchise kicked off all of the way back in 2002 with Paul WS Anderson at the helm. The series was welcomed with a huge fanfare and indeed terrible reviews, but boy did it make a lot of money at the box-office. A $100 million plus box-office haul guaranteed a sequel, and two years later it came in the form of RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE. Despite not making any more money, the film did turn a profit, so again part three, RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION was rolled into production and then released in 2007. The fourth film, RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE made it to cinemas in 2010, and this week was released to the home formats, original writer/ director back at the helm, an Milla Jovovich reprising her role as Alice.
The new film sees Alice unite with a group of survivors in most apocalyptic, and indeed zombie infested Los Angeles. The entire movie sees them try to escape the high-rise skyscraper to the safe haven of the mysterious ‘Arcadia’. The only thing that stand in their was is the hundreds of blood hungry walking dead surrounding them.
I kind of liked the sound of the premise, despite not being a fan of the original movie I was interesting in seeing why Anderson returned to the franchise that he helped create. Riding of the success of DEATH RACE, which while brainless and forgetful, did actually entertain me. Unfortunately RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE didn’t.
Things I liked (let’s start with the positive). I loved the introduction of the character of Chris Redfield (from the original game), I loved the huge axe/ blade wielding maniac in a hood and I loved a middle-point action sequence where Alice does a John McClane off of said LA skyscraper with dozens of brainless zombies following her, and thus plunging to their (second) death. That’s… about it.
Things that I didn’t like. Where to start… okay, the script. Point one; You know a bad script when you are watching the film for the very first time and are starting to quote the lines before the actors say them. Point two; the acting. Wentworth Miller is inroduced as Chris Redfield, but unfortunately has very little meat to feed off. The character has no depth and isn’t explored as much as I would have like it to have been; especially as I remembered him from the game, and really wanted to see where the filmmakers would take him in this… nowhere. Point three; the 3D, or lack of it on DVD (the format in which I reviewed it). There is no 3D option, but the film is literred with objects constantly being thrown at the camera, be it bullets, ninja stars, coins, big f-off axes or Milla Jovovich’s two big guns. Action set pieces are set up and executed gratuitously for the new format, which bar one scene in a water soaked shower room in the middle part of the film, do not work on the small screen. It really started to annoy me after a while.
I could go on. The simple fact is that while I enjoyed some parts of this movie, as a whole it just resembled another run of the mill video game adaptation with a script that contains a plot so thin that it just about manages to link the many, many mediocre action sequences together.
I have read some reviews online, and some fans seem to dig the movie, along with the previous efforts, so I will say that if you did enjoy the last couple of movies, maybe give it a go. Just try to not be too distracted by the 3D elements, created for the theatrical version that indeed are left redundant here.
The Extras: Filmmaker Commentary, Band of Survivors, Casting Afterlife, Fighting Back and The Action of Afterlife featurettes. More than generous for the single disc release.
Our friends at LOVEFiLM have a huge back catalogue including RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE, you can also now watch movies online as well as rent them.