Friday, September 24, 2010

Movie Review - Resident Evil Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife is the fourth installment in the zombie-apocalypse franchise based on Capcom’s survival-horror video game series. The original Resident Evil  film was a forgettable but enjoyable action-horror adaptation. The plot was convoluted but kept the focus tight, limited to a group of survivors as they escaped from a zombie-infested underground research facility. A twist at the end of the movie split the franchise from the video game source material – detonating the manageable focus into an over-the-top global apocalypse.

Resident Evil: Afterlife is the first of the sequels to be shot in Avatar-style 3D. The first film's director, Paul W.S. Anderson, is back at the helm for this sequel, which takes Alice – once again played by Milla Jovovich – from Tokyo to Alaska and finally to a zombie-ravaged L.A.

Resident Evil: Afterlife continues the story of Alice as she attempts to enact revenge on franchise-favorite, Albert Wesker and the Umbrella Corporation – a bio-engineering company responsible for genetic experimentation that led to the global zombie apocalypse. The first forty-five minutes of the film are the equivalent of Anderson taking a red pen to everything that made the previous Resident Evil installments slapdash and soulless – a lot of the more absurd-threads get purged and the story settles into a more manageable narrative: Alice’s investigation of Arcadia – a zombie-free zone, where survivors attempt to rebuild human civilization.

In her search, Alice is reunited with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and the two travel to Los Angeles where they meet zombie-food, I mean the supporting cast. The new survivors are mostly Hollywood caricatures, literally: Bennett (Kim Coates) is a smarmy movie producer, Kim Yong (Norman Yeung) is Bennett’s over-eager intern, Crystal (Kacey Barnfield) is an aspiring actress, and their leader, Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), is a star basketball player. They’re not terrible characters but their cookie-cutter design reveals the biggest problem with the film, as well as the Resident Evil film franchise: the films aren’t about people trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse, they’re about finding the most intense, over the top, ways to kill zombies in an apocalypse.

While the story's a bit slow at times, Resident Evil: Afterlife  ultimately delivers what fans of the series crave: plenty of unbridled zombie-killin' action. The film holds a few surprises for fans (be sure to stay for a very special cameo during the end credits), and promises of yet another sequel.

No comments:

Post a Comment