If the Afterlife Exists, it’s Not This Corny

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
Spoilers: none

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The video game-based Resident Evil line-up continues, with its experimental bio-weaponry and global zombie apocalyptic themes, about a deadly T-virus that has caused most of the world's population to turn into undead flesh-eaters, compelling the creators of the virus to retreat underground to carry on their research.

With only a handful of straggler survivors left on the dead surface, this fourth movie in the series brings us nothing new but high-tech schematic visuals to go with thrown shurikens, swung samurai swords, and heavily copied Matrix-style flips and special effects – not to forget an overly-villainous, bullet-dodging, sunglasses-wearing bad guy (Shawn Roberts), who is nothing but a shameless rip-off of Agent Smith – always with his own set of scripted-sounding lines.

At the opening, corny moments of panic and terror on the faces of victims are a signpost of more incompetent directing and writing to come in the form of our lead lady, Alice (Milla Jovovich), going to Alaska to find a rumored refuge called Arcadia. Finding no survivors, she falls into a deep despair, but reunites with an old friend, Claire (Ali Carter). Despite hard times, both remembered to pack enough makeup and lipstick to look good for the cameras during these apocalyptic times of deserted strongholds and overcast skies.

The straight-as-a-board plot is about as interesting as a streetlight, improving only a little as the story unfolds before the introduction of a few survivors found on the top of a building. Among others, we have a basketball star (Boris Kodjoe) and a conniving former Hollywood movie producer whose presences are laughable (just not in a good way). Prison Break's “Michael Scofield” (Wentworth Miller) plays Chris Redfield, who joins the crew to help them escape. Some of the chummy, pass-the-time dialog is worse than the acting and almost as bad as the writing itself.

The movie does incorporate plenty of explosive action and elements from the Capcom video game that fans will enjoy. The problem is, some are never explained to allow them to make sense to non-gamers. Take, for instance, Executioner Majini, an undead wielding a large warhammer/battle ax. The audience is left to wonder how this element is to fit in. The characters themselves appear not to know.

This film and the three waning works before it take a popular game platform and capitalize on it with the craze for the (by now old) zombie apocalypse grind. Even the fans should consider themselves warned about this shipwreck, which can only be expected to win favor with those who have a held-over soft spot from its days as a once-sought-after PlayStation game.

(JH)

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Grade: D+ (1 ½ stars)
Rated: R (for sequences of strong violence and language)
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Summary: While still out to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation, Alice joins a group of survivors who want to relocate to the mysterious but supposedly unharmed safe haven known only as Arcadia.
Starring: Milla Jovovich "Alice," Ali Larter "Claire Redfield," Kim Coates "Bennett," Shawn Roberts "Albert Wesker," Sergio Peris-Mencheta "Angel Ortiz," Spencer Locke "K-Mart," Boris Kodjoe "Luther West," Wentworth Miller "Chris Redfield," Norman Yeung "Kim Yong"
Genre: Action / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Trailer

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