The Umbrella Corporation is back in full swing. Alice and Claire, however, are not.
“Resident Evil: Afterlife” strips the female duo down to the bare bones of their existence, and it kind of works. I say “kind of” because the film was completely entertaining, but it did take a few steps backwards for me. The characters are a bit less fully realized in this installment. For a sequel to a widely-appreciated franchise, “Afterlife” seemed like it still had it’s training wheels on, and I think I know why: 3D. Visually the film spared no expense. It was a treat for the eyes and it’s very apparent that careful consideration was taken with camera angles to compliment the 3D possibilities. Rain was made to look cool, bullets were flying at your face, and my favorite 3D effect was one in which blood seems to stain said 3D glasses — it’s a great technique that was wildly effective. In fact, tt’s hard to believe, coming out of “Afterlife,” that the first three films WEREN’T in 3D.
However, “Afterlife” bummed me out in a few aspects, and it kills me to say that, because I am a supporter of the franchise (I still get down with Code Veronica on my PS2). Story-lines were not followed through and even more action sequences were desired. I will give credit where credit is due, and the one thing the “Resident Evil” films have excelled at, is keeping the continuity consistent between films. But I feel Ali Larter got totally ripped off in this. Her character is kind of just “there” as a set decoration. It’s a real shame because Claire has become a staple for fans, not only because Ali is gorgeous, but because we empathize with her, and we empathize because Ali has given such sturdy performances. Milla Jovovich got ripped off, in my opinion, as well. Without giving up too much of the plot, let’s just say that the third film, “Extinction,” built up and built up to a certain idea of what Jovovich’s character Alice could be, and then completely stripped it in the beginning of “Afterlife.” That’s not to say Milla didn’t take what she was handed and turn over a great action performance — she certainly did. I just think the core audience for this film is going to feel cheated, because fans have built Alice up to be one bad ass chick, who raises the bar with each chapter of her Umbrella Corporation scandals.
The supporting cast also did its job — supporting the action and movement of the film towards an end … wait, who are we kidding, did you really think this would be the end? No chance in hell. Not only does “Afterlife” leave room for a fifth film, it might as well have ended with a message from the director stating the fifth film’s release date, official name and Twitter and Facebook pages.
All in all, the film was decent, if you happen to be an avid fan. If you aren’t a huge fan, or haven’t seen the first three films, then “Afterlife” likely is not for you. You will more than likely be confused, and a little taken aback by the blood and guts. The gore, and stellar rock score, are for me, the saving graces of the film. Visually awesome — with some great kill shots, some rockin’ tunes for our heroes and heroines, fully-realized 3D effects and the face smashing that I know and love — “Resident Evil” Afterlife” is by no means a bad film.
And I do realize that I am asking a lot of this type of movie. It’s a campy zombie film, and it plays perfectly to the audience it is geared toward. The crowd reactions were great, with everyone literally rooting for Alice and cheering when a zombie gets hammered. That would be my only other complaint, not too much diversity or screen time for our undead screen gems. I suggest seeing this film if you are a fan of all things “Resident Evil,” and I suggest seeing it in 3D only, IMAX even better, but don’t take less than 3D or you will be missing out.
If you are a newcomer to the series, make it an event, watch the first films, then go see “Afterlife” in 3D. I don’t think you will be disappointed, I don’t think you will be singing OSCAR praises, but I DO think you will have a good time. Entertainment is not necessarily always going to be an OSCAR competitor. On the Jess scale, I give Afterlife 3D a solid “pay to see it in IMAX, if you wait for DVD you will be highly disappointed.”
As an aside, what do you think the next film is going to be called? What’s after “Afterlife”? “Resident Evil: Purgatory”? Let me know in the comments section.
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Follow Jessika Owens on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jessika.