Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife (Movie Review)

(Mild Spoilers Below)

Although I’ve only played some of the first two video games in the “Resident Evil” series, I’ve watched all of the movies and enjoyed them for what they were,which wasn’t a lot. The same is true of the 4th movie in the series.

At the end of “Resident Evil: Extinction”, the implied promise is made that Alice and friends would finally storm the underground headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation and take them out once and for all. If you were hoping “Afterlife” would play this out and give you the closure you’ve been waiting for in this series, enjoy the first ten minutes and then leave the theater. This movie ends with yet another cliffhanger.

Rather than giving us the all out, crazy cool culmination of this series, the script practically resets the status-quo to that of the first or second movie, very early on. Alice’s T-virus powers are taken away and Umbrella is as hidden and elusive as ever. In fact, due to a particular plot element, Alice even has to “meet” Claire Redfield all over again.

Despite this disappointing downward turn in the series’ overall progression, the movie still has plenty of fun to be had for many viewers. Creature fans will enjoy the nasty looking zombies and their “tongues”, while action fans will dig the bullets, explosions and use of slow-motion, even if a few shots early on were taken directly from the Matrix movies.

The movie creates a modest degree of tension, but is not what I would consider scary. One might even say the heroes are a little too cool for their own good. Some genuine fear in their eyes would have helped quite a bit. The script also seems more interested in providing Hollywood in-jokes (bashing on film producers) and video game fan satisfaction (the use of Chris and Claire to deliver the “final blow” near the end) than it is in creating a truly compelling story.

Characters are two dimensional and unworthy of emotional investment(which hurts the intensity of the film). And the script occasionally contains elements that don’t make sense. (Why did the T-virus make one zombie put a potato bag on his head, and why bring the basketball star back for a lame one-liner?) Maybe playing all the games would answer my questions, but I don’t think I should have to do that.

I can’t think of any worthwhile discussion that this movie might lend itself to. Pure mindless genre entertainment for those with the itch to scratch.

Rated R for sequences of strong violence and language.

Quality: 7.5/10

Relevance: 5.0/10

1 comment:

  1. I saw it Sunday night. It was alright. I should say, for the record, that I've never played any of the video games, so my only exposure to the franchise is through the films. I enjoyed the first two, but was rather disappointed in part 3. This one was better than 3, but still not as good as the first two.

    Likewise, I was disappointed that it chose to end on a cliffhanger.