DIRECTOR: Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER: Paul W.S. Anderson
Alice is still on a mission to take down the Umbrella Corporation and Albert Wesker. When she discovers that Alaska isn't the safe haven she originally thought it would be, she flies to LA to take refuge with a small group of survivors who are living in a walled prison surrounded by hordes of the undead. When Alice quickly discovers the safe haven is a large carrier ship off the coast of Los Angeles, she and the remaining survivors must try and make it to safety alive.
When I decided to watch and review the entire Resident Evil series before Resident Evil: The Final Chapter made its way into theatres. I was talking to a friend of mine about how I felt about each Resident Evil film. Telling him which ones I enjoyed and which I didn't. I explained to him how I would've been happy if they had ended the series after Resident Evil: Extinction as I felt it was an excellent way to go out on a high point after the disappointing sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
The reason I bring all this up is, before writing my Resident Evil: Afterlife review, I read a rather interesting and in-depth interview with Paul W.S. Anderson about the Resident Evil series. I know the guy cops a lot of hate as a film director, but I'm not exactly one of his detractors. I liked Mortal Kombat, I adored Event Horizon, I even love the first Resident Evil. I also enjoyed his first film Shopping and the remake of Death Race. The guy makes loud, bombastic action movies as well as fun genre fare. He's clearly not Orson Welles and probably never will be. He even mentions that this is the stuff he enjoys making and he won't change.
In the interview, he also went onto talk about how he always planned on making two Resident Evil trilogies. The first three movies and a second trilogy which would all be shot in 3D. I'm not a massive fan of 3D. I don't enjoy the format all that much. I'm a sucker for the 2D experience and will always choose that over 3D if possible. But this was a huge revelation for me as I now got why I have always felt that the first three movies always made much more sense to me and I wasn't crash hot on Resident Evil: Afterlife or Resident Evil: Retribution when I first saw them in theatres.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is another situation where I felt like the Resident Evil series went sort of backward after the previous instalment. After seeing all six films in the franchise, I can now safely say that Afterlife is my least favourite film in the series. Apocalypse was messy, but I still felt that it was just a little more entertaining than Afterlife. I think Apocalypse is ahead due to Nemesis being the big villain of the film which gave a sense of nostalgia as was seeing Jill Valentine even if both characters were underused and the final annihilation of Raccoon City.
I think the most significant issue with this film is that the 3D element was used more like a gimmick than a way to propel the story forward. Yes, Afterlife has a story at its core, but for me, it just wasn't as entertaining as the first three films. Every bit of this movie's promotion was a way to state that this is the best 3D technology in the world. They even dropped James Cameron's name to try and get patrons butts in seats, and it worked. The 3D is well done, but that's all it is, all style and not much substance.
This movie feels like it has the weakest story of the lot. It feels like it's all filler. Alice goes from one set piece and situation to another, but there doesn't feel like there is much emotion or heart in the film. This feels like the coldest entry of the series. As I said above, it has no real substance. Many would argue that the rest don't either, but for me, this feels like part one of a two-part final like Mockingjay or Deathly Hallows if I could compare it to anything. The movie is just there to give way to these next two Resident Evil movies.
I found myself not caring for any of the supporting characters either. Every single one of them minus Chris and Claire Redfield are disposable. Alice is still the heart of these films, but even she is just here to be a kickass heroine who is stuck trying to save all of these terribly written supporting players who I didn't care for. The film again is all about the action and spectacle and less about anything else. I think this also plays a major part in the performances as well. A lot of the acting wasn't that great. I think Wentworth Miller is completely wasted as is Kim Coates. They could've had his villain go to darker places, but he is there to chew the scenery. Standouts are Milla and Ali Larter who both carry this film.
The 3D in the film is excellent. This is an extremely polished looking film. It feels like all the budget went into the special effects. As I stated above, it's now clear that Paul W.S. Anderson wanted to do a trilogy in the third dimension and he's succeeded. The movie is very nice to look at. We have a lot of slo-mo action as well as some gorgeous looking cinematography throughout the movie. I can't fault any of the visual effects or the camera work in this film. Paul W.S. Anderson deserves at least the credit of doing a well-made action, sci-fi horror film.
Lastly, when it comes to the action in the movie, this is top-notch. The shower attack scene with Clair and The Executioner is a standout. It's probably one of my favourite moments in the entire series. We also have a fantastic showdown between Alice and hordes of zombies where she loads a sawn-off shotgun with coins and the carnage is fantastic. The movie continues being a bloody and gory affair with lots of exploding heads. It's just a shame all the action removes all tension, or any real decent jump scares from the film.
DEATH TOLL: 186 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A zombie attacks a man on a public street in Tokyo.
- A lot of zombie headshots.
- A rooftop full of zombies is blown up.
- Hordes of zombies plummet over a building.
- A crowd of zombies is splattered by a plane propeller.
- A piece of glass is kicked into a zombie Doberman.
- Many Umbrella Corp. soldiers are shot and killed.
- A security general is shot in the head.
- Soldiers and Alice clones are blown up.
- An Alice clone is shot through the chest.
- Majini zombies are shot in the face and head.
- A Majini zombie is stabbed in the face.
- Someone is shot in the chest with lots of blood spray.
- Someone is sliced in half.
- Two soldiers are stabbed in the stomach.
- Two soldiers are sliced through the stomach with a sword.
- A soldier is stabbed in the head with a sword.
- Groups of soldiers are decapitated and killed with ninja stars.
- Blood pouring out of someone's mouth.
- A sniper is killed by a flying creature.
- Two zombie Dobermans heads split open.
- People are pulled into holes by Majini zombies.
- A woman is grabbed and bitten on the head by a Majini zombie.
- The executioner zombie is shot with coin bullets.
- The executioner zombie's head is blown up.
- Someone is stabbed in the head.
- A zombie Doberman is riddled with coins.
- Zombies are ripped apart by bullet coins.
- Someone's head is blown out and they're repeatedly shot.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is sadly the worst film in the franchise in my opinion. While it is gorgeous on a technical level, the score by Tomandandy is also fantastic. The film has a few solid action set-pieces, but it's all style over substance here, and I know that in a Resident Evil movie, that's alright, but for me, I feel that Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Extinction had more heart and emotion than Afterlife and a lot more substance.