Resident Evil “Afterlife” Review

The Resident Evil team attempt to take out the writers....

Did you really expect something different than from before?

The problem with an old dog is you just can’t teach it new tricks. Especially when that dog has made a series of movies that makes $100,000,000 over its budget each time.

You can just see the formuliac process that must go on as the poor old script writer sits at his table surrounded by the producer, director and numerous other suits telling him…”yep…a prison….we haven’t done that before….yep Alice clones there….we can afford this many on the budget we have….yep….dogs we need them again…but this time they are slightly different. Even the ending is written by committee as a character we are sure is deceased comes back from the dead and a fan favourite character puts an appearance in the end credits just because….well we could afford the 50k for one days work. Make no mistake….most of the fault on this movie lies at the feet of the truly awful script.

Oops….I just noticed that the writer is also the director…..doh!

So what happens is we get almost three different movies sandwiched together….the wrap up of the promised continuation in Part 3 as Alice and her clones invade the umbrella HQ in Japan, then the search for the survivors left behind from the t-virus outbreak and finally a whole extra assault on another Umbrella base. Then we get another cliff hanger and basically wonder if Bobby Ewing is about to climb out of the shower. It really is that shallow.

"Nice props...now make sure when we auction this off we seperate EVERYTHING!"

Its a shame because the sequence where Alice invades Tokyo is really rather good. The CGI sets are convincing…the action exciting and the acting fairly lifeless…but Im not sure if any of us came for that anyway. We just want to see beautiful people firing big guns at each other and we get that…except we get it in gorgeous 3D….and my friends thats the sole reason Im gonna recommend this movie.

The 3D is great.

Rose tinted glasses these are not!

The film is a fine example of why films should be shot with the camera and not up converted like “Clash of the Titans”. 3D is a fad…but when a giant axe comes tumbling out of the screen, or a long zoom in shot makes people experience momentary vertigo….you know its worth the effort.

Unfortunately once the film slows down and begins the search for the others it slows down and a promising series of set pieces just become tedious. Wentworth Millers Chris Redfield is interesting. He channels some of the game character and makes it cool…unfortunately the film doesn’t know what to do with him and he becomes another cipher. Even a sub plot with his sister not remembering him is just a matter of convenience and quickly forgotten. Even Alice suffers as her super powers are removed early on by Albert Wesker and becomes slightly less super powered than before.

Unfortunately Shawn Roberts Wesker is about as cardboard as they come.

The magic 8 ball says "unlikely" when asked if theres an oscar in Shawns near future

What could have been a really cool villain comes across stiff and never becomes anything more than just another obstacle to be knocked over before the budget runs out. Sadly having spent alot in the first 20 minutes, the end although cool is never on the same scale as the start of the film.

I was lucky enough to play the first game when it came out, and of course the series hit its high with the second game. Ever since then “Resident Evil” has been a true stand out series. Although the movies decided to make their own continuity they have liberally borrowed locations, creatures and set pieces from the games, to usually poor effect….and although some moments like the Axeman fight invoke fond memories of the game sadly they don’t do anything more than copy and poorly at that. The makeup and costume design on the Axeman IS very good though just like the same team who made The Nemesis for the second film. A missed opportunity was to have Wesker become a giant creature and a final fight on the outside of the boat? Well by this time I think imagination and budget were gone……much like the audiences goodwill.

So what are we left with. A great example of 3D with some nice visuals that do elevate the material slightly, a by the numbers script, solid yet unremarkable action performances from all and a few decent set pieces. Its a popcorn movie….except its September and like the last days of summer….the warmth is fading fast…just like our memory of this film will.

Now being a prop website I also want to address the annoying way in which the props are used in this movie like a checklist.

Just one more closeup please!

It runs something like this….(1) Show grenade….(2) throw grenade (3) Never see prop again. Cool ninja sword….(1) shown (2) lost. Cool Ninja stars (1) in case (2) thrown in 3D (3) done. Its amazing…its like a prop buyers worst nightmare of seeing something cool for one shot never to return.

Blink and you miss it...

Premiereprops did well out of listing the items before the movie came out, because once the buyers see there items on screen for a fraction of a second then at least they can see it was screenused but only just. Its such a shame and some of the stuff just makes no sense…and yet it does! See if you really notice that the whole idea of both props and movie is to just make something cool that isn’t seen again…then you finally understand this film.

Nuff said.

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