Monday 27 June 2011

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

A tired series looking for reasons to continue churning out the installments attempts a 3D version. It doesn't matter: Resident Evil: Afterlife may as well be a Roadrunner cartoon, the franchise that started with the engaging original Resident Evil has degenerated into a choppy sequence of contrived theatrical set-pieces, exaggerated, outlandish and devoid of any emotion.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) has developed superhuman powers due to her unique DNA bonding with the mysterious T-virus, developed by the evil Umbrella corporation. Alice can now clone herself, and the movie opens with an army of Alices attacking and eventually destroying the Tokyo headquarters of Umbrella, and apparently killing Umbrella leader Wesker (Shawn Roberts), who himself is also infected with the T-virus.

Alice flies a small plane to Alaska to try and find the mythical town of Arcadia, an apparently virus-free community ready to reboot humanity. She reconnects with her friend Claire (Ali Larter), but there is no town of Arcadia. Claire and Alice fly down the coast and arrive at a devastated Los Angeles. They land on top of a large prison building, where a few surviving humans are holed up, surrounded by hordes of zombies, and wondering how to escape to the real Arcadia: a large container ship off the coast of LA. A few battles later, the human survivors with Alice's help make it onto Arcadia, which is actually controlled by Umbrella and the healthy-again Wesker, and being used for further nefarious virus tests. Alice and her buddies need to stop Wesker once and for all, but the one certainty is that before the credits roll, yet another sequel will be set-up.

The massively computer-aided action sequences play out like exquisitely choreographed ballet dances, bullets and bodies flying, twirling, and catapulting in all directions, and are certainly artistic, but they do not a movie make, and this is all that Resident Evil: Afterlife has to offer.

Jovovich and Larter go through the motions, projecting abject boredom, and looking forward only to the part where they cash their cheques. The other cast members were picked up from the corner store of discounted cardboard action movie rejects. Director Paul W. S. Anderson appears to be content building a comfortable but unambitious resume filled with sequels and derivative bottom-crawling actioneers.

The Resident Evil series is proving a theory that was once unthinkable: even an activity as fun as killing countless zombies can become tedious.

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