Friday, December 31, 2010

Resident Evil Afterlife: Home Video Review

Release Date: September 10, 2010

Review Vital Stats:
Format: Blu-ray
Player: LG Model 370
Picture Quality: High-Definition
Sound Quality: High-Definition

Loves: The Resident Evil videogame series, zombie movies
Neutral: Milla Jovovich
Hates: The Resident Evil movie series
Surprised: How many zombies die due to dual wielded weapons

Why is this series still being made? I mean the only people that still seem to think it is cool and love it are the actual people that make it. I thought the first film was a deeply flawed adaptation of the videogame series and a fairly decent zombie movie for its time. Apocalypse was a little more true to the game series and brought in some characters from the Resident Evil universe finally but still wasn't a very good film. Extinction was a complete departure from anything resembling the game series and was a semi-decent zombie/Mad Max roadie flick. Afterlife though is the worst of the bunch and that my friends is saying something.

For this fourth entry into this series we see the return of the man responsible for the first film. Yes, Paul W.S. Anderson has reclaimed the directors chair to bring us this completely insulting extension to Resident Evil film series. Now, I do not hold any of the other films up to any high standards, not in the least (being a fan of the game series not withstanding). But man, when you go into a film with expectations already at an all time low and still come out of it slack jawed at the ineptitude of everyone involved in its production, that is some kind of miracle. I am now at the point where I actually want to see more of this series just to see how much more they can possibly get wrong.

Three times the Milla, three times the pain...mentally.

OK, the story up to this point has been about Alice (Milla Jovovich) and her entanglements with the Umbrella Corporation run by Albert Wesker. Their experiments with the lethal T-virus has led to a planet overrun with zombies and other little creatures that stalk all the remaining humans scattered across the globe. Through Alice's travels she has made some friends, most of which have died by this point or have just been completely forgotten about cough...Jill Valentine...cough. The main survivor she has befriended is Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) whom she met in the third film. At the end of that film she had sent Claire and whatever other survivors they had away towards a safe haven called Arcadia. Alice does not join them on this journey because she made quite the discovery at the end of the last film...she has found about a hundred clones of herself. Oh my, the possibilities of seeing all those Millas kicking zombie ass...

Afterlife starts out with her invading the Umbrella facility in Tokyo where Wesker has been hiding out with his Japanese army. At this point in the Resident Evil time line we know that Alice has these super human powers and can make shit blow up real good with a simple thought. When she attacks that Tokyo base we see that she has made friends with all her clones we saw at the end of the last film and together with their powers combined they rip the crap out of that place. Wesker being the slippery bad guy he is gets away and detonates a bomb that literally takes a piece of Tokyo with it (along with all her clone buddies...sad face). Alice now must make for Arcadia to meet up with her friends so that they can all live happily ever Sorry, it had to be done.

If anyone else is sick of the one-handed-hand-plant-landing-while-striking-a-cool-pose please raise your hand...

This movie is stupid. I cannot think of any other way to put it. It is bad enough that the three films that came before it shit all over the good name of the Capcom game series but now it squats over its own lineage and drops a large steaming one on it as well. It is actually quite an achievement that nobody, the director, writer or actors, seem bothered by the fact that everything those previous films were building up to was dealt with and thrown aside in the first 10 minutes of this film only to have us right back at square one again. I didn't hold out much hope for where this series was going but they could have at least had the common decency to stick to their guns. I am declaring the rest of this review heavy spoiler territory from this point forward because I don't think there is a soul left on this planet that gives a shit.

My biggest gripe for this series has always been and always shall be that they never really used the characters from the game series as their main characters. They always ended up being these side characters played by some really horrible actors. The Alice character is hampered by two things for me, first being that Milla Jovovich plays her and second being that I don't give a dam about that character. I learned to live with her as the main character though despite how irritating she was. But where they really screwed the pooch in this fourth installment is that they took away everything she was building up to be in the last two films. Those powers she developed and kicked ass with...gone. Those clones she discovered and partnered up with to kick ass...gone. Three films worth of development are nixed in the opening scenes of this film without even a reason other than to be done with them forever.

About midway through the film I was found scratching this in my front lawn...

Alice loses her powers to Wesker who just so happened to have a needle filled with this magic liquid that makes Alice human again by destroying the T-virus cells in her body (the cells are actually in the shape of f**king T's). Why he didn't just poison her given the chance I have no idea. The clones were worthless and served no real purpose other than seeing multiple Alice's die. I actually thought it was funny that not only did the real Alice (you can tell she is the real Alice because her hair isn't slicked back) sat at the back of Wesker's jet and doesn't attempt to kill him until after he detonates the bomb that killed her buddies, but when she has her powers sucked away she thanks him for it. I know there was supposed be some sort of revelation that she was happy to be human again but give me a break, in a world filled with zombies you want to be the super human don't you?

Oh boy, the zombies. What the f**k happened there? You sit through 30 minutes of nothing until you see your first real zombie and for a 90 minute film that is ridiculous. And these are some of the greatest and dumbest zombies you will ever come across. At one point a couple of zombies dig their way into a fortified building. And I don't mean they clawed their way through, the tunnel system they made is pretty dam impressive. I half expected to see some living quarters down there. Then they turn right around and jump off a dam building after their dinner like lemmings. I suppose that maybe some are smarter than others but that is a huge difference in intellect there. Without a doubt the greatest crime this film does is limit the zombie action to only a couple of scenes that aren't even noteworthy. I want my zombies dam it!

Hold on here a sec...dual Millas dual wielding...amazing!

What is noteworthy though is all the amazing dual wielding weapon action we get. At first I didn't take much notice but man, everybody in this thing is packing a dual wield somewhere. All the clones sport these dual SMGs or dual Katanas. Wesker whips out dual Desert Eagles, Alice has dual revolvers and dual shotguns. She later lends the dual revolvers to Chris Redfield so he could get in on the action. At one point they raid this armory filled with all kinds of fun looking weapons that you know will kick some ass but apparently these zombies don't go down unless you are dual wielding because later on we see they didn't take anything from that armory and just continue to dual wield the same old guns they had before. I have never before seen such a blatant attempt at being cool and failing at every turn before in my life, apparently someone out there in movieland still thinks that dual wielding a gun is the most badass thing you can do this side of landing from a fall in an awesome pose because this film is littered with them.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention what the rest of the film holds for those brave enough to venture beyond those revelatory opening minutes. I guess its because it is all nonsense and doesn't mean anything. That's right, I have no idea what anyone was trying to do. There is the Arcadia safe haven ship out in the distance that this small band of survivors held up in a prison want to get to but that's it. Alice does meet up with Claire again where she has been sorry, brainwashed (the device was attached to her breast area...sue me). In what has to be one of the quickest recoveries of brainwashing ever coupled with a miracle in make up (she is all dirty when she is crazy but the second she is sane again she looks like she just got out of a beauty salon) she and Alice are all buddy buddy again. When they reach the prison is when we really get a strong been-there-done-that feeling. This is well traveled territory for not only zombie movies but this series in general.

They just finished reading the script it seems.

The people they meet there aren't even worth mentioning. I was able to call out who would die and in what order immediately and I was proven right for each one of them. The only thing of note that happens at all here is the attack by the Axe man, and no I am not talking about the deodorant. This guy is straight out of the Resident Evil 5 game (as is the new breed of zombie that his never explained or mentioned) and despite him being a slight breath of fresh air in this otherwise stale movie I couldn't help but think to myself, what the f**k is he doing in this? I can only imagine the confusion for anyone not knowing where this guy came from because he literally just shows up and starts hammering down the prison doors. And even for people like me that know his origin it still doesn't make any god dam sense. It's as if the director saw a clip from the new game with him in it and was like "Oh snap, we need to put that in here somewhere, I don't care where!".

And I think that is the biggest failing of this film and the entire series as a whole. They can't please simple movie goers because they keep throwing in all this crap from the games and don't ever explain any of it and the game series fans like myself just sit back and wonder with every attempt they make to appeal to us why do they even bother? There are sooo many other problems with this film but I think I am done with this one. I used to hate this series because of how it tarnished such a great game series but now I just hate it because it is such a bad film series. Here is hoping that the inevitable sequel Resident Evil: Dual Wield never sees the light of day. I don't think I need to clarify my feelings on this one any more than I already have but here ya go just the same...



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