Yes, I’ve been gone for quite a while and as a result, this blog has been quieter than a church mouse graveyard. Still, I’ve seen a lot of films and will try my best to remember and catalogue them on this here site. To ease me back into the process, I’m reviewing Resident Evil: Afterlife– the latest in the increasingly ludicrous zombie killin’ franchise released in shameless 3D.
The plot is both simplistic and barely there, which makes for tough summarising. Alice (Milla Jovovich) and Claire (Ali Larter) continue their battle against the all-powerful Umbrella Corporation, headed by Dagenham’s third best David Bowie impersonator, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). Along the way, fan-favourite character and Claire’s brother, Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller) joins the fray. From the off, it’s clear what Afterlife‘s intentions are: to pack as many gun fights in the running time as possible, whilst occasionally reminding you why you have those retarded glasses on your face by having something pop out at you. Many people would blame the lack of plot and the abundance of stock characters and phrases on the source material- the long running video game series, but this isn’t entirely fair. Whilst there is more fan service in this film than any other, the film ignores all of the good points of the games and makes up some new story full of everything we’ve seen 100 times before and stopped caring about by the 5th time. The Matrix was 11 fucking years ago, do we really need another lobby type scene? Or how about another falling and shooting slo-mo scene, like the one in The Matrix: Reloaded, proudly touted on the above poster? This is just rehashing to make a quick buck.
I initially approached Afterlife with guarded enthusiasm. After all, I’m always banging on about action like it pays my rent and keeps me warm at night. As as rule of thumb, if shit gets blown up, I’m smiling. However, when Jovotits started decimating everything with a literal glare about 5 minutes into the film, my smile faded and was replaced with some kind of frustrated gurn. It was too damn juvenile. I didn’t want to see bullets flying towards me in stupid 3D, I didn’t want to see Jovovadge flipping around in slo-mo like her spine had been swapped for a Slinky. What Afterlife fails to grasp is that you can’t just build a film around what you think looks cool.
Afterlife is a gimmick film. “Nuthin’ wrong with that.”, you may grunt, but Afterlife doesn’t even play to what few strengths it has. Surely in a zombie franchise, you’d expect some zombies. And they are present. For a bit, anyway. After an admittedly impressive bird’s eye view of the now completely fucked Los Angeles, teeming with the undead, we barely see them again. It’s idiotic. We don’t even get a 3D shot of a zombie with arms reaching out from the screen- something which I was sure was a dead cert. The film instead focuses on the boring, sub-standard Wesker- who reminded me of Seann William-Scott doing an Agent Smith impression and the Nemesis monster- a big, lumbering prick with a sack on his head. ‘Nuff said.
So, Afterlife is rubbish. As both a fan of action films and of the Resident Evil games, I was disappointed on both counts. I’d be fine if it was considered a misstep and the inevitable sequel was stripped back down to the basics, but it’s already the most profitable of the franchise so it’s only going to get shittier from here. Join me and bail out of this franchise now before those pesky women and children get there first. It’s the only sane way.