“Resident Evil: Afterlife” opens with a girl standing amidst the rain in the middle of a street in Japan. People walk by her, holding their umbrellas close. She’s not carrying one…because she’s a zombie. For some reason she decides not to kill anyone until the camera moves closer to her face.
There are a multitude of cuts between a birds-eye view of Wet-Zombie-Girl and the camera rising from her feet to her head. The loud, unnecessary music in the scene appears to be announcing that this is the beginning of the movie. I even started chanting that fact. Sadly, no one else did.
This film is everything I knew it wouldn’t be: a flagrant overuse of special effects – particularly 3D – characters who are less than flat, and a complete lack of story or plot. The main objective for the characters is to survive the zombie infestation by traveling from point A to point B.
The film follows the infamous Alice (Milla Jovovich), who apparently has super powers. After the movie’s loud introduction, Alice explains the general happenings in the previous films – as if that was necessary.
The senseless use of special effects was what pushed this film over the horrendous edge. The movie employs the use of 3D technology, but there is no reason for it. There are not enough moments where the effect can even be used. It is implemented in the beginning, the end, and once or twice in the middle. It’s generally pointless to use 3D in live-action movies anyway, but this one seemed overly so. I recently discovered that the director, Paul W.S. Anderson, is remaking The Three Musketeers, wait for it….in 3D!
I can’t wait to not to see it.
The sad thing is, the cast is decent. But why 3D? Another effect Anderson uses to a ridiculous max is slow motion. This is a technique to be used sparingly, not every time someone is running, jumping, or tossing a gun (that never needs reloading) to another character.
One scene in particular comes to mind. Alice and a group of survivors are on the roof of a prison with a horde of zombies charging toward them. Everyone escapes to safety in an elevator, but Alice stays on the roof to continue wasting bullets on an endless mass of the undead. She stays on the roof and blows off the cables holding the elevator, and, somehow, no one died. This was merely a chance to supply another unbelievable action sequence. The scene added nothing to the character or the story. Anyone with half a brain would have gotten inside of that elevator instead of jumping off the roof with a makeshift rope of metal cable that she is just suddenly holding. Alice lands among the zombies in the prison courtyard and fires two giant revolvers about fifteen each times before throwing them over her shoulders. She then sees her companions who all survived the elevator’s plunge and rejoins them, making her crazy rooftop leap and excursion through the mob of zombies even more unnecessary.
The featured characters are even more undeveloped than they were in the previous films. How is that even possible? There is absolutely no character development whatsoever. It doesn’t really matter since most of the characters are introduced, and then die shortly afterward. There’s even a traitorous character who shows no sign of disloyalty until he starts shooting at everyone. None of his actions are ever explained either. Nothing about that character made sense.
I was hoping that including Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller) would give the movie a small chance of being better. I was wrong. I’m not sure if it is Miller’s fault his performance is so difficult to watch, or if the director is to blame. Chris is one of the original Resident Evil characters. How could Anderson, who wrote every film in the Resident Evil franchise, overlook all of the history these characters already had? He destroyed the character of Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) in Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Guillory’s performance was awful, but, much like in this film, that had a lot to do with amazingly poor writing.
Here’s one example of this unfortunate writing: A giant room on a naval ship is supposed to be carrying survivors. This massive, white room alights when the characters enter, and the first thing Chris says is: “Where is everybody?” He pauses, then states: “I don’t understand.” I could not help but laugh. The only thing to which I can compare this dialogue and its delivery is the way Kevin talks on “The Office.” (Kevin is awesome, but this was truly a shame.)
Just when I thought the writing, directing and acting could not get any worse, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) comes on screen. His speech and overall demeanor is identical to Agent Smith’s (Hugo Weaving) from The Matrix films, and Roberts sounds ridiculous delivering his lines. See, Agent Smith existed in a computerized matrix where his unique tone of voice was plausible. Well, as “plausible” as The Matrix can be. Wesker is supposed to exist in the real world, and he sounds like he’s trying to be a badass. He failed. Separating the term “badass” and using either resulting word by itself would be a more apt description. I guess this lackluster director had no vision of how Albert Wesker should have been portrayed. Oh, wait! Wesker was in five or six Resident Evil video games, right? I guess Anderson felt that the material just wasn’t there, so he stole Agent Smith’s persona. Genius! Here’s the scary part, what if he really thought Wesker’s portrayal was great? What’s scarier? He most likely did. I hope he thanked the Wachowski brothers.
Let me just say that I watched this film simply to be done with this movie franchise. Unfortunately, the film ends on an absurd cliffhanger. Who would have thought? The final, farcical shot of the film set up what is sure to be another mindless sequel. Cross your fingers!
Rating: -3 D’s out of 5 (or, 1/2 stars out of 5)