Resident Evil: Afterlife

Hollywood makes some bad decisions when it comes to franchises. They either reboot too soon (Spiderman) or they let a franchise continue to limp along after it’s been in need of a serious overall for quite some time as with this latest installment of the Resident Evil series.

The focus of the franchise since the second one has been about making Milla Jovovich action movies with the story drifting further and further away from the original heart of the storyline. The same tired Project Alice character jumped the shark a couple movies ago.

This is a good example of what happens when an intellectual property falls into the hands of marketers and executives, in other words, the wrong hands. It’s a drag when it should be in the hands of the artists and fans, but alas, no dice here.

Apparently cosmetic companies still exist after the zombie apocalypse if Milla Jovovich’s and Ali Larter’s characters are any indication. They look remarkably clean and glamourous while the rest of the world burns and is consumed by flame and the undead.

The same visual gimics continue as do the same pretentious exchanges between Alice and Wesker who’s transformed her into a human with a single injection to the neck when she “attempts” to kill him. Why they don’t just kill each other and end this painful dance is beyond me. We desperately need some new characters, new heart, new hunger. Ironicially, I think a return to the roots of this is what is sorely needed, same with the game as the last installment was not a hit for a good reason, it was boring, not scary. Same thing here. Boring, not scary.

Performance-wise Milla in particular comes off numb. I don’t know if that’s the point, but it also happens to describe what it’s like to watch. Please, go back to Chris Redfield as the main focus and let’s start this over with a new director, a new writer, a new producer, a new, well…everything. I’m a big fan of the games as well as the first movie. Sorry, with the whole double-flip-backwards-with-a-motorcycle-crashing-into-a church-while-shooting-lickers thing, it became apparent the direction things were going in the second film and ya lost me. And Milla? Please don’t do anymore of these, you just don’t seem to care anymore. To whoever has the rights to the IP – can I please direct and produce the next one? Pleeeassseeeee?? I swear you’ll make money! I normally like much of Paul W.S. Anderson’s work (Alien vs. Predator is among my favorites, except for the ending with that stupid paring up thing that was done), but he just seems to be phoning it in on this one too and needs to step away before this just becomes pathetic. It’s not quite there, but almost.

Holy shit, they brought back the character K-Mart from the last one. This has to be some product-placement thing. They can’t even be classy enough to be subtle about it. Why doesn’t she just wear a Martha Stewart shirt with a K-Mart logo on it and get it over with? If you’re going to be so blatant, you might as well try to make it funny. Trying to take the character seriously after a name like that is asking for a bit much.

Geez, they even have the same cheesy slow-mo action scenes with lame pseudo-techno music. Side note – why can Alice still do the crazy acrobatic stuff now since she’s human again, and why does Ali Larter have to pose sexily when she’s fighting the nemesis-like hooded behemoth (also in slow-mo)? This is just sad. It’s not even a good action movie. It’s contrived and uninspiring of any emotion.

Shawn Roberts playing Wesker seems more like an ad model out of GQ than he does scary, corporate villain guy. He’s trying waaaayy too hard coming off flat and unconvincing. Watching him and Milla go at it is like watching supermodels fight, try to imagine pretty people doing action poses in slow-mo (yes, more slow-mo) and you’ll get the picture. It’s as if Zoolander was turned into a serious action flick. Oh, and add zombies (be sure to include the zombie dogs too, but maybe instead of dachtsunds, they use zombie chihuahuas creeping out of purses).

The door is wide open in the war with Umbrella as revealed by the not fake, fake ending.

Let the zombies take me and end my pain from any more sequels.

reviewed by Sean McKnight