a critiQal film review Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Plot: In a world ravaged by a virus infection, turning its victims into the Undead, Alice (Jovovich) continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to safety. A new lead from an old friend that promises a safe haven from the Undead leads them to Los Angeles, but when they arrive they find themselves in a deadly trap.

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When looking for something to watch for today’s review, we came across Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017). Unfortunately, we realized we hadn’t caught up on the series totally yet, as we had missed the 4th installment, Resident Evil: Afterlife. So, instead, we decided to check that one out.

Would this 4th installment prove to have been a boon to the series? Or is Resident Evil: Afterlife another dredging through the mud of inferior sequels?

Milla Jovovich made quite an impression on viewers in the first chapter, Resident Evil (2002). After a lackluster sequel and an only-okay third film, viewers might be getting a little sick of the series. However, they are still stick around for one thing, and one thing only: Milla Jovovich. While she’s not the best action heroine, there’s something in her performances in this series that keeps the viewer coming back for more. Unfortunately, she’s about the only decent thing in Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Ali Larter is back for this 4th installment, but her character suffers amnesia, so it’s like she’s a newcomer. She suddenly regains her memories at one point, but the whole amnesiac plot twist has already left a sour taste in the viewer’s mind at that point. Sadly, Ali never really gets to make up for that, and so her performance is largely wasted in Resident Evil: Afterlife.

At first, newcomer Wentworth Miller (“Prison Break” (TV)) seems like a positive addition to Resident Evil: Afterlife, and it does seem like his character is another welcome addition from the video games. Unfortunately, he never really gets a chance to show off what made him a star on TV, and is another talent largely wasted in this film.

The rest of the characters also seem to have positive things going for them when first introduced, especially Boris Kodjoe and familiar face Kim Coates (“Sons of Anarchy” (TV)). Unfortunately, Boris’ Luther quickly gets lost in the shuffle, while Coates’ Bennett is never able to achieve that menacing quality Coates is so good at. Even the bad guy in Resident Evil: Afterlife is so generic he’s not even worth mentioning.

The storyline in Resident Evil: Afterlife is simplistic enough, but even it takes a back story to director Paul W.S. Anderson’s new found love: 3D. With so many sequences of objects flying at the viewer (not nearly as impressive in the 2D version), it seems obvious to viewers that the whole film is crafted around trying to embrace 3D as much as possible. It’s not really a step forward for the series, rather it’s just a vehicle to showcase the 3D technology.

This means the plot itself is nothing more than a rehash of horror themes, and rather dull. Unlike most films, by the end of Resident Evil: Afterlife, it seems the only point to the entire film is to move Alice from point A to point B and turn her into just another everyday human once more. While this is hopefully setting up newfound zaniness in future films (and removing the too powerful Alice from the mix), it seems so minimal in terms of what this 4th installment could have produced.

With all that being said, while Resident Evil: Afterlife is another disappointing sequel in this series, Milla’s strength and familiarity with the role help keep this special-effects extravaganza from dropping to the level of, say, Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004). But that doesn’t mean it’s really that good, either.

Definitely one of the dumbest films in the series, the only reason you should watch Resident Evil: Afterlife is if your trying to make your way through the entire series. If you haven’t seen the previous films, this is definitely a bad place to start – unless you happen to have a 3D Blu-Ray player, and you just want a film that showcases that technology.

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