Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Premise: The fourth film in the Resident Evil series. Set in the future, a biochemical plague has turned most of the world’s population into zombies and monsters. A group of survivors hole up in a prison while a new breed of monsters burrow inside.
What Works: Less discriminating zombie fans may enjoy Resident Evil: Afterlife as it continues the kinds of scares and action scenes of the previous films.
What Doesn’t: Motion pictures based on video games have rarely been successful creatively or financially. The Resident Evil series has been an exception, consistently delivering reliable, if predictable, films to a receptive audience. However, the series has grown increasingly strained over the course of its three previous installments and Resident Evil: Afterlife is a pretty lousy film. The opening sequence makes no narrative sense; Alice (Milla Jovovich) shows up at the headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation with as a bunch of clones of herself and starts killing faceless people for no apparent reason. Stylistically, the sequence is ripped off of The Matrix Reloaded and when it is over the film moves on and never looks back. The rest of the film is spent with a group of survivors taking shelter in a prison. Throughout the middle of the movie there is no action and no drama, just different groups of characters walking from room to room and restating the same idea—that they have to escape before the barricades give way. There is no narrative momentum; the film is never building up to a climax, and so it just has monsters appear out of nowhere that the heroes shoot with an apparently endless supply of bullets.
Bottom Line: Resident Evil: Afterlife is an abysmal movie. Even those who have enjoyed the series so far are going to find this film hard to take as it doesn’t even succeed at the meager action and horror clichés that previous Resident Evil films had done well.
Episode: #306 (September 19, 2010)