Rated R for sequences of strong violence and language, 97 minutes
Flashy, trashy "Resident Evil" installment for fans
If you're a fan of the "Resident Evil" video game series, you'll have the most fun seeing the cheesy new film "Resident Evil: Afterlife" inspired by the video game. While films such as this are hardly serious fare, this proves that in the world of cinema, there's something for everyone. The best thing about the energetic fourth installment of this franchise is its pure escapism entertainment for those seeking solace from a crummy world.
"Afterlife" picks up where the third film ended. Alice (Milla Jovovich) has been roaming the world searching for any remaining survivors. Alice also finally comes face to face with her arch-nemesis, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), for the first time. As she enters the ruined Los Angeles, she stumbles onto a base of Umbrella, surrounded by zombies. She then teams up with a group of survivors who had been hiding in Los Angeles since the T-virus outbreak, including Claire (Ali Larter) and Claire's long-lost brother, Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller) to stop Wesker from his experiments on uninfected humans, only making him more powerful and everyone else weaker.
The trashy, violent "Afterlife" continues the adventures of Alice in a not-so-wonderfland full of zombies. Paul W.S. Anderson, who wrote and directed the other "Resident Evil" films, also directs and writes this installment with the same unoriginality as the others. As with the rest of the films in this rather vapid franchise, the highlight of "Afterlife" is the special effects, the sets and a few decent action set pieces that give it the life it so desperately needs.
Anderson's real-life spouse, former model Jovovich, is back as Alice, the experiment gone awry, and while her acting skills remain as dull as ever, she continues to pack enough energy in the film to make a decent action hero. This one is a little better than the previous in that it brings more characters in from the video game series and packs a few more genuine scares than the others. On the downside, the convoluted, predictable story will be best understood by true fans of the video game and/or film series, as it's filled with details from the video game (including a big guy with even a bigger axe).
It's nice seeing "Heroes" Larter back again, "Prison Break's" Miller is cast as a...surprise here...prisoner, while British actor Roberts makes for a slimy, "Matrix"-like villain. The stale ending, quite unsurprisingly, leaves it open for even more sequels and those really interested should stay through the credits for more story. However, for the first time, the "Resident Evil" series is in 3D, with knives, blood and zombies coming at you full force, though as with most recent movies in 3D, it doesn't necessarily make it a better film.
"Resident Evil: Afterlife" is a forgettable, mid-grade sci-fi horror-zombie thriller that packs a few punches and will help you escape the real world for a few moments.