Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter and Shawn Roberts

Written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

If you’ve followed the Resident Evil movie franchise this far, odds are you have accepted the fact that they value action over horror, are not terribly well-written and don’t religiously follow the video game series that inspired them. With those expectations in mind, Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth live-action RE film, boasts some astonishing set pieces, impressive visual effects and a wholly ridiculous story.

Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker

Alice (Jovovich) makes good on her promise to storm the evil Umbrella Corporation’s Tokyo headquarters, leading a troupe of clones against countless ill-prepared guards and Umbrella head Albert Wesker (Roberts) himself. Alice, who survives the siege but has been stripped of her T-virus powers by Wesker, makes her way to what she thinks is Arcadia, the supposed Alaskan refuge discussed in Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). There she rescues an amnesiac Claire Redfield (Larter). They make their way back to a zombie-plagued Los Angeles, meeting up with another group of survivors, only to discover that humanity’s only chance at salvation may in fact be its path to destruction.

In its defence, Afterlife is stupid but entertaining. It’s eye candy not meant to provoke any deep questions, let alone superficial ones, like ‘how exactly did Alice walk away from that plane crash alive?’ Again, the zombies are curiously secondary to the story, although we get to see a new breed of dirt breathers whose jaws splay open (much like the vamps from Blade II) and gamer character The Executioner makes an impressive appearance.

The DVD is obviously in 2D instead of 3D, as it appeared in theatres, so the deficiencies of director Paul W.S. Anderson’s screenplay (especially his rather purple dialogue) is more readily apparent.

Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield

As for our leads, Jovovich is an old pro at zombie ass-kicking by now and does a great job of it, even if the wire work involved is plainly obvious, despite the wires having been digitally erased. Canadian actor Shawn Roberts, meanwhile, is cartoonishly awful as Umbrella head Albert Wesker. He’s obviously channelling Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith from The Matrix films in the emotionless stiffness of his character, but has only a scintilla of Weaving’s talent.

The DVD special features are rather perfunctory, with brief featurettes on the casting and action sequences. The commentary with Anderson and producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer, however, is entertaining, especially for Canadians curious to hear about how the filmmakers used and disguised various Toronto landmarks and the city’s influence on the films.

Movie rating: 3/5

DVD rating: 2.5/5



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