Friday, September 10, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife, or “Oh, Cool, Devil Comes Out Next Week!”

Writer/Director/Producer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil)
Starring: Milla Jovovich (The other three Resident Evil films), Ali Larter (Heroes), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), Shawn Roberts (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
Run-Time: 97 minutes
Release Date: Friday, September 10th, 2010
Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong violence and language.


I’m not a hard sell when it comes to movies. I’m easily amused, easy to please, and I try to find the best parts of even the worst movies. Very rarely do I live a theater going, “That fucking blew.” Resident Evil: Afterlife is one of those rare exceptions. It’s currently 2:19 AM. The movie is still fresh in my mind and the caffeine in my system is running low. I’m basically going to throw my thoughts onto this page in the hopes that it resembles a review. This will not be my best review. Most likely far from it, but a movie of this caliber deserves nothing less than half-assed.

The story is simple: Alice, played by Milla “How Many More Movies Did I Sign On For?” Jovovich, is looking for survivors. She is alone, with only her Energizer lithium battery-powered camcorder and two-seater plane to keep her company. Her mission: Find survivors. Eventually she does. Then an Axeman popped out. Then they go to a boat. Lame boss battle. Shocking twist end setting up for Resident Evil: Really!?

If you’ve seen the remake of Dawn of the Dead, you’ll be familiar with many of the plot elements. They’re in a reinforced building, there’s a heavily armored vehicle, and a super-douchey asshole. The big problem of Dawn’s Ty Burrell did it so, so, so much better than this guy. Didn’t he win an Emmy? (Editor’s note: No, he lost to fellow Modern Family cast member Eric Stonestreet.) Anyways, the colorful cast, obviously there for the dual Affirmative Action/Cannon Fodder clauses, provide the much needed deaths. They also borrowed a tense underwater scene from Alien: Resurrection, except once again executed it with the ability of a twelve-year-old playing with action figures in their bathtub.

Did I mention the zombies suddenly have tentacle-tongues? That’s from one of the later games. There’s no explanation. I guess they’re evolving? Also, what’s up with the metal spider things? Who knows. Oh, and don’t worry, all the Alice clones and superpowers are done away with in the opening, and arguable best, sequence of the movie. Spoiler alert.

Going back to casting, the role of Wesker would have been played perfectly by Val Kilmer circa MacGruber. Not only does Shawn Roberts resemble Dieter Von Cunth, he delivers all his lines just as hamfistedly. Only this movie isn’t a parody. At least, not intentionally. You may remember Mr. Roberts as Beth Cooper’s creepy, much older Army boyfriend. Also, Chris Redfield makes his screen debut. Why not, right? He got left behind in the prison by his army unit. Because, y’know, being an agent of S.T.A.R.S. would’ve required the costume designers to, like, design more costumes.

Remember the Executioner from Resident Evil 5 that they whore out in the trailers? He’s similarly inexplicably included in the movie. The worst part is he’s a better boss fight than the End Boss. Silent Hill had a big guy dragging a giant weapon, why can’t we? Feh.

This movie also goes to show you that just because you CAN film a movie in 3D (as opposed to deciding this after the fact, but that’s another gripe for another day), doesn’t mean you SHOULD. “Ah! The axe is flying at my face!” “Oh, the mouth-tentacles are coming at my face!” “Ooh, Claire’s hair is dangling in my mouth!” Like any gimmick, 3D can be done well. Mr. Anderson didn’t get that memo.

This movie is basically one big train wreck. There were more unintentional laughs than intended ones, the 3D was lackluster, the cast was basically three big names and a bunch of red shirts, the monsters went unexplained, and the end left me groaning in agony. “Now, Sean,” you might be asking, “is there anything you did like in the movie?” Yes. They brought back the Dobermans. Also, much like replacing Angelina Jolee with Tom Cruise enhanced my Salt experience, replacing the guy who played Wesker with Val Kilmer did make me tingly inside.

So there you have it, folks. A movie I genuinely did not like. I apologize for the lackluster review, BUT I’ll have both a Machete review and an advance review of Easy A for you over the course of the next week to make up for it. As for me, I’ve got a date with a futon.

Fun Fact: This is the first video game movie to be filmed in 3D. Even the Fun Fact about this movie sucks.

Rating: 4/10

Update: An esteemed colleague of mine, after reading this review, thought that my rating was awfully high. Here's where the 4 points come from:

1 point for the zombie dobermans
1 point for the Axeman, while sticking out like a sore thumb, being pretty cool
1 point for the zombies looking like zombies
1 point for spelling the name of the movie right (like the SATs!)

There you have it!

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