Be warned: Resident Evil: Afterlife really isn't a movie, it's a great big video game that you can watch, but not play. Shot in Real-D, rather than the horrible post-shooting 3D conversion process, the cutting-edge effects are of the Avatar variety and are a welcome dose of visual improvement on the fourth installment of this franchise.
Milla Jovovich returns as Alice, the genetically altered superwoman, to do battle in the T-Virus apocalypse land while waging war on the Umbrella Corp. Alice goes to Alaska to find an elusive zombie-free paradise known as Arcadia, and then to a prison-turned-fortress where she plots to escape to safety. Writer of all three and now director of two Resident Evils, Paul W.S. Anderson (AVP/ Death Race) returns to the feel of his original with a blaring soundtrack, over-the-top special effects and overblown Matrix-style stunts. The high tech action just keeps getting better, successfully outdoing its predecessors.
Though technology has come a long way, the same can't be said for the storylines or acting. Jovovich is on cruise control here, failing to bring any life to her character. At one point she resembles Amelia Earhart with guns. The promising supporting cast is even worse, muttering extremely juvenile, by-the-numbers dialogue. All the while, a grinding industrial rock score provided by "tomandandy" forces techno beats and crunching guitars into every action scene.
The 3D highlights include bullets whizzing through zombie heads that spatter into your lap and a monstrous hooded-executioner chucking a combo anvil/axe at your face. There's an ingenious nod to Peckinpah's Pat Garrett Billy the Kid where Alice shoots zombies with a shot gun loaded with quarters (bigger barrels, I suppose). Keep an eye out for the burrowing zombies - a first!
What's ludicrous is that in an entire city of zombies ready to have their brains blown out, we're stuck with mindless adventure saga jibber jabber. But most annoying was the villain: a sun glasses-wearing evil clone of Guy Pierce and Val Kilmer. Unfortunately, right when Resident Evil: Afterlife starts to get good and some major shit is about to hit the fan, it blacks out to credits to make way for the next installment. They just don't make whole movies anymore.
Even though this Resident Evil tries real hard to valiantly rise above its dullness, the 3D action only serves to make it humorously watchable, but then pulls the rug out, leaving you with a 3D hangover and a bad taste in your mouth.
Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Lauter, Kim Coates, Boris Kodjoe
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson