Friday, September 10, 2010

Shawna's Autumn Movie Review - Resident Evil: Afterlife

First is not necessary to see this one in 3D, but it really adds to the thrill ride if you do. Shots were planned specially to take advantage of the 3D technology, and several of them seriously pay off.

Okay, with that out of the way, lets get to the movie review!

I am a bit up in the air about this one. The scriptwriter/director Paul W.S. Anderson, is trying far too hard to please both fans of the films and of the games. The result is scenes and situations that are tossed in whether they make sense or not, simply because they are in one of the video games (apparently we draw heavily from the nasties found in RE:5) Its like the opening sequence is for film buffs, and then the rest is stuffed full of video game scenarios, loosely tied together with a running storyline.

Anyone who has seen the movie trailer has seen that the Executioner is in this film, but there is no explanation of who or what it is and its presence is only used to heighten a certain "how are they going to get out of this?" scene. Seriously, something more should have been done about this character; a good storyline keeps you emotionally sucked in and a part of what is going on around you, but the Executioner pulls you from that mindset and you find yourself, once again, just a member of the audience. You wonder why he waits to show up until after Alice (our heroine, played once again by Milla Jovovich) arrives, when other characters have been on-scene for weeks or months (the movie isn't entirely clear on that issue). Sorry to say it for fans of the big guy, but its true. That being said, he certainly is one big scary piece of work that you certainly don't want to run into on a dark alley, or anywhere else for that matter!

Once the opening sequence is past (and it opens with a bang), everything you understood from the previous films comes to an abrupt halt, and then there is about 15 minutes worth of blah blah blah before we get back into anything seriously relevant. Its a bit disjointed in how the segments fit together for this portion of the film; I know why its here, but it doesn't sit well with the flow of the rest of the film. Alice has to do this one thing in order to introduce another thing, but its really...well....boring. Actually, come to think of it, even the opener is a bit of a mess. I am not a fan of movies that start off, then flash the words "6 Months Later" at you, then starting back up only to throw another time jump at you five minutes later....its too jarring and makes for poor storytelling.

For being a movie about the walking undead, there really isn't any undead in the first half of the film....and then suddenly you are dumped into nothing BUT the undead....a little strange, but their sudden appearance makes for quite the "oh, crap!" moment. The opener is full of thrills and turns and the middle of the movie to the end will keep you hanging on to see just how in the world anyone is going to survive all that is thrown at them.

Yes, the Alice clones are in the film.... though, I find it disturbing that since Alice's hair is no longer red, but dark brown that somehow the clones all decided to dye their hair to match. Oh, and every woman (well, the living ones anyway), no matter where you find her and in what nasty conditions she's been living in, somehow managed to pack along her makeup kit because everyone is flawlessly made up. Apparently one must look completely hot just in case they run into a guy. That is soooooooo not reality, but rather an attempt to make sure there is plenty of eye candy throughout the film to offset the super-uglies. Don't get me wrong boys and girls, for a film about rotting zombies and some seriously disturbing other creatures running about, there is certainly enough eye candy running around to keep you happily invested in seeing more...and even I let out an inner sigh or two at some of the hotties trotting around on screen.

Albert Wesker (played by Shawn Roberts) is seriously channeling his inner Agent Smith....except while Hugo Weaving played the part brilliantly, Roberts just sounds like a pompous jerk. I guess is what Wesker is supposed to be like, so to fans of the game it probably works. Myself, I kept waiting for Hugo to walk onscreen and kick Roberts' bad imitation in the butt (sadly, he doesn't, but what a showdown that would have made!)

Claire Redfield (Ali Larter of Heroes) is back and we are introduced to her brother Chris (played deliciously well by Wentworth Miller whom I loved in Law and Order: SVU), along with a new cast of characters. Stay tuned into the credits as there is a scene that reintroduces another past character, though it took me a moment to recognize Jill Valentine as she's now a blonde. It's a nice cameo that promises at least one more movie should RE:A do well in the theaters. Oh, and the word is out that if the next film is made, that Leon will make an appearance as a flashback character and (fingers crossed girls) the director wants Jenson Ackles (Supernatural) for the role.

As said above, Milla Jovovich reprises her role of Alice (and the clones) and, while she's looking a bit older, still shows that she has what it takes. Surprisingly, her clothes stay on for this film (for awhile I was wondering if she had a clause written into her contracts stating she gets to go nude onscreen) but its nice to see her still kick @$$ with her usual sense of flair, and with her clothes on this time.

The special effects. Mostly they are fabulous, and the 3D technology borrowed from James Cameron's studios is certainly top notch...creative use is made of peering down hallways and tunnels and of weaponry and, uh, body parts, flying past your head. Certain effects fall flat though....our undead Dobermans are back, but poorly done considering the original film (which came out in 2002) had them looking a lot more believable. The Executioner looks downright freaky and that axe...damn! The 3D gore is nasty enough that parts of the audience were groaning "ewwwwwwwww" several times over...myself included. Several Alice stunts are so over-the-top impossible that you really want to believe them....if only the CGI had been up to par (namely her kicking a plane of glass...lame!) while others have you cheering her on, even though you know how impossible it is that she'd really survive said stunt in "real life", super-genetic human or not.

All-in-all....quite the joyride. Rated R for strong violence and some language.

1 comment:

♥Miya said...

Don't worry about the Executioner not making any sense in the film... half of the badies in the games don't make any sense either.

The fight sequence between Chris, Wesker and Claire is choreographed almost exactly like Chris and Jill's/Sheva's fights with Wesker in RE5, which did make me happy... but I honestly wish Wesker's voice actor would have dubbed over the film actor's voice.