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Movie Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife

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Milla Jovovich is back as the zombie-kicking heroine, Alice in Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth installment to the franchise and the first to be shot in 3D. While each of its predecessors received poor reviews, they managed to make a bundle at the box office and writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson is back to make sure that Afterlife is no different.

The original Resident Evil film was an enjoyable zombie flick, adapted from Capcom’s video game series of same title. Fans of the games complained that the story had none of the games’ central characters, but other than that, Anderson managed to keep the plot focused, especially on the action and a sexy Jovovich.

But the ending to the first film opened Pandora’s box, subjecting the sequels to an over-the-top global apocalypse. Even though I believe the second and third installments were terrible, I was still at the movie theatre opening weekend. There’s something about over-the-top fight scenes and loads of zombie gore that I love, and Afterlife’s early placement at the top of the box office shows that I’m not alone in that sentiment.

Unfortunately, the film is burdened with the fallout from the previous installment in which Alice discovers hundreds of her clones and vows to harness her psychic power to take revenge on the evil Umbrella Corporation.

Thankfully, Anderson manages to part ways with the previous films’ lackluster and outrageous narrative in less than 45 minutes, and he finally gives the story some stability. And part of that stability is about introducing franchise characters with prominent roles. Now, fans can depend on a cast that actually survives—instead of dealing with Alice’s lone wolf routine.

After taking vengeance against Umbrella, Alice heads to Alaska to investigate a supposedly zombie-free community named Arcadia. There she discovers Claire Redfield (played by Ali Larter) from Resident Evil: Extinction. As a fan of the game, I was excited to see Larter reprise the role of one of the franchise’s most popular characters. And I was even more excited as the story progressed and franchise characters Chris Redfield (played by Wentworth Miller) and Albert Wesker (played by Shawn Roberts) were introduced.

The plot, now much simpler, goes back to what fans loved from the first film: A group of humans trying to survive. And as most zombie-flicks go, it doesn’t really work out for them. But the zombie fodder does serve the purpose of falling victim to a new kind of zombie. Fans of the game, Resident Evil 5 will recognize the new Uroboros virus at work—zombies capable of burrowing underground and carrying weapons, their mouths spit open four ways when they devour their pray.

However, the plot proved to have too much down time and with such one-dimensional characters, segments of the film dragged along. And while the action sequences were exactly what I wanted to see, the film’s 3D aspect only gave me a headache.

Resident Evil: Afterlife isn’t as good as the first film, but it’s a step up for the franchise. Action fans, as well as fans of the series, will certainly enjoy this movie as it promises to deliver mindless gore and zombie-slaying hot chicks. While I enjoyed the film, I have to say I’m more looking forward to the potential storyline for the eventual sequel.

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