'Resident Evil: Afterlife' Review - Alice and Wesker Play Tag
With Afterlife, the Resident Evil saga finally managed to free itself completely from that horrible anchor called “good writing”. An anchor that from time to time forced Paul W.S. Anderson to try to justify bonker decisions, eliminating the joke and the purpose in the process.
I say that with little cynicism. Afterlife is blatantly absurd, unreal and with more plot holes than decently written descriptions, but at least it feels free, wild and with a genuine desire to entertain. It feels honest about its place in cinema. It’s no coincidence that this was the movie that marked the return of Paul W.S. Anderson to the director’s chair.
That does not mean it deserves a free pass. A mediocre script will always be a mediocre script. But considering the previous attempts, I think Afterlife proposed a logical “not anymore” feeling, and focused in making the blockbuster show that, after three movies, had brought thousands of people to the theaters.
Also, Afterlife did that in 3D.
Anderson effectively closes the Extinction cliffhanger, with a Tokyo sequence where an army of Alices (Milla Jovovich forever) disguised as ninjas with katanas (because apparently, that’s what you do the minute you step on Japanese soil if you are slightly racist) attack the Umbrella HQ to eliminate Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). ALL the Alices die, except the original one, which has managed to board Wesker’s escape aircraft.
Of course, the aircraft ends up crashing. Seconds before, Wesker injects Alice with an anti-virus, magically removing all her incredible powers. Of course, the injection didn’t take Alice’s incredible “power of survival to be able to continue having a movie”. Alice comes out of the wrecking walking, practically intact.
Slate wiped clean. No more clones, no more super-powerful Alice. These first minutes must have been incredibly confusing and indecipherable for newcomers.
Six months later, Alice, with perfect makeup, (there is no Apocalypse, shortages or absolute solitude that threatens her coquetry) flies an airplane to Alaska, waiting to find the dream town of Arcadia, the one the caravan of survivors at the end of Extinction went looking for.
There’s no Arcadia. At least not in Alaska. What Alice find is a Claire Redfield with a strange spider-shaped device attached to her chest, which makes her hostile. After tearing it off and waiting for the hostile drug effect to wear off, Alice flies to Los Angeles. What an incredible little airplane and its fuel economy.
Alice and Claire decide to help some survivors who are on the roof of a prison in the middle of a devastated and zombie-riddled Los Angeles. There, they meet characters such as former professional basketball player Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), aspiring actress and former swimming champion called—obviously—Crystal Waters (Kacey Clarke) and Bennet Sinclair (Kim Coates) which is—symbolism alert!—A former film producer and a secondary villain.
Once again, Afterlife moves its universe full of impossible conveniences to reunite Claire with his brother Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller), which turns out to be one of the Los Angeles survivors. That’s right, the most emblematic couple of the original video games are finally together in the same movie!
The plan of the survivors is to escape from the zombie-surrounded prison and reach Arcadia, which is revealed to be a cargo tanker that travels along the coast and that INCREDIBLY, is right in front of them, a few kilometers away, in that precise moment.
What's Your Rating For Resident Evil: Afterlife?
Afterlife takes advantage of the success of the video game Resident Evil 5 (released a year earlier, in 2009) and includes—AKA “forces”–many of its designs in this film. That is why now the infected have a strange flower-like mutation in their jaws, or that there are some characters that have embedded in their chest that spider-shape device that controls their actions.
Resident Evil 5 is also the only reason why a mutated infected giant cosplaying as an executor with a giant ax/hammer appears out of nowhere in the middle of Los Angeles. Its presence doesn’t have any logic, meaning nor explanation, but my God is that Axeman badass, visually striking and imposing.
Afterlife is visually appealing, in large part because after seeing Avatar, Anderson was committed to making an acceptable 3D movie with enough eye-candy to be released in IMAX.
The superficial trick worked. Afterlife ended up raising more than $300 million, five times its budget (which also marked a record for a zombie movie).
And with that open ending in which a final battle is essentially established between Umbrella (with Wesker and Jill) and Alice and the Redfield brothers, Afterlife made it clear that the saga was far from over.
Title: Resident Evil: Afterlife
Release Year: 2010
Director(s): Paul W.S. Anderson
Actors: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Shawn Roberts a.o.