This Week at the Movies: “Resident Evil – Afterlife”



Resident Evil: Afterlife is an admirable movie as long as you have your expectations at the right level. It achieves entertainment, manages not to be too silly, has some commendable action scenes and for once, the 3-D effect works. A word of caution: if you have not seen any of the previous Resident Evil movies, then you probably will not understand this one. While it is not an unstructured movie, it might seem like a complete mess of disconnected scenes if you have not seen the previous movies.  

The movie picks up right from the end of Resident Evil: Extinction. Alice (Milla Jovovich), the superhuman protagonist and all her clones attack the Umbrella Corporation’s base in Japan and attempt to kill Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). Wesker manages to escape and blows up the base, killing all the Alice clones. The real Alice is aboard the plane, but ends up getting injected with a serum in a fistfight with Wesker. The serum makes her human again. The plane crashes and Alice walks out of the carnage.

She then flies to Arcadia, a supposed safe haven for humans from the infection. Oh, quick side note — the infection, or T-virus, turns humans into zombies. Most human beings are now zombies and there are only a few survivors. Arcadia is where Alice’s friends from Resident Evil: Extinction had flown to at the end of that movie. She finds the place deserted, but pristine. She is then attacked by Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), one of her friends from the previous movie, who now has an Umbrella Corporation device attached to her chest. Alice subdues Claire and takes off the device. Claire is amnesiac and cannot remember where all the other people she was with have gone. They fly out on Alice’s two person plane and meet up with a band of survivors holding out in a maximum-security prison in LA, surrounded by thousands of zombies. These survivors reveal to Alice that Arcadia is a ship that is off the coast of LA. They ponder ways to get to the ship. Chris (Wentworth Miller), a mysterious man being held in one of the cells, offers them a way out in return for freedom. He is revealed to be Claire’s brother. His way fails and by now the zombies have dug up a path all the way from the sewers. The survivors decide that it is best to use these sewers (crawling with zombies) to get to the ship. The finale at the ship has Alice face off with the now supervillan, Wesker. The ending itself was kind of surprising in how open-ended it left the series.

The dialogue is passable for a 3-D action movie. Outside of Alice, the characters are not fleshed out at all. It can get quite irritating when this movie tries to aim for depth. You wish they would just stop pretending (it is quite painful) and get on with the action and plot. The music was good, but not as good as the first Resident Evil movie. And the ending is kind of like the ending of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. It does not resolve anything and creates whole new problems and situations, which will probably be tackled in the sequel (already confirmed). This can be quite irritating, since it leaves you wondering if Afterlife had any meaning at all by itself.

I personally liked the 3-D effect for the first time this year. Action scenes are loads of fun and watching Alice as a human again lends it some degree of tension. It is different from all the other Resident Evil movies in its approach, and it is not as predictable as you think it would be. The plot takes some nice turns. Jovovich does not do a terrible job of acting and makes you care for the story occasionally. And, hell, I was entertained. So if you are watching Afterlife this weekend, I suggest you keep your expectations low and just have a good time.