I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite, but I must confess that only two posts after I savaged 3D movies (again!), I found Resident Evil: Afterlife (3D) (let’s just call it RE4), rather enjoyable.
Now, it may be because I’ve been a huge fan of the series since it was still a video game. It may be because I love zombies and mutant monsters. After all, I’ve watched and liked (to varying degrees) all of the RE films, even though I know it’s not entirely logical. I don’t pretend the movies are good. I just like them.
With that in mind, I rate RE4 as one of the better films of the series. It’s exciting, explosive, slick and outrageous. And Milla Jovovich certainly gives Angelina Jolie a run for the coolest ass-kicking heroine on the big screen. Sure, it takes itself a little too seriously, but not all zombie films need to be horror flicks.
RE4 takes place almost immediately after the previous film, not that I can really remember. Jovovich returns as Alice, the only human who has successfully absorbed the T-virus. Ali Larter also returns as Claire Redfield, even though she is a much weaker supporting character than I would have liked. I really liked the casting of Shawn Roberts as super villain Albert Wesker, who does a great job of reminding fans of the character from the video game.
However, the biggest stroke of genius is casting Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield, the original protagonist from the first game! Not that it was a particularly terrific performance or character, but those who know Miller from the TV series that made him famous (and I don’t mean Dinotopia!) will chuckle at Chris’s predicament and what he has to do in this film.
Truth be told, the plot is virtually non-existent. There’s nothing particularly original about any part of the film. But darn it, RE4 is fun and thrilling to watch. There’s an abundance of super slo-mo fight scenes, explosions and crazy moves, all for the purpose of making the characters look cool. And they are!
Kudos to the writers who managed to implement some of the other characters from the video games, such as the Las Plagas face-opening zombies, the giant, axe-wielding monster, and those lovable dobermans. The fight scene with the axe dude is the highlight of the film, easily edging the somewhat anti-climatic final duel with super Wesker.
As for the 3D? Well, considering how much I dislike 3D films in general, this was one of the better ones. I’d say the 3D had a ‘neutral’ effect. There were some scenes that brought out the positives of 3D — the exploding walls, the lethal propellers and the flying weapons — but these only made up a very small part of the film. For the rest of the very suitable 97-minute running time, we’re left to tolerate the darkening, uncomfortable 3D glasses through the “boring” parts of the film.
Ultimately, RE4 is not a great or memorable film by any stretch of the imagination. But if you’re looking for a bit of brainless fun and excitement that isn’t completely ruined by ill-advised 3D technology, then I recommend giving it a go.
3.5 stars out of 5