Review: Too Many Jovovichs in Newest Resident Evil: Afterlife

September 13, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Why are there so many Milla Jovovichs? That's the drilling question that I couldn't keep from traveling through my brain in the opening minutes of Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil: Afterlife wherein Milla, back for her fourth zombie-destroying adventure, and a whole group of clones take on the Tokyo base of the evil Umbrella Corporation. I'm sure the answer to my quandary has some satisfying explanation at the end of Resident Evil: Extinction. Unfortunately, that movie, just like the one before it, had many plot details that slipped effortlessly from memory shortly after seeing it. It's three years later. I can't be expected to remember some clone-generating super power Milla Jovovich picked up along the line. Maybe a hint would help. Did it happen before or after Oded Fehr's character got killed off?

Nonetheless, that question remained throughout the first 15 minutes of this latest film, one that is sure to be just as memorable as the previous two entries. That is, not very at all. What transpires on screen isn't interesting enough to pull us away from that question, and, frankly, nothing in the subsequent 90 minutes proves interesting enough to distract us from the myriad of questions we might have. Questions like how can Milla (Her character's name in these films is Alice, but it's much more fun to envision the real actress doing all this. Isn't that what The Fourth Kind was about?) who has just been sapped of her super powers survive an explosive plane crash in the mountains? Where did she pick up the propeller plane with matching Amelia Earhart costume? Where did that 9-foot-tall giant with the Paul Bunyon axe come from? Why the hell does that Umbrella Corporation guy keep turning back up even after he's clearly been killed, and where does he buy his sweet sunglasses?

All of these questions flood over us, all of them unanswered, as the narrative, such as it is, goes through its bombastic and over-stylized motions. Milla finds her way to LA. She discovers a new band of survivors. There's a ship resting in the ocean just off the coast that may have the answers to survival. Millions of zombies are frothing at the mouth to get a taste of any of the one-note characters that are sure to be eventual fodder. Some of the characters are from the original Capcom games. Being someone who hasn't played any of them, I'm not sure which ones are carried over into the feature films, but I have a strong feeling the ones who survive at least until the end are the ones fans of the games will be most familiar with. There are big chases, big fights, and weird creatures designed way beyond necessity.

That may be where Resident Evil: Afterlife pulls out its only positive. The creature designs here are quite compelling. Most of them involve tentacles coming out of the mouths of zombies, but a few of them fall into the cool category. That 9-foot-tall lumberjack is one. The ensuing fight scene may have been interesting minus all the ridiculous slow motion. What is done with the zombie dogs which most of you will remember from the first film is quite interesting. It's as if they were designed for a video game. The bigger the better and damn the logic that falls dismembered by the wayside. The 3D in which these creatures are presented is another element RE: Afterlife pulls off relatively well, but, as that aspect won't be presented to everyone who sees it, I don't feel the need to spend much time on it.

From there, though, we fall back into the been-there-done-that trappings that tells us this franchise is long past its expiration date. Paul W. S. Anderson, the man who directed the first film in 2002 and has served as writer and producer of the second and third film, is back in the director's chair. Sadly, his directing skills, particularly when it comes to action scenes, has gone from lackluster to wholly dismal in the two years since Death Race. That film wasn't groundbreaking in the way it presented its action, but at least it was cohesive. At least there, the heavy metal style of the action fit into the overall tone of the film. With RE: Afterlife, the action and set pieces are working more on a techno and industrial level, but it's been so plasticized with an overabundance of green screen and super slow-mo that any idea of connection is long gone. It's almost like listening to a Nine Inch Nails song that's been pushed through Pro Tools and Auto-Tuned so much the angst and edge have been chiseled down to smooth nothingness.

The film, then, ends up as a super chic mess with convenient plot points, awful scares, and dreadful performances. It isn't scary. It isn't intense. It fails on so many levels you begin to wonder if an evil, biochemical corporation with subterranean bases underneath the world's major cities may have actually been behind its production. The sad thing here, though, is RE: Afterlife can't even be compared to a zombie, the foremost baddie of the entire franchise. That's where it started, and there was some sense of grounding when you knew all it took was a straight bullet to the head. We've expanded long since then, and, now, the villains are giants, gaudily crafted monsters with massive limbs and equally massive weapons. The human connection has long been buried under the mounds of CG flesh, and the Resident Evil franchise keeps sinking further and further underneath it. Here's hoping they don't ask us to sink with it to watch yet another one. Resident Evil: Indifference might be an appropriate title.

Jeremy's Rating: 3 out of 10

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This movie was a lot of fun. And are you seriously COMPLAINING about too many jovovichs? What you just went to jesus camp or something? no number of milla jovovichs is enough.. my only complaint was wesker dying a little to easily.. other than that this was a nice entertaining movie.

Logan on Sep 13, 2010


Hi, have you noticed the parachute flying away from the aircraft a split second before the explosion yet? It's very very very quick but it's there! So Wesker may well return for Part 5 😉 Also, to add further weight to this happening (which I think it will), as Luther West approches the end of the storm drain you can see the shoot falling through the clouds in the distant's small but again, it's definitely there! If you haven't noticed these things yet I hope this makes your day!! I know I was quite happy after spotting them 😉 All the best

Grimdugald on Feb 25, 2011


yup seems people dont want to have fun anymore dumb review

nelson on Sep 13, 2010


Jeremy, I'm with you on this one. And I think Mr WS Anderson sucks. You couldn't pay me enough to watch this. I mean, have you seen the trailers? "Filmed with the Cameron/Pace 3d system". Paul WS Anderson is a James Cameron fanboy and wannabe, in the worst kind of way.

Milo on Sep 13, 2010


Where's the dislike button? Lol! PWS Anderson is my fav director. I won't go in great detail as to why. But my main reason for liking him so much as a film maker is he always puts entertainment first before ego of any kind, which too many directors these days imo fail miserably with. Movies should first and foremost entertain and bring joy to the viewer imo. Have you seen this movie?..cause it sounds like you haven't! The 3D actually surpasses the 3D seen in Avatar fyi! No disrespect intended btw lol 😉

Grimdugald on Feb 25, 2011


@4 Paolo Just becuse the 3D is good doesn`t mean the film is. But if you enjoyed it, enjoy it then.

Mr.Cookie on Sep 13, 2010


Jeremy Kirk is too old for this kind of movie. He can't remember that Alice has been cloned in the Resident Evil Extinction? That's what got me excited in the first place for RE4! You don't watch Resident Evil for story and plot line you dimwit! You watch it because it's fun! A Thrill ride! You don't go to KFC if you want gourmet food don't you?! So you don't review this film expecting a gourmet dish when all along you knew it's a fun food! And Finger Liki'n Good It Is!!!

Seb Fox on Sep 13, 2010


WOW, I am really disturbed by all the VERY negative reviews this is getting. I saw this last night (and yes in 3D too) and throroughly enjoyed it. Yeah some of it was cheesy and there were a few plot holes, but overall i thought the 3 D worked VERY WELL!! Wow some folks need to have a beer, sit back, and just RELAX!

Paolo on Sep 13, 2010


I heard this movie was really bad and slow and just poorly conceived, just like all the other films in this fraanchise(save maybe the first and thats a big maybe)... But this review was really boring and poorly written, poorly conceived, too. Who gives so much as a shit about the minutae of this franchise? And I think many of your idiotic qualms with it could probably be answered if you had played the just saying. i've only played a few of the games myself, im not a diehard fan, but i think its fairly clear these movies are made for fans of the games not fans of the movies. I just dont know why you feel the need to rip it apart. It seems like you had all this nerdy energy just waiting to be unleashed, but your thoughts aren't communicated very well, what you wrote could have been contained in much less. You're redundant. This really speaks to an overall quality problem with the writers on this site. You have such a great site, a wonderfully organized outlet to the masses, but you're obviously all highly inrxperienced writers with a lacking taste in great films, only Alex has become legitimate through his exposure to all the great cinema he gets. My main point is, why write this article at all? It doesn't seem like you even had a good thesis statement for it. Oh the movie sucked? Yeah, duh. It's a Resident Evil film, everyone knows that. You guys have such a great site, but you really need to improve on quality control, and not let teenagers write your film reviews.

LINKFX on Sep 13, 2010


the zombie doctor she kills at the end of the third movie made all the clones, or had the cloning machine. i think ill wait for this to hit netflix, with the death of oded fehr this series lost the last of its good actors

harrison on Sep 13, 2010


@ everyone ^ except Jeremy, Thanks guys! I hoped to hear some positive comments about this one and was worried. I expected cheese from this movie due to its predecessors but also hoped to be entertained. Sounds like this fits the bill. I rented the last three and had my complaints (a lot towards the 2nd and 3rd)) but I was going to watch this either way it played out ...for some continuity and my addiction towards movies. I was pleasantly surprised at the positive comments and sounds like a pretty fun ride with some expected cheese.

McWilly on Sep 13, 2010


3 out of 10 is pretty low, the action was great, no one cares about the plot and the cheezy action provided a few extra laughs

random on Sep 13, 2010


Don't you think Chris Redfield(wentworth miller's character) was all to similar to Solid Snake?? Even the dirt on his face reminded me of camo he wore in Snake Eater. maybe that's just me.

Nick Sears on Sep 13, 2010


I'll rent, and why not? they aren't the best of films out there, but it is great seeing Jovoich kick ass.

Xerxex on Sep 13, 2010


Don't people think there has been enough R E Films it sounds to me that there all starting to be the same and there Just keeping the franchise open to make a quick Buck and and not Quality of the film. I have not seen this film yet but I would like to see to see if it differs from the other films if it dose.

Cinprog on Sep 13, 2010


I didn't saw it yet, but the critics you give are kinda bullshit. First time i have to say this about a review given on this website. I'm not a fan of RE, but i must say i found it for the 3 last movies one of the better Game-movie productions there is. You are saying you saw big giant monsters with big weapons. Play the game then, and you'll see why. Its the people self who demanded to get more of the game inside the movies, and this has been given this way. About the part of not understanding the clone thing or other stuff you'll have to remember those things if you even saw them. Its been 3 years but i still remembered the last part of RE3 where the clones were preparing to go after Umbrella. You have one thing right and that is that the first one was the best, but ain't that in all movies who get sequels??? 3/10 is totaly not grounded, even to know that 5000 votes on IMDB have given a total of 7/10. Which isn't really bad, cause mainly all IMDB ratings are grounded and true in my point of view.

Digit on Sep 13, 2010


i still think part 2 was the best, but this was still fun and cool to look at.waiting to rent it might suck unless you got a 3d tv considering the movie is 3d driven. and if you haven't seen the movie could you stop posting reviews

josh on Sep 13, 2010


In a scale of one through ten I give this movie a 2

Ray on Sep 13, 2010


why allow someone to review a movie based on a game when that person had no clue about the games or the history or could even recall the previous movies?! where did the giants with the axes come from jeremy?? they are from the game you fool! even i know that and i only ever played the last game! the movies just mindless fun..there to be enjoyed and then forgotten, its what P W Anderson does well poor jeremey obviously got stuck reviewing this and not the oscar nominated trash he wanted 🙁

raz on Sep 13, 2010


Huge fail on the review. Completely agree with 8 and 18.

blowtorch19 on Sep 13, 2010


If you happen to have played the game before it came out on films, of course you get to be familiar with the stuffs and everything. The latest film picks up from where the last one, "Extinction" ended. "Afterlife" is definitely a must-see movie, you wouldn't wanna miss the story and come up with questions again once Resident Evil 5 is out.

akasha73 on Sep 13, 2010


Even Ebert has gone back and watched films before the new one comes out, even if he didn't like them so he can have SOME KIND of frame of reference. Yeah it's been 3 years but it was actually a large plot detail that Milla was being cloned in the last film... it opened with that reveal, it was talked about at length and then shown again at the end. If you can't remember, look it up, educate yourself... otherwise you sound like you don't know what you're talking about... Now excuse me I have to go review the 3rd matrix film even though I haven't seen the other two.

Kent Lundblad on Sep 13, 2010


Who cares if the reviewer hadn't seen the previous movie? Does that somehow make the film better if one does? Like Paul W.S. Anderson's Resident Evil films are some kind of epic where it is required to watch all the films to get a cohesive narrative? Hell no. It does not matter at all. Having previous knowledge of the films/games does not change the fact that the film is bad. Everything that Jeremy said about the film is true: It's a waste of money and time. And I'm sick and tired of people defending these movies by saying: "OH THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, SO YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO CRITICIZE THEM!!!" I say bullshit. Why? Because there are better movies that do what Afterlife tries to do. Wanna see a fun, mindless movie? Go watch Machete. Robert Rodriguez is the king of making those kinds of film. Paul W.S. Anderson (as well as other directors such as Michael Bay) are absolute hacks who only continue to get work because they prove time and time and again that idiots will watched anything shitted on them by hollywood.

SkaOreo on Sep 14, 2010


I am super excited for this movie!!

Corbin on Sep 14, 2010


overall was a good movie i would go watch it again and still enjoy it, i keep trying to piece it together and make it work so it can collide with the games. i suppose it is just my want for it to mesh with all the stories, most of the games have connections ( not strong ones) but they are also told through different characters perspective so i am wondering if Alice is just another characters perspective. but back to the initial thought the movie was great the best installment of the series

Splinter on Sep 14, 2010


it was a rather shitty movie, though the 3d was pretty good. the over use of 3d made most of the fight scenes seem rather retarded. Wasn't much fun to watch and I really regret wasting my money.the trailer for tron that they showed before the movie started was more awesome this whole bloody movie

Vmaster on Sep 15, 2010


it was all eye candy for me. it was visually entertaining though i was expectin some twist in the story.

darius on Sep 19, 2010


I'm not gonna lie. I was disapointed. I wish I could get back the hour and half I lost watching it. I didnt even bother watching it in 3D. For me, there hasnt been a movie that I've seen in 3D that was worth the extra money. So I will stick to 2D. I love the game. I was okay with the first 3 movies but this one just sucked. Jeremy is right, all the things that he questioned I questioned too. I hate the fact that she has powers. Either way like a shirt I saw not too long ago which had some true words. It went something like this "If you cant make a great movie, just make it in 3D"

Eric on Sep 27, 2010

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