'Resident Evil Afterlife' should be extinct

September 14, 2010|By BOB GARVER / Special to The Herald-Mail

There are two types of scenes in "Resident Evil: Afterlife."

One type is Alice (Milla Jovovich) shooting and stabbing the undead, the other is Alice shooting and stabbing the living. There isn't enough story or character development for a proper review, so I'm just going to fire off some random thoughts.

n Just about everyone alive in the "Resident Evil" world is working for the evil Umbrella Corp., which are responsible for the undead outbreak and are now in damage-control mode. Alice kills most of these employees, even though she's sworn to protect humanity. I know they're not her favorites, but they're still fellow humans and represent a large portion of the currently-living. Root, root, root for the home team, Alice.

o Umbrella has access to numerous city-wide bombs and explosives (Tokyo gets turned into a crater). You'd think they would want to use these precious weapons on the zombie hoards, but they use them to destroy their own facilities and cover their own tracks. I hate it when movie villains waste resources just to prove to us how evil they are. It makes them look impulsive and stupid and it makes me question how they ever got to become so powerful with these traits.


o Every single outdoor scene in the movie has a gray, ugly sky. Once again, a film sees a future that is so bleak that the weather is affected.

o Alice and some other survivors (people to be picked off one by one by the zombies) take refuge inside an abandoned prison. They still use their own guns and blades to fight off the undead. Just once I'd have liked to see them use a broken-off toothbrush shank that they found in a cell. It may not be useful for fighting off a zombie army, but it would be useful for giving the film some much needed variety in its killing methods.

o Wentworth Miller (TV's "Prison Break") plays a leftover Prisoner who can Break everyone out and get them to a safe haven. Miller was no doubt typecast, which means he's now kicking himself that he didn't choose a television role that would get him work in the "Twilight" movies.

o Characters have to swim through a flooded basement to get to some abandoned guns. This is, of course, a shameless attempt to recreate some of the video game's underwater levels. Most of the prison is in pitch darkness, but of course we can see the characters with relative clarity while they're underwater.

o There are a number of umbrellas in the film, some of which are those clear plastic ones that are shaped like the top half of a football. They go down far enough to cover your head and shoulders, where with a regular umbrella you'll lose coverage and get soaked if you tip it even slightly. I like these umbrellas. This doesn't really have anything to do with the movie, I just wanted to prove I like some things.

o Most of the monsters in the movie look like cheap special effects. This is why video games don't make good live-action movies. In the games, everything is rendered the same way, so the monsters don't look out of place in the game's world. In the movies, there are people and there are special effects and it's easy to tell the difference.

There is no reason for "Resident Evil: Afterlife" to exist. Nobody who isn't a huge fan of the games is going to want to see it, and fans of the game have seen all they needed to see in the franchise's first three installments (and at least the next one after). The film will only do well with people who are looking for an excuse to waste their time and money.

"Resident Evil: Afterlife" is rated R for sequences of strong violence and language. Its run time is 97 minutes.

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