Resident Evil Afterlife is the fourth film in the series, but only the second one I’ve actually watched, the other being the original. I was drawn to this on the promise of it having a 3D version, and I thought the 3D Blu-ray would at least have an anaglyph version so you can try and watch it with regular glasses, but do note that it’s only for those with suitably-equipped 3D Blu-ray players and 3D TV sets, hence, it’ll refuse to play on a standard machine.
Anyway, back to the plot, such that it is, and as it begins, a man is murdered by vampire in the centre of Tokyo’s pedestrian scramble crossing, and once the virus is out, it causes a blackout across the whole of Japan which spreads to the entire world. A voiceover from Alice (Milla Jovovich) tells us that the deceased didn’t stay dead and that this was the start of an apocalypse which would spread worldwide. I guess that gives a new meaning to the term “going viral”!
Those at the Umbrella Corporation who brought this trouble upon everyone sent themselves to Coventry, underground, and continued to experiment with the T-Virus, which basically turns people into mutants, although the original intention was to breed a race of super-deadly Bio-Organic Weapons (or BOWs for short). All these boffins thought they were safe, locked away. As Alice confirms… “They were wrong.”
That’s because Alice, herself, is about to make a very explosive and violent appearance. Well, when I say she is I mean, they are: several Alices. A massacre is about to begin and Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) is her prime target. To cut a long story short, Wesker escapes in a private plane, the real Alice catches up with him and he catches her out during a bout of fisticuffs by sticking her with a needle which causes her to lose her speed, strength and accelerated healing. Basically, it neutralises all the T-cells in her body and makes her normal again. Just as he’s about to finish her off, something causes the plane to crash and she escapes. Well, if she was offed after 10 minutes then it would make for a very short film.
Rejoining the action six months later, we find Alice has been travelling from place to place looking for survivors and the ultimate location to go to is an infection-free safe haven called Arcadia, thought to be in Austria. She particularly wants to head there so she can hopefully find Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and does meet up, but she’s rather spaced out after having been injected with memory-loss drugs. Together, they team up & head over to the only signs of life they can find, a group of people holed in a disused prson which is surrounded by zombies trying to break in.
These are a rag-tag bunch of stereotypes in basketball star Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), British hottie Crystal (Kacey Barnfield), Bennett (Kim Coates, who refers, during the extras, to his character as the ‘resident dickhead’), token hispanic Angel Ortiz (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), token Asian Kim Yong (Norman Yeung), blink-and-you’ll-miss-him misfit Wendell (Fulvio Cecere) and one other…
The person is Chris (Wentworth Miller), currently locked up in a cage within the prison. So he’s a prisoner. That’s because the others think he’s a killer, but he claims much otherwise and he’s quite a reasonable excuse for his predicament. Now, let’s recap. It’s Wentworth Miller, star of Prison Break, locked in a prison and when he’s introduced to Alice, he tells her, “I think I know a way out of here…” Will he get a chance to break out of this prison? What do you reckon 😉
With just a rickety two-seater plane to escape in and hoardes of zombies trying to bust in they can’t stay there forever, but time isn’t on their side, especially as the Axeman (Ray Olubowale) has just turned up and is making a good fist of smashing down the prison gates. Once he’s in, the cast will start to get picked off one by one, as they always do in these films, and it’s not long before various nasties make their presence felt, such as ones with mandibles that shoot out and latch onto your face, plus dogs which ‘flower’ open and make mincemeat of you. Nice!
None of the cast leave any lasting impression on you, and I’ve never been a massive fan of Milla Jovovich, so you don’t really care who lives or dies, but it’s all about the special effects and there’s where it comes to the look of the film. You can see how many scenes were created with 3D in mind, so those look rather obvious here, such as numerous occasions with lots of things being thrown at, or going away from, the camera. It would’ve been nice to have seen it in 3D, and when I got the disc it was the 3D version, but alas you need a 3D TV and 3D Blu-ray player and there’s no bog-standard analgyph version here. However, it’ll be a long time before I need to replace my Plasma TV, by which time 3D could’ve already passed us by. The effects of this also show up how poor the 2D can look where characters are clearly just positioned against a green screen and don’t really look like they fit into the scene. That said, there are many action scenes where Paul W.S. Anderson really delivers the crash-bang goods.
Overall, Resident Evil Afterlife is entertaining nonsense, but not a particularly stand-out film. No-one will be going into it expecting Oscar-worthy performances so just enjoy it for what it is and you’ll have an entertaining 90 minutes. Also, the closing credits feature a teaser for what may come in film No.5 and they come to an end, you can hear Alice come out with, “Hey boys. Is that any way to treat a lady?”
And for those who don’t update the firmware on their Blu-ray player frequently, this one will require an update as I got halfway through and it just went all sluggish. Quite why, I don’t know, but an update fixed it. If only I’d known beforehand, as I had to wait over an hour for it to download and install.
Go to page 2 for the presentation and extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.