Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Boris Kodjoe
As far as film franchises go, Resident Evil is kinda like Saw. It's critic proof. No matter how many films they make about the same thing, it always sells. In this case, film fans never get tired of seeing Milla Jovovich kill hordes of the undead over and over again.
In this 4th instalment of the franchise based on the popular video game, Jovovich reprises her role as Alice, the former agent of the Umbrella Corporation who does her best killing thousands of dead people infected by the T-virus as she makes her way up Umbrella's powers that be. In the opening sequence, Alice and several of her clones taken from the 3rd film storm Umbrella's headquarters in Tokyo. Its chairman, Wesker manages to escape, but not before removing Alice's powers during a fight.
Six months later, Alice continues her search for Arcadia, the last place on earth rumored to be infection free. She heads to Alaska where she thinks Arcadia is located, but she finds it deserted. This is where she runs into her old ally, Claire Redfield, who has no memory of who she is. They then head for San Fransisco, where they meet up with a small band of survivors taking refuge in a building surrounded by the undead. With their help, Alice figures out where Arcadia is, and tries to help them get there.
Let's get one thing out of the way first. Why do you watch Resident Evil and all its sequels? If you say it's because you love having a good time seeing Milla kicking ass and spilling lots and lots of blood of the undead, then this is the film for you. Let's face it: you're not seeing this to watch a big Inception type plot unfold or James Bond type theatrics. You're here to see violent, stylish action. In that sense, Paul W.S. Anderson delivers just that. I don't know about all that talk about this film being super special because it used the James Cameron type Avatar 3D special effects, but I can say that it's pretty cool to see in 2D as well.
My minor gripe about it is the fact that Afterlife borrows a lot from The Matrix. You'll see plenty of slow mo action sequences, designed to make Alice and Claire look like superheroines, no doubt. The villain Wesker even looks like Agent Smith, complete with a similar voice and shades. However, if you try not to take it too seriously, you'll enjoy it every step of the way. I must also give credit to the awesome soundtrack for this film, it's just perfect.
Jovovich and Larter make a good team as the leading ladies of Afterlife, though it's seriously still Jovovich's show. Shawn Roberts, as stated above, channels Agent Smith as the villain. Prison Break's Wentworth Miller still sounds like Michael Scofield as Claire's brother Chris, except now he has guns and no tattoos.
Overall, despite Afterlife being very familiar and recycled, it still works because it doesn't pretend to be anything else but a fun ride from start to finish. The ending hints heavily for a sequel, so Mr Anderson, bring it on. (4/5)