Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) Movie Review

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Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Resident Evil: Afterlife” takes place after the events of Russell Mulcahy’s “Resident Evil: Extinction” (which Anderson also wrote). The film opens with Alice and her clones (from the last movie) invading the evil Umbrella Corporation’s Tokyo headquarters. They succeed, but fail to kill Umbrella’s current head honcho, Wesker (Shawn Roberts). And oh yeah, in the attack, all the Alice clones are killed, leaving the real Alice to stumble away from what was essentially a suicide attack created, one can assume, entirely to tie up loose ends from the last movie. (Yes, it’s a pretty shoddy way to get rid of the clone problem, but there you have it.) Plus, during her brief fight with a superpowered Wesker, Alice gets jabbed with a needle and is now no longer superhuman. Or, actually, no longer uber superhuman, cause the girl still seems to be pretty damn superhuman-ish for the rest of the movie as far as I can tell.

The remainder of “Afterlife” follows Alice (Milla Jovovich) as she heads to Alaska, where Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and K-Mart (Spencer Locke), her survivor friends from “Extinction”, had been headed at the end of the last movie. Alice locates Claire, but she’s no longer her old self, and is suffering from memory loss thanks to those evildoers at Umbrella. Together, the ladies head back to Los Angeles, where they meet up with other survivors holing up inside a massive city prison called The Citadel. (Apparently in the not so distant future, L.A. has so many prisoners that it houses them in a monolithic structure the size of a small African country. I don’t even want to think about the budget needed to keep that thing running!)

Among the new survivors of the zombie infestation are: former sports star Luther (Boris Kodjoe, soon to be a household name when J.J. Abrams’ “Undercovers” premieres later this year), former movie producer Bennett (Kim Coates, chewing scenery like a pro), and aspiring actress Crystal (Kacey Barnfield). There are others, but really, they’re mostly just spam fodder for the eventual zombie break-in. Also locked away in the Citadel is Chris (Wentworth Miller, once again back behind bars!), who claims to be a soldier, but since Luther and the others found him locked up in the prison’s maximum security area, they assume he’s dangerous, so has him literally locked up within the prison. As it turns out, Chris has a history with Claire, though of course she doesn’t remember him from Adam.

There’s a whole lot going on with “Resident Evil: Afterlife” in terms of character set-up, but honestly, there’s not a whole lot going on in the film itself. Anderson’s script for “Afterlife” is burdened by the need to incorporate the past three movies in the franchise, which he easily enough references and builds on, though newcomers to the undead series may be a tad lost as to who everyone is. Certainly, Anderson himself seems uncertain about the state of the world post-first “Resident Evil”. In “Extinction”, it seemed as if the entire planet had been turned bone-dry and was now little more than a desert wasteland overrun with the occasional undead. In “Afterlife”, fires are still burning all over L.A. (years after the zombie break-out, natch), and it looks nothing like the desert wasteland of “Extinction”.

It was assumed after “Extinction” that Ali Larter’s Claire would take over the franchise from Milla Jovovich, but with Jovovich returning, the studio has enthusiastically continued on with her story. And you can see the awkward results of the dropped “passing of the torch”, because Claire is rendered superfluous, and for much of the film is little more than Alice’s shadow. Nothing makes the point more than a prison shower fight with a humongous zombie called the Axeman (pictured above), a gigantic creature that looks like a cross between a butcher and a fisherman with the Hulk’s genes. At one point, Alice is knocked out, leaving Claire to face the Axeman alone. Mind you, not that Claire is not up to the task; she assumes the role of Alice, doing all the impossible moves that Alice would have done if there was no Claire around. Or, to be more blunt, if Anderson had not needed to keep Claire around post-“Extinction”. Even Claire’s relationship with Chris is badly bungled, and the two never look or act like anything other than two strangers trapped in a movie together.

As zombie movies go, “Afterlife” is more action-adventure than horror. The zombies are never especially frightening, and indeed, they’ve become more monsters than zombies, with gaping mouths, mutated dogs, and ax-wielding giants. Anderson has certainly never showed any real interest in crafting a scary horror movie, and “Afterlife” continues the trend. All the characters we expect to get eaten by zombies get eaten by zombies at the designated intervals, and of course, none of the main leads ever come close to getting chewed on, even if there’s an army of zombies in the same room with them. And oh please, Alice in trouble? Perish the thought. Despite supposedly losing her superhuman abilities, Alice still looks pretty invincible to me; the lady can literally leap off tall buildings without a scratch. The only time Alice ever comes close to not being able to easily overcome any obstacle is the aforementioned Claire scene with the Axeman.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing “Resident Evil: Afterlife” one bit. This is the fourth entry in a zombie franchise, so what’s there to complain about? The movie has all the necessary ingredients to be a successful genre film, and Anderson never really tries to make it any more than that. The film’s 3D elements are obvious, with bullets, debris, and body parts flying at the viewer in extreme slow motion throughout the movie. If you love that kind of stuff, I suppose you’ll love it here. I didn’t think they added anything significant to the film myself, but you kids will probably feel differently. At the end of the day, though, “Afterlife” is a good, solid popcorn movie. It’s not the best “Resident Evil” movie in the bunch, but it’s certainly not the worst, either.

Paul W.S. Anderson (director) / Paul W.S. Anderson (screenplay)
CAST: Milla Jovovich … Alice
Ali Larter … Claire Redfield
Kim Coates … Bennett
Shawn Roberts … Albert Wesker
Sergio Peris-Mencheta … Angel Ortiz
Spencer Locke … K-Mart
Boris Kodjoe … Luther West
Wentworth Miller … Chris Redfield
Kacey Barnfield … Crystal


Buy Resident Evil: Afterlife on DVD

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • Aya

    still sad about the lack of more than 5 seconds of Jill time. D;

  • Joseph

    Well this was a complete mix up between the old resident evils + the movies + resident evil 4 and 5. I still don’t understand why the main characters of the game are mare shadows of Alice and what the hell happened to Jill? We never see her again :/

  • Shaggy

    I think I missed Jill entirely…….or was she the blonde at the very, VERY end, with the mind control spider on her chest?

    • Aya

      She was the blonde at the very very end. lol. Taken from the RE5 game.

  • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

    To be fair Nix, “Extinciton” took place in the Nevada desert, so the city looking not as dry and desolate makes sense, the “still burning” fires not so much. LOL.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      True, true, but I think there was some kind of exposition at the beginning that said the virus had destroyed the oceans and turned the land arid. At least, from what I remembered…

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      True, true, but I think there was some kind of exposition at the beginning that said the virus had destroyed the oceans and turned the land arid. At least, from what I remembered…

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      True, true, but I think there was some kind of exposition at the beginning that said the virus had destroyed the oceans and turned the land arid. At least, from what I remembered…

      • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

        You may be right. I actually don’t remember alot about that film other than the clone thing and the super zombies. I wasn’t really feeling that one. I liked the first two and this one is looking pretty decent.

    • Anon

      The Las Plagas-infected zombies/monsters are far more intelligent than your average run of the mill zombies, and they do use fire. So seeing the city smoking is not completely out of left-field. Of course, none of this is explained in the movie. Still, it was nice seeing all those RE5 majini on screen, and Wesker does some of his moves from the game, too, like throwing the sun glasses.

      • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

        Glad to hear a fan of the games liked the movie. I only have a passing knowledge of the game franchise and story. But I’m a fan of watching both. Games moved to slow for me, though I may pick up 4 & 5.

  • Jason

    Fun movie in 3D.
    I especially enjoyed the VSTOL (Very Short Take Off and Landing) Zlin Aerobat with supper long range fuel tanks. I would have opted for a Cessna 180 but the Zlin is made in Ukraine so I understand why it was chosen. Over all, very video game esque. The RE fanboys must be enjoying it.

  • Jason

    Fun movie in 3D.
    I especially enjoyed the VSTOL (Very Short Take Off and Landing) Zlin Aerobat with supper long range fuel tanks. I would have opted for a Cessna 180 but the Zlin is made in Ukraine so I understand why it was chosen. Over all, very video game esque. The RE fanboys must be enjoying it.

  • Jason

    BTW my RE story “A Crush of Inhumanity” is still available if anyone is interested, (Paul and Milla, Sony?) Think AVATAR with zombies. I expect that is why I got so much hostility back when I first introduced the story.

  • Jamie

    Totally didn’t recognize Jill at the end either. I found out it was her on the internet. I also agree that the zombies weren’t scary or featured enough. Alice and her clones going to Japan for Wexler was a let down. It was over way too quick. But are we sure that all of Alice’s clones were there? Did all of them go with her to Japan? I also didn’t like that Alice’s looses here superpowers….but then again she does seem to have a vision at the end when she’s fighting Wexler. So maybe she didn’t completely. Regarding Claire and Chris, since Claire was only gradually getting her memory back and with everything happening there wasn’t a chance for them to bond. So a lack of closeness didn’t really bother me. Hopefully we will see that in the next film.

  • Nevil

    I can`t belief you whached this junk movie , you talking about characters …! which character ,that idiot Idols or super F**kin hero I mean f**kin Alice.

    Paul Worm.Shit. Anderson dont know any thing about RE.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      He knows enough about the franchise to put the things people want to see on screen, but knows enough about the business to create his own vision and take some liberties. Otherwise we’d just be watching the games all over agian, and where’s the fun in that. I mean as a huge GoW fan I don’t want to see the game up on screen exactly as it happened when I played it, I want many of the visuals but a more fleshed out story, and thats saying alot cause the story is already pretty deep and well written.

  • Resident Evil Afterlife DVD

    I love the RE movies Milla Jovovich is the best action heroin of the last seven years there is none better in the united states worldwide could be different but I don’t think so any way that is my two cents so check it out Lindsay