Sep 27, 2010

[Movies] Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)I have already addressed the challenges of the video game to movie market and the usual stigma that comes with such projects. Video game movies are a horribly mixed bag in terms of how the end product looks but tend to skew towards the really bad part of the quality spectrum in terms of how they are received. It's a weird unspoken rule of Hollywood it seems - like we're perpetually damned to suffer through really, really bad adaptations of video games. Like really, really, REALLY bad ones.

I've also discussed the Hollywood trope about sequels being pretty bad too. And the quality of the franchise seems to degenerate at an exponential rate as additional sequels are created to curse audiences around the world. Or at least that's how it seems things go for the most part and it's a wonder why studio executives still think such movies are a good idea.

Now this movie is sadly both based on a video game and a sequel in a long-running franchise, and not a very good one at that. Sure, we all appreciate decent tough chick fighting movies here and there but this franchise has been a unique display of the love of one man (or director) for wife (and star in this case). That's all well and good for them, but the end result tends to learn towards the not-to-good side of things.

Resident Evil: Afterlife is the fourth movie in the Resident Evil movie franchise and still directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.

The ficional logo of Umbrella Corporation from...Image via WikipediaThe movie starts with an all-out attack on the headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation in Japan. The perpetrators are revealed to be an army of clones of Alice (Milla Jovovich), determined to destroy everything that has to do with Umbrella one way or another. But in the end Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), who has been leading Umbrellas continued efforts to master the effects of the T-virus, manages to escape while at the same time killing all the Alice clones save one. While she manages to get him to crash their helicopter, he in turn is able to infect her with a tailored virus of sorts that erases all signs of T-virus in her system, thus taking away her superhuman strength, speed and telekinetic abilities.

Fast forward six months and we find Alice alive and well in a small airplane, searching for the fabled safe haven Arcadia. He finds the empty helicopter her friends used to escape in the last movie along with a number of abandoned aircraft of different kinds. Finally, she comes across a feral Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), but is able to subdue once she removes a mysterious bug-like robot attached to her chest. She's suffering from memory loss and the two make their way down to Los Angeles in search of more clues. There they find an entire city's worth of zombies surrounding a single structure with a few survivors on the roof. Alice decides to try and land the plane to see if she can help out the survivors.

The movie was done in 3D and while my partner and I were unable to watch it in that manner. However based on how the movie went, it was pretty obvious where the 3D moments were - the cheesy kind where things pop out of the screen towards the audience like when 3D first came out. Clearly this became a major distraction for the director since he seemed more focused on creating such moments with little regard for the integrity (or even the common sense logic) of the actual story. The movie certainly suffered because of this oversight.

Thus in its place, the movie seemed to draw major influences (read: stole ideas) from a number of other franchises in a very horrible way. The most obvious inspiration was the Matrix franchise since they had everything from bullet time sequences, falling backwards out of a tall building (in a manner of speaking), an Agent Smith / Terminator style enemy and of coursed Alice acting as this movie's Neo. We had dogs whose heads split open like in Blade Trinity, gross tentacle-like mutations like in Parasite Eve and even coffin-like structures in the floor like in Underworld. And we even had Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield first appearing trapped in a prison cell with the promise of knowing a way out of the surrounded building. And don't forget the entire unused wardrobe from The Island or something other and some monsters inspired by Silent Hill. The list goes on and on.

And beyond the ideas ripped off from different movies and franchises, the story they didn't really draw influence from was the actual Resident Evil franchise itself. This so didn't feel like the kind of Resident Evil zombie stories we're used to and instead it got a heck of a lot more distracted by disposable human survivor characters and the pointless experimentations by the Umbrella Corporation besides the fact that the entire world has gone to waste due to the zombie apocalypse. Really, who do they expect will want to acquire their biological developments now that most of humanity has been either eaten or infected?

Resident Evil: Afterlife goes far beyond merely jumping the shark. They decided to go all the way into a full three-ring aquatic circus with dozens of sharks, flaming hoops and a few midget rodeo clowns on rocket-powered unicycles. To say the movie is ridiculous is an understatement plus it ends with the THREAT of a sequel. Perish the thought. This farce of a video game movie gets 1.5 inconsistent zombie behaviors out of a possible 5.

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