Last Friday, I saw the latest Resident Evil film — Resident Evil: Afterlife.
What can I say about Resident Evil: Afterlife? I’ve been trying to figure that out for two days now. For obvious reasons, this movie – like the other Resident Evil films — is just a video game put up on screen. The film is a collection of set pieces that are all built around various characters having to complete tasks in a certain amount of time. You can almost imagine various instructions popping up on the screen: ”Clear the roof so that Alice can land her plane.” ”Swim through the basement to get the weapons cache.” “Reach The Underground Tunnel Before The Building Explodes.” In the lead role of Alice, Mila Jovovich still can’t act and director Paul W. S. Anderson still seems to believe that any cinematic weaknesses can be covered up by slow motion.
(By the way, there’s a chance that you might see the name Paul W. S. Anderson in the opening credits and you might say something like, “I guess he has to make movies like this so he can make movies like There Will Be Blood.” Do not say this out loud because, while it’s totally understandable that you might be hyperactive and therefore, you sometimes say the first thing that pops into your head or maybe you just sometimes get in a kinda ditzy state of mind and you might just happen to forget that Paul W. S. Anderson is not Paul Thomas Anderson, the people you saw the movie with will still be making fun of you at least two days later.)
This is the type of movie that critics hate and that , all things considered, I should probably hate too. After all, I’ve devoted a lot of time and energy to criticizing Avatar for having a predictable plot. So, how can I not hate a film, like Resident Evil: Afterlife, that doesn’t even have a plot to begin with?
Well, I didn’t hate Resident Evil: Afterlife. I certainly didn’t love it and I think that it’s a total failure of as a zombie film (but then again, we all know the Resident Evil films aren’t really zombie films to begin with) but the movie is really the epitome of stupid fun. The movie doesn’t pretend to be anything other than that.
Sometimes, you just have to stop worrying and go with the flow.
I have to admit that I’ve never actually played the Resident Evil games before and whenever I’ve seen any of the movies, I’ve had to take my good friend Jeff with me so that he could explain what was going on. To be honest, I’ve made him explain it to me several times and I still don’t quite get it all but he’s so cute when he tries. I did try to watch him play one of the Resident Evil games once. At one point, he started talking back to the imaginary people on the TV screen, saying, “No, how about you go down there and find them!?” So, to be honest, that’s what I think about when I think about Resident Evil.
(And, to be honest, I kind of wish that — at one point during the movie — either Alice or her sidekick Claire — played by Ali Larter — had said something along those lines instead of just blindly agreeing to run off alone into hordes of zombies. It’s what I would have said. “You want me to go swim through the flooded basement to retrieve those weapons? Hey, fuck you, Mr. Man. You go do it if you want those freaking guns so much…”)
Anyway, I’ve been told that the big deal in this film is that Wentworth Miller shows up playing Claire’s brother, Chris. Apparently, Chris is a big deal in the game. He doesn’t really do much in this film but that’s okay. Jovovich and Larter kick more than enough ass on their own. Since I’m always a fan of any movie that features women fighting back (as opposed to just waiting to be rescued), that was fine with me.
Anyway, the demonic dogs and all the usual zombies all show up but, to be honest, their presence is almost an afterthought. They don’t have much to do. If I did really have any huge complaint with this unambitious film, it’s that you never really believe that the zombie apocalypse would be that hard to survive. The zombies, quite frankly, are way too metrosexual.
But as I said before, this is a fun film as long as you don’t think about it. It’s a movie to see with a group of friends so you can all take turns making silly comments. On the plus side, the film’s opening — in which Tokyo is destroyed — is very well done and the film has an excellent musical score. This is a movie that was designed to be played loud.
Oh — and the 3-D effects? Actually, the 3-D effects were surprisingly good and Anderson actually makes good use of them. Admittedly, they made me feel car sick but that’s on me. Don’t blame the movie.