Resident Evil: Afterlife’s posters all contain a big “3D” logo under the title, which is always a worry, and sure enough the film suffers from an over-reliance of objects going towards the camera and slow motion falling. Still, it’s not all bad, it has elements from Resident Evil 5 which were a good laugh, with the live action debut of Chris Redfield no less, and the plot is simplified (apart from the opening!) so… let’s take a closer look!
After her clone army wipes out Umbrella HQ, and seemingly its head Albert Wesker, Alice returns to Alaska expecting to meet up with Claire and the rest of the survivors, but instead finds something else entirely…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Chris and Claire, reunited at la- … wait, no, in-film this is the first time hearing of Claire having a brother, so… never mind.
Afterlife is a weird one, after an action packed opening that pretty much undoes all the weird, super-powered stuff with Alice (her T-Virus powers are neutralised, and all her clones are wiped out, reducing her back to a normal human) she meets back up with Claire, who has a Resident Evil 5 style red bug chest-piece controller… thing, and brings her back round, though leaving her with amnesia. The two soon crash in a plane onto a prison roof where a bunch of survivors are held up and it becomes all about escaping the prison to get to a ship safe haven. Standard survivor horror fare, get from point A to point B in a group, but members of the group get taken out before they reach the goal. It’s not bad, if I’m honest, even if the survivors are on the cliché side of things (didn’t see that coming, did ya?)
The most significant new member of the cast is Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield, and while he doesn’t quite get the generic macho soldier vibe that the game goes for, he’s still a good enough actor that I enjoyed his take on the role. The rest a pretty throwaway, you have the brave leader who was once just a regular citizen in Luther West (Boris Kodjoe), the cowardly bastard who betrays everyone before getting his comeuppance in Bennet Sinclair (Kim Coates) and then a bunch of generic, somewhat likable other survivors … to get killed. Like I said, the film isn’t going to win any awards for acting or screenplay, but for what it is, it’s simple fun.
The winner of best cosplayer goes to…
At the end the boat turns out to be an Umbrella trap, and Wesker is alive and well in the ship’s hold. This leads to a fight between Wesker and Alice, Chris and Claire, including a few scenes straight out of Resi 5 (though Chris and Wesker have none of the background like the games) until Wesker is killed … repeatedly. Then keeps coming back, then gets blown up mid-air and completely vaporised… so he’ll probably be back next film. Whatever, it was a good laugh.
I’m both glad they remembered the weird clone cliffhanger from the last film, and feel sorry for anyone coming into this film without prior knowledge!
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the over-use of shots made for no other reason than to thrill 3D watchers is extremely obnoxious. I get that some film makers / companies didn’t see the second downfall of the viewing method coming, but it really hurts the film.
As much as I was defending the thin-to-nil characterisation and plot, I would like to mention that again. It didn’t hurt my enjoyment because I took the film for what it was, but I won’t be scoring it highly, and I can’t see myself wanting to watch the film again. It felt like an episode of a TV series, “in this episode Alice and friends try to escape a prison”, with the start handwaving the previous “episodes”, and end setting up the next “episode” (it ends with several Umbrella aircraft about to attack the ship with Alice, Chris, Claire and a whole bunch of survivors on, then mid-credits we see a controlled Jill, complete with blonde hair and jumpsuit from Resi 5, in one of the planes) It’s less big budget film, and more good budget TV show.
Oh yeah, the giant axe guy from Resident Evil 5 makes an appearance in this film. Forgot about that.
By keeping the plot straight forward and adding more Resident Evil characters and even scenes without using them as ways to make Alice seem so much better, Resident Evil: Afterlife is actually a fun film. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the acting isn’t great, the plot simple and the constant 3D effect attempts are annoying as hell, plus a lot I liked was based on being such a big fan of the games, but it was… okay at best? …I think Apocalypse being so bad has skewed how I view these other films…