- Written and Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson
- September 2, 2010 (Tokyo) / September 10, 2010 (US)
In a prison surrounded by the infected, Alice joins a group of survivors intent on going to the supposed utopia of Arcadia.
Early in the film Alice (Milla Jovovich) gets depowered. I think not only was this a smart move on the part of Anderson to keep things as simple as possible, but it struck me a bit as him trying to move back towards what he started. Regardless, giving the central character of a film series superhuman powers makes victory too easy ultimately. It can be difficult depending on the film universe to devise a situation/villain that is suitably difficult for the hero to overcome.
At the start of the film Alice is seen flying to Alaska on a plane (she sprouts skills as the plot dictates) in search of Arcadia and her friends who we last saw on a helicopter heading there. All she finds is a collection of planes and the helicopter stolen in the last film. That and Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) with a spider like device attached to her chest. With the device removed Claire is unable to provide much in the way of answers because of amnesia and so they leave in search of better pastures.
Eventually they come across a group of survivors inside a prison surrounded by the infected. In there she finds former basketball player Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) who leads the group of survivors. There is also former film producer Bennett Sinclair (Kim Coates) and his former intern Kim Yong (Norman Yeung) along with Angel Ortiz (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and champion swimmer turned actress Crystal “This Sounds Like A Porn Name” Waters (Kacey Clarke). And coincidentally in the basement they find Claire’s brother Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller) whom the initial inhabitants believe to be a dangerous killer. Small world!
It is from these few survivors that we learn Arcadia, which we were led to believe was a town in Alaska, is actually a large vessel traveling the seas and it is currently anchored offshore within sight of the prison. Three days before Alice’s arrival it had stopped transmitting that alerted the world to Arcadia for reasons unknown.
This film, like the others, is style over substance. These are the junk food of film. And sometimes you want a little junk. The opener with the umpteen Alice’s assaulting the base in Japan is one of the coolest action scenes in the series. Mostly because there are a ton of Alice’s going around engaging in over-the-top action.
As humans we need a treat. Maybe yours is potato chips or those ice cream cups with the wooden spoons where you remember the taste of the spoon more than the ice cream. Maybe you like a Poptart or some chicken nuggets from a fast-food place. This is that ice cream and those chicken nuggets. And that’s just fine. Not everything has to be gourmet. How can you truly appreciate the gourmet if you don’t occasionally indulge in the enjoyable junk?
This movie offers very little new to the Resident Evil film concept. Then again none of them really offered anything new to begin with after the first ones really. These are just fun zombie killing movies. The action is great. There is excessive gunplay and just as excessive explosions. For a world that has fallen into the toilet and is about to go down the pipe they certainly seem to have plenty of gasoline and bullets and explosives to expend when needed.
I like how these movies set up a cliffhanger ending each time. The story finishes at a point where you can expect the characters to have some kind of happily ever after in the context of the universe and then pulls a Billy Mays and says “But wait! There’s more!” and something happens in the final moments to set up another possible film. That’s pretty ballsy when there is no guarantee of a sequel each time. But they made it happen.
The storyline for these movies were as planned out as those of the Transformer series. And by that I mean there was no plan. The best they could come up with was set up for a sequel and figure it out later.
Whatever you may think of the director and of these movies they at least took into consideration what came before and tried to create a natural outgrowth. You can watch the first two films and see the line from the original to this.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is yet another enjoyable installment in the Resident Evil film series. It’s not fine cinema but it is most certainly enjoyable cinema. Watch it!