Tuesday, 16 November 2010

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE

NOT THAT IT MATTERS, BUT THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS A FEW SPOILERS

I know it's not fashionable to say so, especially after Paul WS Anderson stood up on stage at FrightFest and heretically denounced the zombies of George Romero films as old hat, while his own new zombie movie, Resident Evil, marked a new and exciting chapter in the evolution of the subgenre. Did it hell.... But while it never had a hope of eclipsing any of the (then) three Romero Dead movies, PWSA's film was fun, with plenty of gloop and gore, Milla Jovovich kicking an apparently infinite amount of zombie ass and a terrific final shot that echoed the start of 28 Days Later (which wouldn't actually come out for another six months). Granted, it was so obviously based on a video game that you constantly expected a caption to announce "You may now proceed to Level Six" after every fight scene, but as a straightforward exercise in shooting them in the head it was perfectly enjoyable. The second one was a lot weaker with not enough zombies and too many other monsters, and a ludicrous scene where, in a film in which the dead are coming back to life, Milla and her team take a shortcut through the cemetery at night and are mightily surprised when they're surrounded by zombies. The third one got out of the city entirely and spent much of the time wandering around Nevada instead; it looked a lot better (it was directed by Russell Mulcahy, so it damn well should) and was much more fun, but in a world in which 99.999% of the population have been zombified it's increasingly ludicrous that the evil Umbrella Corporation is still operational.

Now here's the fourth one, Resident Evil: Afterlife, for which Paul WS Anderson has returned and this time he's brought 3D into the mix! Flesh-ripping zombies AND Milla Jovovich in 3D - what more could you ask for? After a terrific mass fight scene in which an army of Jovovich clones (all in the same fanboy-pandering costume) shoot up Umbrella HQ, she and her chums crashland their plane on the roof of a prison, where a group of survivors are huddled inside in the hope of somehow getting to the mythical zom-free land of Arcadia. But the living dead are gathering outside and sooner or later one of them is going to find a way in.... and a twelve-foot zombie with an axe (!) is smashing the front doors down. And even when some of them do manage to reach Arcadia, it's far from the haven they were praying for.

At least the 3D is proper 3D rather than a shoddy computer conversion of a flat movie, and there's plenty of gore and monster mayhem for the Saturday night popcorn audience. On that level it is a lot of fun, but there's absolutely no substance to the movie, there's absolutely nothing to think about beyond the utter silliness of it all. And it ends on the cliffhanger promise of another film to come, though there's nothing listed on the IMDb. Intensely dumb, but entertaining enough.

***

1 comment:

Alli Price said...

Had to read this one to see if I was going to fall out with you. But it's a fair cop. Personally I loved this, especially as it was first 3D movie I'd seen since the 80s! I don't think this franchise ever prported to be a heavy hitter really. Damn good fun though. Hope you liked Inception or I'll have to cry. Saw Aftelife and Inception in one night - fab.