RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE. Starring Milla Jovovich, Wentworth Miller and Ali Larter. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Rated MA 15+ (Strong horror violence, blood and gore). 97 minutes.
Resident Evil is a computer game movie that led to sequels and by this fourth instalment, the first in 3D, it has become a franchise – especially, since we are given the opening scenes for Resident Evil 5 at the end of this one.
It is only for the fans of the series. Those not in the know may well be counfounded by the plot. They may well be intrigued by the action sequences – and that is for most of the running time – but they are exercises in director’s skill, stunt work, computergraphics and 3D effects that are as eye-popping as the ads say, and the need to fill in plot time more than create plot or character development.
Even for those who have seen the other films, like the present reviewer, they are not masterpieces whose storylines remain etched in the memory. Fortunately, heroine (and that is an understatement watching her in derring-do, also an understatement, as she leaps and swings, unleashes her weapons and demolishes more opponents at a time than the stars of Kill Bill Part One – forgive this mouthful of a parenthesis but that is what the film is like!), Alice, initially fills in a few bits of information to keep us on track.
Basically, she is out to destroy the Umbrella Corporation which has been experimenting with drugs, has killed the odd thousands of victims, who have decided not to lie down but to become the living dead, and now wants to get rid of a liner, the Arcadia, where non-infected people are being used for further testing. Also, the large and brawny actor (no, he really can’t act) who is in control wants Alice’s soul and DNA so that he can become the exemplar of a master race.
Alice is joined by a survivor or two from previous films, especially Ali Larter who performs as though she is auditioning to join The Expendables.
Milla Jovovich (now the wife of the director) has been in all the films. She is a grim-faced (but, just to spoil the ending, she does laugh, completely unexpectedly, in some final scenes), fights with mind power, will power, gun power, sword power and acrobatics that defy belief, especially since the films gives the impression that she neither eats nor sleeps but just keeps heroineing away.
The Resident Evil films are just entertainment concoctions, bringing the world and the impossibilities of computer games to the big screen and a blasting sound system. Anderson knows he can do this well, commands extraordinary looking sets, and just puts his cast through these outlandish paces.
Out October 14 2010.