Combustible Celluloid
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With: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Spencer Locke, Boris Kodjoe, Wentworth Miller, Sienna Guillory, Kacey Barnfield, Norman Yeung, Fulvio Cecere, Ray Olubowale
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong violence and language
Running Time: 97
Date: 09/02/2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Undead Zone

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This is the first Resident Evil film I've seen, and it's not as bad as I'd been led to believe. Written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson -- who returns to the series for the first time since the original film -- this fourth film has an interesting look, and some good, streamlined action sequences, apparently slowed down and clarified for the benefit of 3D. It also has an interesting Hawksian element in which several humans with opposing points of view come together to battle a greater evil.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) manages to infiltrate the secret underground headquarters of the Corporation. The man in charge, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), escapes and blows up the entire compound. He also manages to inject Alice with a serum that will destroy her superpowers and make her human again. She resolves to find more survivors, following a rescue signal. She runs into her old friend Claire (Ali Larter), and then finds a bunch humans trapped inside an empty prison building in Los Angeles. They discover that the signal is coming from a ship just off the coast, but how can eight humans get out of a building totally surrounded by hoards of the undead? And even if they do, how do they know the ship is really safe?

Anderson sets up some interesting potential sub-themes, such as a collection of Hollywood types (a producer, a struggling actress, an athlete-turned-model, an intern, etc.) hiding out from the zombies, as well as the idea of the evil corporation, but he fails to really take these anywhere. Any emotional involvement or intelligence is cut down for the benefit of keeping things moving, which, in this kind of movie, is actually a good thing. All in all, it's not particularly smart or original, and it doesn't really make me want to go back and rent its predecessors, but Resident Evil: Afterlife isn't really all that bad.

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