Paul W.S. Anderson; not to be confused with my favorite Oscar nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood), returns to the director’s chair for the first time since doing the original in the series, Resident Evil.
To poor Milla Jovavich. The once promising mysterious actress who was great in The Fifth Element probably because she never spoke, has had the charisma to single-handedly bring the underwhelming series to a fourth feature, but must be saddened to know that this is her cinematic legacy. Not much of a toast, but with 6-Pack movies there’s not much to toast about.
Because I’m pretty sure that this film got green-lighted because the series friggen makes money and a conversation went a little something like this.
Evil Faceless Producer: “Mill, we want you back for another Resident Evil and this time it’s going to be in breathtaking 3D!”
Milla Jovavich: “Can I see the script first?”
(Long silent pause followed by hearty laughter on both sides)
Anderson shoots mainly for the avid fan, making many references and assumptions that are only obvious to followers of the prior movies and / or video games it’s based on. Afterlife starts off with Alice (Milla Jovovich), who has plenty of clones of herself (for which there is no explanation), trying to undo the damage the Umbrella Corporation, lead by baddie Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) who does his best Val Kilmer impersonation as Agent Smith (Matrix did it first you jerks!), to bring about the zombie apocalypse.
Alice finds an old friend, played by Ali Larter, and goes in search of a virus- free refuge called Arcadia. Their search has them crash landing on a prison run by a rag tag group of survivors. And then…other stuff happens…followed by something else happening…and then…oh who cares. Watching this plot-less mess there are so many faults it’s hard to inform the reader.
There are huge inconsistencies like the fact that Alice loses her special T-cell powers at the beginning but consistently defies the laws of human physics as she astonishingly survives through anything.
Another annoyance is Anderson stealing several ideas, including dog’s heads being split open aka The Thing. The actual 3D is done properly, but Anderson wants you take notice of it so badly that whole scenes are shot in excruciatingly slow-motion accompanied by a musical score in which someone was way too liberal with a synthesizer.
What a useless, pointless, ineffective, futile, unsuccessful, pathetic, waste of time, worthless, and any other word my thesaurus can think of to describe the making of the fourth installment in the Resident Evil series.
Take a Drink: when you see any shot obviously shot for 3D
Take a Drink: whenever you see Jovovich’s Alice do something pretty much physically impossible.
Take a Drink: every time any “umbrella” is referenced, even if you accidentally say it out loud.
Do a Shot: any time you laugh out loud. Remember there’s not a lot of outright comedy in this film.