For anyone who”™s been wondering why, every few years, the waifish face of L”™OrÃ©al cosmetics suits up in skintight black ninja apparel, packs heat and kicks zombie ass, Resident Evil: Afterlife is an ideal entry point to explore the franchise.
Ukrainian-born supermodel-turned-actress Milla Jovovich is back playing Alice and still hell-bent on revenge. In Afterlife, the fourth installment of the highly successful action horror franchise based on a video game, five years have passed since the T-virus was released and now zombies dominate the post-apocalyptic landscape. Alice”™s mission is to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation”™s subterranean Tokyo lair and take down her archenemy Wesker (Shawn Roberts).
The movies successfully walk a fine line, attempting to please the fans of the video game as well as win over a legion ofÂ movieÂ lovers, although some hard-core gamers still resent the very existence of Alice trespassing in their beloved virtual world.
Parts 2 and 3 saw the already tough-as-nails Alice gaining some speccy super powers, such as telekinesis, her pupil dilation force-field blast and an army of clones. For Afterlife writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson has wisely rendered herÂ more vulnerable, stripping her of these superhuman abilities.Â As Alice scours the devastated planet for survivors, her heartfelt videoblogging further endears her to us.
Anderson has returned to the director”™s chair to shoot in 3-D, which is almost de rigeur for current action thrillers. Here the technique is executed properly andÂ used to great effect, with none of the blurry, murky conversion suffered by films such as Clash of the Titans and Piranha 3D.
Stylistic nods to The Matrix, Escape from New York andÂ even Silence of the Lambs are inevitable and, thankfully, only fleeting. A strong supporting cast includes Ali Larter as Claire and Wentworth Miller in fantastic action and battleÂ sequences that are not too stomach churning and go easy on the gore so you won”™t lose your lunch.
Yes, in the future there”™s always perfect hair and rockin”™ lipstick, but do you really want to spend 97 minutes with bedraggled stars?Â At least they have the decency to look a bit grubby after crawling through the sewer.
The menacing dobermans and Alice”™s archenemy are more grotesque adversaries than ever. Anderson has upped the anteÂ atÂ every turn and his choices have paid off.
Review by Pauline Adamek