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Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife
Constantin Film Produktion
Rated R
Now Showing at: most major theaters.
Review by: Larry Thomas

Resident Evil: Afterlife is the fourth film in the Resident Evil series. All are based on a video game, and star former supermodel Milla Jovovich as a super warrior named Alice whose task at hand is to kill zombies. I have neither seen the first three films in the series, nor had any particular desire to do so. Why, then, you may be wondering, should I choose the fourth installment of the cyber saga to begin my interest in it?

That’s a good question with a short answer: 3-D. I do enjoy 3-D as technological enhancement to movies, just as in the 1950s. But lately the slipshod, cost-cutting style of 3-D, which is added post-production via computer, has been disappointing. Greedy producers wanting to take advantage of this marketing tool, not to mention the additional ticket price involved, figure they can get away with it and you won’t notice. Well, you noticed. The first one to use this low-rent process was Clash Of The Titans, which created a serious backlash among film fans and media writers.

However, Resident Evil: Afterlife was filmed in 3-D, not retrofitted, with shots and sets planned accordingly. And to that end, it worked. Even though much if the film is CGI… computer generated images…and has the look of video game quality, it still has enough 3-D pizzazz to make the visuals effective. There are the usual scenes of objects being thrust in your face, or thrown at the camera, which is ok since that’s part of what 3-D is about. But there are also some vistas and interiors that have a really nice sense of depth and are fun to look at.

Have no illusions, though: the movie is pure tripe. There’s nothing original going on here, and the script is so stale that I was able to quote lines before they were spoken, without having seen it before. The acting covers all the emotions ranging from A to B. The story is confusing in the beginning if you haven’t seen the others in the series, but after a few minutes it really doesn’t matter. Writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson was at the helm for the first in the series. He developed his movie making skills by directing other video-game-to-movie action flicks like Mortal Kombat.

But in a film that’s aimed squarely at the teenage boy audience, no one really gives a fig about plot, logic, performance, nuance, or anything remotely approaching intelligence. But if you enjoy keeping up with the technology of today’s cinema experience… digital projection, 3-D, IMAX-lite… this may be of interest to you as a current reference point. If they keep wasting good 3-D on movies like Resident Evil: Afterlife, the process will vanish almost as fast as it did in the 1950s.

The gruesome and gory R-rated Resident Evil: Afterlife is now showing everywhere, but not every cinema has it in 3-D. Ask before you go. And if you want to see it in what’s being touted these days as IMAX, that can only be done at AMC Newport on the Levee.


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