Resident Evil: Afterlife
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller
Director: Paul Anderson
Resident Evil: Afterlife may be fun, but it's also dumb, lacking originality, plot, emotion and character development. There was a time when one could describe such a movie as a 'video game film' (which the Resident Evil series effectively is), but with increasing production values and sophistication in video games - which has led to video game sales outgrossing movies in the US and Britain for the past several years - it would be insulting to game-makers to do so.
Picking up where the last instalment left off, the film opens with Alice (Milla Jovovich) battling malevolent former employer Umbrella Corporation, which unleashed a virus that turned humans into flesh-eating zombies years ago. With most of the human population infected and the earth a dystopian wasteland, Alice has become increasingly isolated.
After a visually impressive explosive opener, Alice reunites with former cohort Claire Redfield (Ali Larter, reprising her role from the previous instalment) and they commandeer a plane to search for a mysterious place named Arcadia, which supposedly offers food and shelter to survivors.
Along the way, they make a stopover at a Los Angeles prison to rescue a group of survivors, with the crew recruiting the help of a mysterious prisoner, played by Wentworth Miller (of TV series Prison Break, above left), to find a way out.
Of course, zombies break in - and all hell breaks loose. From then, the film is essentially one giant action sequence filled with clich?d, unoriginal content that moviegoers have seen countless times.
There's the John Woo-style shoot-out, and a bullet-time sequence which sees super-powered Umbrella chairman Alex Wesker (Shawn Roberts, centre with Kacey Barnfield, right) dodge bullets a la The Matrix. Later, Alice ties a rope around her waist and leaps off a building as it explodes, just like Bruce Willis did in Die Hard. But at least everything looks good, from the eye-candy leads to the 3-D cinematography. But then British filmmaker Paul Anderson has never had problems making stylish films.
When Anderson adapted video game Mortal Kombat into a movie in 1995, the fact that the film was all style and no substance didn't matter to many because video games at the time weren't known for intricate storytelling. But in this day and age, the director's Michael Bay school of filmmaking seems glaringly shallow, considering the original Resident Evil game packed more emotional wallop and revelations than this entire film series has thus far.
Resident Evil: Afterlife opens today