Blu-Ray Review: Boring ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ Falls Flat in 2D

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CHICAGO – Despite the exhaustion most of us have with the 3D trend by now, if there’s any franchise that should have benefited from the 3D rollercoaster, it would be the one based on “Resident Evil.” Zombies and Milla in 3D?!? Sign me up. And I wasn’t alone as the film made a stunning $300 million worldwide (more than double any other film in the franchise). Sadly, the traditional Blu-ray proves that 3D was the main reason for not just the film’s success but its very existence. It doesn’t work without it. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” opens with a shootout that doesn’t just involve every heterosexual male’s dream of clones of Milla Jovovich but the complete destruction of Tokyo. Leave it to director Paul W.S. Anderson, who returns to the director’s chair for the first time since the first movie, to start his action orgy with the kind of ludicrous, over-the-top sequence that would have ended most other action flicks.

Six months after the opening, Alice (Jovovich), who hasn’t seen any signs of life in weeks, flies to Arcadia, a reported haven, free of infection where survivors are headed to try and reboot civilization. When she gets there, she finds an empty beach and a graveyard of deserted planes. It’s not long before she’s attacked by an amnesiac Claire (Ali Larter) and the pair make their way to L.A., where they find more survivors/zombie-bait and spot a shop off-shore named, guess what, the Arcadia. Is the boat the answer to their salvation? A trap? Just more zombie food?

The American was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 28th, 2010.
The American was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 28th, 2010.
Photo credit: Universal Home Video

Without the “ooh” factor of 3D, the majority of “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is surprisingly dull. As Alice, Claire, and the rest of the survivors try to figure what to do next, the movie grinds to a halt without the depth shots offered in theaters. It’s not until near the hour mark that fans looking for zombie action will really get what they’re looking for and that’s simply way too long for a B-grade flick like this one.

As excellent as Jovovich was in 2010’s “Stone,” she’s totally uninspired here, as if even she has grown weary of the franchise. Everything about the production just feels so exhausted of ideas. The cast is predictably dull (Larter and “Prison Break” star Wentworth Miller” are both notably bad), the death scenes are boring, and the action is more often loud than entertaining. And Anderson employs slo-mo more than ever, presumably to enhance the 3D in theaters but now just silly on normal Blu-ray. And as for honest scares? Zero.

I know, it’s just a fourth “Resident Evil” movie and I’m being too harsh. Trust me. I get that movies should be judged on their intentions. And some people will like the movie just because it’s loud with pretty girls shooting guns. But as a huge fan of both Jovovich in the right material and the video game series (and remembering the greatness of the game “Resident Evil 4,” one of the best ever made), I thought some fun could conceivably be injected back into the movie series by the advent of 3D. Who knew it would be sucked back out again for anyone without a 3D television?

There is one title that “Resident Evil: Afterlife” may hold — the most hyperbolic interview material. The featurettes on “Afterlife” are jaw-dropping, whether it’s comparing the film to “T2: Judgment Day” or Alice to a Clint Eastwood character or, even worse, Ripley from the “Alien” movies, there seems to be little perspective. At their best, the “Resident Evil” movies are fun B-movie escapism but it’s hard to believe that even their creators consider them timeless action classics although they sure sell them as if they do. To be fair, the special features on “RE 4” are extensive and pretty impressive. It’s a solid collection for a movie that should have been better.

Special Features:
o PS3 Wallpaper Theme
o movieIQ™+sync and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie!
o Undead Vision: Picture-in-Picture
o Filmmaker Commentary
o Deleted & Extended Scenes
o Outtakes
o Back Under the Umbrella: Directing Afterlife
o Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife
o Undead Dimension: Resident Evil in 3D
o Fighting Back: The Action of Afterlife
o Vision of the Apocalypse: The Design of Afterlife
o New Blood: The Undead of Afterlife
o Pwning the Undead: Gamers of the Afterlife

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” stars Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Boris Kodjoe, and Wentworth Miller. It was written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 28th, 2010 and is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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