Friday, September 10, 2010

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife

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Wow, what a weekend in the movie theaters. At my local theater there was only one major movie release and three art house films, the earliest release from July and the latest on August 20. For the second time in just a few weeks, there was a re-release of a film which originally released back in June. Not only was there only one major release, it was in IMAX 3D, Real 3D and a regular version. My local theater in the Friday through Sunday time span showed this movie 14 times per day. You would think that with no competition and so many showings that the movie must be so awesome that it deserves the large number of time slots AND scare off any possible opponents. The movie in question: Resident Evil: Afterlife. So I bit.

This is the fourth movie in the franchise who's original genesis was a video game. Originally the game was released in Japan under the name Biohazard. Bringing it to America the name was changed to Resident Evil after it was discovered that the name Biohazard couldn't be copyrighted and protected. The movie opens showing the original infestation taking place at the world's busiest pedestrian crossing, Hachiko Crossing in Shibuya Japan paying homage to the original game. In an attempt to make sure that if number four is your first outing into the movie franchise, a voice over by our heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich) gives the back story laying the foundation so we know why the she's fighting. Yeah...rah! Go kick the Umbrella Corporation's butt Alice! They're responsible for the virus that zombified the world.

All throughout this introduction you can see where they would use the 3D process to show depth and duck as bullets and weapons come out of the screen at you. Yawn! By attending one of the four non 3D showtimes I was able to keep the 3D upcharge of $4 in my pocket. Paul W S Anderson wrote and produced all four movies and takes another turn at directing the franchise after directing the original move back in 2002.

We see Alice fight and then head out to find any remaining humanity that may have taken refuge on the globe. Flashbacks to the previous movie, Extinction give us Alice's motivation. She goes to Arcadia and then eventually finds her way back to Los Angeles where she discovers more survivors. She ends up at a prison where she finds seven other survivors including Luther West (Boris Kudjoe) and Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller). If you're in a prison and looking to get out, wouldn't it be awesome if you had access to someone who is a prison break expert? You couldn't help but notice the irony of the task at hand and the actors in the scene.

The survivors battle within themselves, among themselves, the undead, the monsters within the undead, the Umbrella Corporation and even one giant. Where or how the giant came from, who knows? The giant carried a weapon that looked like a cross between a executioners axe and giant meat tenderizer. It seemed like the only reason this giant existed was to be able to give justification to use 3D. A couple of the people should have been wearing red shirts. Just like Star Trek, when the character wore the red shirt you knew they weren't long for screen time. Afterlife was no different with disposable characters. With one character think Shelly Winters from The Poseidon Adventure.

Just like the previous editions, the movie left off where the next movie in the franchise can easily pick up the storyline and action. With all the blood and guts while battling the undead, the movie was rated R for violence and strong language that pervaded the 97 minute running time. When the credits roll, don't leave right away, hang for a moment for some extra set up for the next movie and if you're a hard core Resident Evil fan, stay all the way to the very end for an easter egg.

The only thing that was exciting about this movie for me was the gas explosion that happened across the street from the movie theater during the showtime. To come out and see flashing lights on a police cruiser blocking the road to traffic and then seeing a fire engine with ladder extended and water being sprayed in the nearby field was a rush. That and the coupon from Regal Theater's facebook page that got me a small popcorn for free, a $4 savings. That was something to get excited about!

The Movie Monkey

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