Milla Jovovich's husband Paul W.S. Anderson returns to the director's chair to play with the new 3D toys in Resident Evil: Afterlife, though forgets to bring any kind of character depth or storytelling finesse to a clunkingly formulaic script. The plot, what little of it there is, tracks Jovovich's Alice as she teams up with an amnesiac Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and her brother Chris (Prison Break's Wentworth Miller, barely breaking above a whisper) and find the outbreak survivors' safe haven of Arcadia. The action shifts from Japan to a decimated Los Angeles as they take on Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), the evil head of the Umbrella Corporation.
Anderson takes a sledgehammer approach to the third dimension. If you want subtlety and environment immersion, forget it. Gun barrels, bullets, rain, shattered glass and, in one laughable moment, a pair of glasses fly at your face (ooh, how meta!). This flash and bang might be impressive if there was some originality to it, but unfortunately Anderson has pilfered everything from George Romero, John Carpenter and The Wachowskis. All in hilarious sloooooow motion. In the cult comedy Garth Marenghi's Darkplace the characters observed that their TV shows would always run under, so their solution was to use a ridiculous amount of slo-mo to make up the time. Anderson, it seems, is from the Marenghi school of inept filmmaking. He's a "woah, whoosh, cool, awesome" director whose work miraculously seems to get worse with each attempt.
In fairness, Jovovich is quite vicious and commanding in the lead role, proving again that it's only her and Angelina Jolie who can do action as well as the boys. The only problem is that she's completely wasted in a shockingly bad movie. She fights a giant super-zombie with Larter, battles undead dogs with split heads and endlessly whirls and twirls gracefully as she sprays hot lead into the baddies. There's no spirit or emotion connecting these vapid set pieces.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is loud, boring, derivative, has zero tension and is the kind of movie that could only possibly be liked if the viewer has never seen any other post-apocalyptic zombie flick. The bad news is there'll be another entry in this lifeless saga, possibly co-written by fans in a mass Twitter script. It seems apt, because 140 characters is about all part five deserves based on this evidence.
> What do you think of the movie? Share your views