Some films succeed at being both bad and amusing at the same time. Resident Evil: Afterlife is just bad.
Although the first two iterations of Resident Evil films (Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Apocalypse) are far from great, they are at least quite entertaining to watch and easy to follow, even to those who aren’t fans of the source material. The main reason why these movies are so engaging is because they follow the games’ plots and have a great amateur feeling to them that definitely work in their favor. Resident Evil: Afterlife has none of these qualities. In fact, this is one of the most uninspired, lackluster and awful movies ever made.
Afterlife’s story picks up right where Extinction left off. Alice has just left the Nevada desert in order to locate a secret base in Alaska that is supposed to be free from infection. Once she gets there, Alice is violently attacked by Claire, who has a strange bio-mechanical bug attached to her chest. This machine has infected Claire with a powerful drug that (quite conveniently) causes memory loss. Once Alice destroys the bug and makes sure Claire is fine, they both head to Los Angeles where they meet a bizarre group of survivors who is trying to reach a ship known as Arcadia.
The story is impenetrable, as it has myriad plot holes, illogical events and minor inconsistencies. For example, the characters do eventually reach the aforementioned ship, but the viewer is never shown how. Although this isn’t the only event that randomly happens, it definitely feels like the director was in some kind of a hurry and thought he could get away with the omission of certain important parts.
Furthermore, characters are extremely one-dimensional. Alice has always felt like a video game character shoehorned into a movie, but here that fact is taken to an absurd extreme. In a particular scene for example, not only is she able to avoid attacks from vicious zombies as she gracefully falls from an exploding skyscraper, but she’s also able to draw her guns and shoot all the nearby enemies at the same time. I understand that this is a common scene in most action films, but why should I celebrate the immortality of the main character. In fact, that kind of makes me feel bad about the zombies. After all, the poor things don’t have a chance against her.
In addition, the rest of the characters don’t seem to have motivations; they just want to survive the zombie apocalypse for no apparent reason. They run, shoot enemies in the head, utter ridiculous one-liners every once in a while and then keep running. Why should the audience be interested in this bunch then? After all, the viewers are given little to no incentive to care about what ultimately happens to them.
If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ve already watched this movie a dozen times already as Afterlife has countless clichés and references to other zombie films. This is one of the most iterative films ever and as a consequence, it feels archaic and excessively dull. A clear example of this is the group of survivors who seeks refuge in an abandoned building in which they write “Help Us” in big white letters. The group itself is composed of every stereotypical character you can think of: a soldier who has a Spanish accent, an evil director who looks like a magician, the Asian assistant to the director, a former basketball star and a cute wannabe actress. A day after watching this flick, I still can’t recall who survived and who died.
Apart from changing the setting and adding a couple new characters someone thought it would be a superb idea to incorporate 3D. Usually, this is not so bothersome, but unfortunately this gimmick was so poorly implemented that it definitely feels like it overstays its welcome. Characters and enemies insist on throwing things at the screen over and over to remind you that you are in fact watching a 3D movie. You’ll spend half of the movie watching things violently come towards you. Shuriken, bullets, a pair of sunglasses, a hammer and knives are just a few of the things that immediately come to mind, but expect a lot more. In addition, the special effects seem particularly contrived and the combination of bullet time and bullet dodging make the raucous action really difficult to follow.
2D or 3D, this film has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Maybe the only amusing thing about Afterlife would be to compare it to the original Resident Evil and see how Milla Jovovich’s accent has improved over the last few years. In the end, Resident Evil: Afterlife is one of the dullest, most boring films ever made. Its story is impenetrable, the plot is poorly written, characters lack motivations, and the special effects become overwhelmingly tedious pretty soon. Afterlife is a waste of ninety seven minutes. Ninety seven precious minutes of your life that you’ll never get back.