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Angry Charlie Says The 3D In RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE 'Works Really Well'...But...

Merrick here...
An AICN reader called Angry Charlie noted that we've recently made many references on the site to RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (which opened this past weekend to a reasonably impressive box office take), but haven't actually reviewed the film. Fair enough. Accordingly, Angry Charlie sent in some thoughts in the movie and was hoping to share them with curious readers. So here you go...
Oh-oh. Looks like those pesky, virus infected un-dead are at it again – and I imagine by this point Alice (Milla Jovovich) is gettin’ mighty pissed off at and tired of saving everybody from the ironically named (and somehow still funded) Umbrella Corp. and their army of ‘almost but not quite’ un-dead zombies. We catch up with Alice during a raid on Umbrella Corp. where her and her incapable clones start tearing up the place all in the name of retribution - at least I think that's why she's there. Doesn’t really matter anyways as the first ten minutes of Afterlife is there for two reasons: to preview all the cool 3D effects director Paul W.S. Anderson is going to be throwing at you for the next eighty minutes, and to set up the new bad guy - Umbrella's man in charge, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). As the Alice clones attack the company and foreshadow certain destruction, Wesker safely escapes via aircraft. Alas, he is not alone. That's when the real Alice stands up and (compliments of Wesker) takes a syringe in the neck that makes her human again. At this point Wesker decides its a good idea to temporarily leave the control panel and walk over to Alice to give his bad guy speech. But dammit, wouldn't you know it, he forgot to stay and steer the plane (no, seriously) and that results in an obvious crash. Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly, rather), Alice survives and heads to Alaska to meet up with her friends from the end of the last film, who were on a pilgrimage to find an unharmed and uninfected safe spot known only as Arcadia. On her way there we hear Alice's thoughts via video diary for some reason, which never really pans out. On that note, I sure as hell hope they're not planning on using that as a device for an upcoming sequel, akin to Quarantine (2008), Diary of the Dead (2007) or, more recently, ?The Last Exorcism (2010). Turns out something mysterious happened in Alaska and the only one left standing is Claire (Ali Larter, reprising her role from Resident Evil: Extinction [2007]). The problem is Claire has amnesia and can't remember and damn thing, including who Alice is. So, with no other searching to do (guess Alaska's not that big), Alice takes Claire back onto the plane and for whatever reason they head to Beverly (Hills, that is). Flying above the over infested, filthy wreck that used to be LA (doesn't seem too different to me :-P), they spot a group of survivors hanging out on the roof of a prison. Alice does the damn near impossible and lands the plane on the roof, only to find the survivors disappointed she's not a rescue plane from the Arcadia (which is revealed to be a giant ship just off the coast). The group's goal is to now get to the Arcadia and seek refuge to end the horror that is their life. Now, I should state for the sake of this review I haven't had any real problems with the first three movies in this series. Resident Evil (2002) was a decent action movie with a great set up that didn't pay off amazingly well in the end. It's sequel, Apocalypse (2004), I felt was a retread of the first film so I didn't really like it - but I didn't hate it either. I did however, really enjoy Extinction (2007). I liked the new setting, I liked the characters and I even thought some of the action was pretty cool and original. However, Afterlife was like a mix of all the best parts of the first three films with a page torn from the "How to Make a Movie Like The Matrix" book. Everything from the villain, Wesker, to the slow motion bullets to the bullet time action caused my eyes to actually hurt from rolling them so much. I know the other movies (especially the first) used Matrix style action as well, but this film over does it. To top it all off there's a scene later on that 100% rips off a scene in The Island (2005) that took me to the point where I knew there wasn't one original piece of cinema in this entire film. You'll know which scene I'm talking about. This is all outside the ridiculous dialogue that spews from some of the characters mouths during the movie, as well as the laughably cliche 'wouldn't be seen in a horror movie anymore' death scenes. The only thing missing (and I'm not even sure it was) was the post-death one liner. Now, I know I'm ripping on this film a little harshly, and you're thinking "Charlie, is there nothing about this movie that is redeemable?". Well, yeah, there's something to like here. The 3D in Afterlife works really well, actually. Besides animated films like Up (2009) and Piranha 3D (2010), I generally don't care if there's 3D present in a film or not. Here they played to 3D nicely and there were some pretty wicked shots (think of the sunglasses flying through the air from the trailer) that at least showed they put a bit of effort into shooting the film knowing it would be seen in such a way. I'm hoping the same will be true for Saw 3D (October, 2010) - basically a movie that (I hope) knows 3D is for different dimensions and not just enhancements. I am giving Resident Evil: Afterlife a closed door for obvious reasons. If you can stand mindless action and a wholly unoriginal story line, the 3D might be worth it. It's no doubt there will be a sequel for Afterlife. If the series continues on this same trend I don't think RE 5 will be any better. Because I like the idea of these movies enough and a sequel is inevitable anyways, I vote that this series get a reboot akin to Batman and more recently Spider-Man. Keep Milla, despite her limited range as an actress I like her enough to want to see her still play Alice. Everything else needs a good old fashioned Spring (er, Fall) cleaning . By the way, I hate the idea that the Umbrella Corp. is still a functional company. The fact that even in the face of human extinction it still acts as though it has shareholders to make a good face for is awfully unrealistic, as is the ability to (somehow) keep on finding employees to … well, employ. At what point do you say “Alright guys, well, I think we messed up and things have gotten just bad enough. Maybe we end this whole thing because it’s definitely a tired gag we’re doing here.” Yeah, definitely tired... -Angry Charlie

We'd like to thank Angry Charlie for taking the time to send in this write-up.
AICN's Capone's interviews AFTERLIFE's Milla Jovovich HERE, Ali Larter HERE, Wentworth Miller HERE, and writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson HERE. You can find a tidbit about the coming of RESIDENT EVIL 5 HERE
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