Rating: R (Sequences of strong violence, language)
Length: 97 minutes
Release Date: Sept. 10, 2010
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror
Stars: 3 out of 5
Paul W.S. Anderson takes the helm as both writer and director in the 2010 film “Resident Evil: Afterlife.” The “Resident Evil” franchise has become known for gory zombies, fast-paced action, and one of the most talented and formidable female heroines in modern action. Fresh off her close escape in the last film, Alice is still hunting down the Umbrella Corporation and battling zombies as she goes. Although Alice has been alone in previous films, this installment has her teaming up with a group of survivors who are on a quest to find Arcadia, the last sanctuary known to man. Alice is doubtful that Arcadia even exists, but she accompanies her fellow survivors as they attempt to find this last holdout of humanity.
Meanwhile, the Umbrella Corporation is hot on Alice’s trail. Alice may just be the only creature, living or dead, who can bring an end to their evil empire, and they are not going to go down without a fight. One of the survivors turns out to be an old friend of Alice’s, and together, they lead the group to Los Angeles. Upon arrival, however, they discover that the city is anything but a safe haven. Los Angeles is overrun with the undead, just like the rest of the world, and it is up to Alice and her new group to fight their way through the masses of zombies. Alice is forced to question who she can really trust and whether or not old friends have turned into deadly enemies. The Umbrella Corporation is more vicious and cunning than ever, laying a trap for Alice and her friends that they may not be able to escape.
Like the other “Resident Evil” films, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is full of gore and great special effects. This is by far the bloodiest film of the franchise, but the violence manages to walk the fine line between gratuitous and realistic. Alice is tougher than ever, outfitted with new gear and her characteristic attitude. This time, audiences are treated to a rare glimpse into her vulnerable side as she reunites with an old friend she thought she would never see again. Alice is by far one of the most iconic female heroes in film and gaming, and Milla Jovovich does a remarkable job of bringing this video game heroine to life. Her character is bold and tough, more than capable of taking out both masses of zombies and the sinister Umbrella Corporation. Rather than simply trying to survive amid the chaos, like so many would in her place, Alice has taken it upon herself to try to find as many survivors as she can and lead them to safety.
The theme of Arcadia makes “Resident Evil: Afterlife” even more intriguing than the previous films. While the film still has plenty of the battles with the undead that fans of the franchise have come to expect, it also contains a subtle layer of hope and human expectation. Alice is torn between her realism and her hope that a place really exists where the remaining survivors of the virus that turned most of humanity into snarling beasts can live out their days in peace. She is also forced to ask herself whether she can handle such peace after being on the run for so long.
While “Resident Evil” has more than its fair share of character development and plot progression, the most enjoyable aspect of the franchise is its grisly action scenes. Fans love watching Alice cut her way through throngs of mindless undead, making her way to tentative safety and peace for another moment. “Resident Evil: Afterlife” does not disappoint in this regard. This fourth installment of the “Resident Evil” franchise is by far the most action-packed, with danger and violence around every corner. The undead are back and more terrifying than ever as their mindless quest for human flesh threatens what little is left of the human population. Alice raids an Umbrella Corporation facility and gets some shiny new toys to use in her war against the undead, but the Umbrella Corporation has some tricks up its sleeve as well.
Longtime fans of the “Resident Evil” movies will undoubtedly enjoy this latest addition to the franchise. Even for those who haven’t seen the other films, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is a great place to jump in, which is rare for a franchise with so many installments. The 3-D effects of the film only make the zombie franchise more visceral and thrilling. “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is truly a must-see for horror fans, zombie lovers, and special effects connoisseurs alike.