Saturday, September 11, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Movie name: Resident Evil: Afterlife
Year of release: 2010
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Spencer Locke, Sienna Guillory, Kacey Barnfield, Boris Kodjoe, Sergio Peris-Mencheta
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4

Synopsis:Paul W. S. Anderson has made a name for himself with action films. His first film, the violent and underrated "Shopping", made in his native UK with a young Jude Law, promised a different path, but the director has since embarked in bigger budget sci-fi extravaganzas, namely "Event Horizon", "Soldier" and "Alien vs. Predator". "Resident Evil" has been a very popular video game and Anderson directed the first film of the series and has since then taken creative control over the films that have been thus far produced. "Resident Evil: Afterlife" sees Paul W.S. Anderson in the director chair, after the previous ones were directed by Alexander Witt and Russell Mulcahy (with mixed results). The film follows Alice (the ever resilient Milla Jovovich) and her clones, taking on the Umbrella Corporation in Japan. Her main opponent, the head of Umbrella, has also been genetically altered by the Virus and manages to infect Alice with a substance that makes her human again. Alice flees Japan in an attempt to go to Alaska, where her friends had gone, to a place named Arcadia. Upon her arrival she soon discovers that things are much different than she anticipated.
The film and it's sequels, are all anchored in action set pieces that make the main characters move towards their goal - a safe haven where there are no zombies. If the zombie genre was always used as a metaphor to expose the problems of our society, that was the tradition of the master of the genre George Romero, the "Resident Evil" series takes the more straightforward road. The goal is to keep the characters moving, trying to destroy opponents and somehow reach a utopia that doesn't seem to exist. The concept of the greedy corporation is still there, the omnipresent Umbrella corporation, but the whole choreography of the action and special effects have surpassed the spirit of a genre that was always about being subversive (and entertaining of course). As is, "Resident Evil: Afterlife" manages to be better than it's two previous sequels, in the sense that the director clearly relishes these characters and creates action sequences that are well thought and executed. It's industrial film-making at it's peak. Milla Jovovich continues her path as the action heroine, but that's all that can be said - there is no nuance here (both film and acting in general).