Main cast: Milla Jovovich (Alice), Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Wentworth Miller (Chris Redfield), Boris Kodjoe (Luther West), Kim Coates (Bennett), Kacey Barnfield (Crystal), Norman Yeung (Kim Yong), Sergio Paris-Mencheta (Angel Ortiz), Fulvio Cecere (Wendell), Spencer Locke (K-Mart), and Shawn Roberts (Albert Wesker)
Director: Paul WS Anderson
Resident Evil: Afterlife takes off a while after the events at the end of Resident Evil: Extinction, but don’t worry, this one is ridiculous enough to stand on its own. Indeed, the movies in this franchise are shaping up to be shameless “homages” of far superior movies that had come before them to the point that it’s pure cheese all the way.
So, where we last left them, Claire Redfield and the survivors of the humans that attempted to seek Arcadia, somewhere in Alaska said to be a haven free from the T-virus infection and zombie-things, seemed to have finally found a way to get there. Alice, our heroine, stayed behind with her clones to confront Albert Wesker in the Tokyo headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation, only to in the process getting all the clones killed and the original Alice losing much of her superpowers. Still, Albert was also killed, or so it seemed, so it was worth it. Right?
So, with that clone thing done with, Alice now sets out to catch up with Claire and the others. What she finds instead is only Claire, who is now controlled by a scarab-like device placed on her chest by the men from Umbrella Corporation. Claire has amnesia, but it’s clear to Alice that Arcadia may not be what it advertised itself to be.
Because the place has some Yak-52 planes conveniently nearby, these two fly back to Los Angeles, where they crash onto a prison. Here, a bunch of survivors have set up base against the horde of zombie-things outside. There are the hunky basketball player (Luther), the aspiring actress (Crystal), the mechanic (Angel), the creepy bald guy (Wendell), and the insufferably arrogant movie producer (Bennett) who is joined at the hip by his spineless intern (Kim Yong). At one glance, it’s easy to tell correctly who will be the bad guy, who will die, and who will not, although Crystal defies stereotype a bit by turning out to be quite the outgoing type instead of a hapless bimbo. There’s also a surprise: imprisoned by these guys is Chris Redfield, Claire’s brother and a former military type.
Wentworth Miller looks a bit like Chris, I’d give him that, but Chris is completely retooled here as a mere military guy instead of a former STARS agent, and his relationship with Jill is nonexistent as far as this movie is concerned. Naturally, he plays second fiddle to Alice, as you don’t mess with the character played by the wife of the director who also wrote and produced this movie, heh.
Oh, and look, there’s Arcadia, which turns out to be a cargo tanker that has, coincidentally enough, inserted itself into the coastal landscape. Now, Alice and friends have to figure out a way to get there and figure out what happened to the other people who went with Claire to Arcadia… oops, is that a zombie break-in? Not only that, the Executioner, the monster wielding the giant axe, makes his debut appearance here, and he’s breaking at the prison gates wanting to come in and join the party. It’s show time!
This one won’t be winning awards anytime soon, but one thing’s for sure: it’s most entertaining in a marvelously stupid way. The plot rarely makes sense, and there are many bewildering moments – such as when these folks somehow manage to obtain a boat to take them to Arcadia out of nowhere – but the whole thing is just pure brainless fun. This is a case of style triumphant over substance, as even the most clichéd slow-motion action scenes manage to come together in a very satisfying and enjoyable manner. Ms Jovovich and Ms Larter make a very good duo of kick-ass females, and in many ways, this is a female-centric action movie with the males mostly playing second fiddle to these deadly ladies. It’s odd – and even embarrassing – to have Alice as one of the rare strong female heroines in movie franchises today, but in this movie, she fits the bill perfectly, along with Claire.
Looking back at my reviews of previous movies in this franchise – it says a lot that I can barely remember any of them – it’s actually frightening how I’m liking each subsequent movie in the franchise more and more. Is this even healthy?