And the Fight Continues: Resident Evil: Afterlife—A Review

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It is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, but must admit, I have a certain affection towards zombie movies. From Sam Rami’s cult classic Army of Darkness to Robert Rodriquez’s Planet Terror; from Quarantine to Zombieland, stories of the undead are fascinatingly intriguing to me. So naturally, when Resident Evil 4 came out in theaters, I was quite excited; and even more so when I learned that Paul W. S. Anderson directed it, like the first one.

Now before I go on, let me first say a word about the IMAX in Fairbanks. The owners (of the only theater in town) probably said to each other, “Fairbanks needs an IMAX theater. Let’s convert this room into an IMAX.” “Do you think it’s big enough?” “Sure. We can make it work.” Suffice me to say, I do not think there is one movie worth the price of an IMAX viewing in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Okay. On to the movie itself. Paul W.S. Anderson, you rock. This movie was really good. Not perfect. But good. Unlike the second and third Resident Evil movies which I felt lacked in plot, this one had a good plot that blended well with the use of zombies (most of the time the undead seem to take over a story, attacking the plot the same way they do people).

The movie had the look and feel of the video game, although I am not sure yet if that is a good thing or a bad thing. But regardless, I enjoyably entertained. The action was great and the 3-D was amazing. In fact, I think James Cameron should take notes…that is, if he can humble himself enough to do so.

But with that said, there were some areas for improvement. A few of lines in the movie that were cheesy and lame, either in the word choice or the delivery, or both. I think it were mostly a result of laziness. Ali Larter had a larger role in this movie than the last, but I had a harder time liking her character in this one.

Also, there were some key aspects in the movie that were left unexplained. This did not take much away from the movie as a whole, but could have enhanced it a little. The lack of explanation, particularly in the opening scene, left me feeling as though I missed something between the last movie and this. Maybe I did. It has been a few months since I saw Resident Evil: Extinction.

The introduction of Chris (played by Wentworth Millar, Prison Break) was exciting. I thought he was well casted (as was Luther West, played by Boris Kodjoe). Although I new who Chris was from the video game (another guilty pleasure I have come to enjoy), the revealing moment of who he really was came off pathetic. Anderson tried to give hints, but it was only noticeable to those who have played Resident Evil 5 (and probably 4—this I don’t know because I have only played 5).

I was also a little disappointed with the lack of character development in the story. I think this might have been due to the previous two Resident Evil movies. Perhaps Anderson was trying to compensate for his last two movies by having a stronger plot, that he characters themselves suffered as a result.

Bottom line, however, this movie is definitely worth seeing in 3-D if you can afford it. And though it is not quite as good as the first one, it is far better than the Apocalypse and Extinction. And having played Resident Evil 5, I hope they make a fifth movie.

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