Saturday, January 8, 2011

Resident Evil: Afterlife DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Features Fourth Installment of Zombie Franchise

More campy than creepy, Resident Evil: Afterlife is one of your classic “Take the Money and Run” rip-offs, being a badly-acted, poorly-scripted and sloppy-edited B-flick shot on the cheap. Just about the only thing going for it is an attractive ensemble that’s easy on the eyes, starting with supermodel Milla Jovovich.
She reprises her starring role as Alice, a gun-slinging, genetically-altered mutant who represents the last hope for humanity. The cast features other accomplished models-turned-thespians in Ali Larter, Sienna Guillory and Boris Kodjoe. But unfortunately, movies are not made by eye candy alone.
The play-by-play of this needlessly over-plotted, sci-fi tale is narrated by Alice in a no-nonsense manner. At the outset, she reminds us, ostensibly for the benefit of the uninitiated, that mankind has been decimated in the wake of the lab accident at Tokyo’s Umbrella Corporation which unleashed a highly-contagious, lethal virus gone wild. Trouble is, the infected don’t remain dead, but reanimate as man-eating zombies who now outnumber people a million-to-one.
At fault is Albert Wesker (Shaw Roberts), Umbrella’s slimy CEO, a stock Hollywood villain now intent on killing Alice in order to harness the powers of the gene-altering T-virus for his own nefarious purposes. However, our hardy heroine eludes his grasp, flying by plane, in fast order, from the company headquarters in Tokyo to a safe haven in Alaska to a prison in Los Angeles, where she crash-lands on the roof.
There, she finds an arsenal of weapons and a motley crew of survivors to team up with. Too bad, we’ve seen each of these stale caricatures countless times before, from the macho black dude (Kodjoe) who usually dies first, to the cowardly Asian (Norman Yeung) afraid of his own shadow, to the backstabbing, rich snob (Kim Coates), to the brave, battle-hardened soldier (Wentworth Miller), and so forth.
Yet, more insulting than the stereotyping and the horrifying horror clich├ęs is the fact that the formulaic tale even has the nerve to end on a cliffhanger, setting us up for yet another sequel. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five times? I don’t think so.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity and graphic violence.
Running time: 97 Minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Filmmaker commentary, “Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife,” and “Fighting Back: The Action of Afterlife.”

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