Review: “Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D” (2010)

Before considering a movie like Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D, one should first review the major elements that comprise the film’s title:

1. Resident Evil is a very popular survival horror video game series involving zombies, a specialized police unit (STARS), and a malevolent science club (The Umbrella Corporation);

2. “Afterlife” refers to the film’s being the fourth sequel in the series, a point so far into the franchise that a numerical notation of its place in the canon is no longer necessary. It also refers to the fact that part three was called Resident Evil: Extinction and this movie is, yep, in the “Afterlife”; and,

3. It is a 3D film.

These are all important things to consider because it is not a good movie.

BUT – it isn’t without its moments of merit!

With its irrelevant plot, this film is a vehicle for Milla Jovovich to parade around with guns and high-heeled boots, killing a lot of different zombies, infected humanoids, and other silly creatures. Along the way, she picks up Ali Larter in Alaska, who delivers her worst performance of all time. The two fly to Los Angeles, crash into a jail, find Wentworth Miller (and his lateral lisp), and make their way to “safety” on a freighter. Some things are blown up, some dogs show up and share a good likeness to those in The Thing, and everyone lives happily ever after … until part five!

The film is marked with plot devices that are introduced and forgotten (ahem, Ali Larter’s amnesia), really cool characters that are introduced and not fully utilized or explained (ahem, Axeman), and TONS of gratuitous moments of “Hell, yes, this movie is in THREE DIMENSIONSSSSS!!” (ahem, raindrops). The music has a tendency to be the poor man’s idea of good techno, which is most fitting for the movie’s demo (and, not surprising, given the composers’ moniker of “Tomandandy“).

Of the film’s merits, Denise Cronenberg does a fantastic job on costumes. The title sequence and Milla’s first appearance onscreen are as good as they are because of her work. The effects are quite good and you get your best taste of it during the opening melee in Umbrella’s underground lair (an extended scene made for all the gamers to wet their pants). One of the most notable notes, which is an aforementioned annoyance, is the 3D: it can be quite absurd, but – you know what? – it’s pretty fucking entertaining (ahem, raindrops).

Okay, doubt if you must, but the movie is unadulterated fun. No, that does not make the movie “good”. But yes, it does make it entertaining. It’s so absurd, so ridiculous, and so laughably bad while being so laughably great that you can’t not enjoy yourself. Even though the Axeman fight is an unfulfilling five minutes, who cares?! Even though all of these characters are impervious to gunfire, who cares?! Even though Milla and Ali don’t actually make out (but they should), WHO CARES?!?!?

It’s entertaining!! And, you know what, it actually provides a few jumpy moments: some are teased to blue balls, others are quite good, but they are jumps nonetheless. It also makes clear that Milla Jovovich is at a point in her career where she doesn’t actually have to do anything. She just has to look kind of sexy, while someone films her with a gun or screaming, and it’s a movie.

Let’s face it, folks: Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D is this year’s 2012. Paul W.S. Anderson is a video game-adapting, cheese-balling, bad/good movie-making god: why would you be surprised to hear his latest product is like all the others he has made? This movie is just so bad/good/bad that you would be remiss to deny its brilliance.

Yes, a LOT is going on here, but that is the nature of video game films. A thousand concepts are shoehorned into an hour and half and you are expected to either know what is going on or accept them for what they are and … who cares?? If you are are a fan of the franchise or are bored with fifteen dollars in your pocket, check it out. It is by no means “good” and, duh, you should expect that.


Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D is rated R for zombie violence, a little Asian boy getting sliced really coolly by an axe, lots of knife and gun and blood play, and neither Milla Jovovich nor Ali Larter’s boobs.

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A gay military kid who lived up and down the east coast finally decided to venture out West--and hasn't returned. With a love for horror films, champagne, short shorts, and CAPS LOCK, he spends his time writing, doing comedy, and being an assistant (oy). He has a dog and collects magazines with Lady Gaga on the cover, too.