Franchise Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Written and Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson

Alice is back, and she’s brought some friends.

(spoilers ahead!)

Following on pretty much from the end of Extinction, Alice has enlisted her clones in her continued mission to bring down Umbrella and finish off everyone’s favourite bad guy, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). After coming in all guns blazing, as far as I can tell, our Alice is the only surviving Alice and, following a tussle with Wesker, loses her powers but leaves him for dead in the wreckage of his aircraft.

Alone again, Alice then searches for Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and the other survivors she left heading for the Sanctuary of Arcadia at the end of the previous film. When she finally traces them she discovers their helicopter abandoned on a beach and is attacked by Claire who is under the influence of a strange device embedded in her chest. After a bit of a tussle, Alice frees Claire from the device and they fly off in Alice’s plane to continue the search for the others. Claire’s mind is a little fuzzy at first so she doesn’t remember Alice, and certainly doesn’t remember her brother Chris (Wentworth Miller) when they find him with a rag-tag bunch of survivors hiding out in a prison surrounded by the undead.

These survivors are also searching for Arcadia (or were before they got trapped) and the group band together to escape the prison and find their way to the supposed sanctuary which they finally work out is aboard a ship. Chris claims to know how to get out and reach Arcadia but the group is betrayed by the arsehole Bennett (gleefully played by Kim Coates) who steals Alice’s plane and leaves the others for dead.

Alice, Chris and Claire make it out through the sewers, but their other companion Luther (Boris Kodjoe) is trapped when the tunnels collapse… or is he? Stick around, you never know what is going to happen in these films!

They finally reach Arcadia, which turns out to be (surprise surprise) an Umbrella facility experimenting (as usual) on survivors. Wesker has infected himself with the T-Virus but is struggling to harness it in the same way as Alice did, so is hoping he can use her to improve himself. Alice releases the captives on board (including characters from Extinction) fights Wesker and seemingly kills him (again) and everything seems hunky dory, until a shed-load of attack ships appear on the horizon, led by a brain-washed Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) who is out for blood.

Roll Credits.

Will Alice ever catch a break!?

Resident Evil Afterlife is on-brand. Simple plot, zombies, Alice kicking-ass and stylised action sequences a-plenty. Again we have some very loose tie-ins to the video games, such as the introduction of Chris Redfield and, while I said I wasn’t going to talk about the games again, he is very much just thrown in as a sop to the fans. But, hey, we know this isn’t going to be anything like the games, so by this point we don’t care!

It’s a fairly standard, ‘get the survivors out’ scenario with the usual cannon fodder and sleazeball who you know is an arsehole as soon as you meet him, but I can’t help enjoying it. I’m invested in Alice now. I’m rooting for her and, now she is back with Claire, there is plenty of opportunity for some action and fight sequences.

And it doesn’t disappoint. A standout is the clash betweeen Claire and the giant Axeman in the prison bathroom. Claire fights in slow motion sequences that would put Zack Snyder to shame while, all around her, it rains toilet water from the smashed bathroom pipes.

It’s a bit cheesy, completely stylised, but also great fun to watch. It is perfect Resident Evil fare and exactly what I am expecting at this point. I don’t want convoluted storylines, I don’t care if characters like Wesker or the Axeman are actually dead (they rarely are) I just want to be entertained for 90 minutes.

To be fair, you almost forget that Alice has lost her powers as it doesn’t seem to affect her ability fight like a demon throughout the film, and that might be the one issue I have with the movie. After she walks out of the crash that we think has ended Wesker, after she has lost her powers, you don’t ever really feel she is in jeopardy. And I know she is the lead and it is always going to be difficult to do that, but you never really feel scared for Alice as you might do for other characters. I guess this is one of the drawbacks of watching the series after the fact; I know there are still a couple of films to come, so the jeopardy levels are somewhat reduced.

Although, I guess, the film does end with a cliffhanger which suggests that things are going to get pretty dangerous for the survivors on the Arcadia! So who knows how this is going to pan out…

Back to Resident Evil Extinction

2 thoughts on “Franchise Review: Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

  1. Pingback: Franchise Review: Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) | Dark Mark Writing

  2. Pingback: Franchise Review: Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) | Dark Mark Writing

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