Check out the Blu-ray review for Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest in the video game adaptation franchise, Resident Evil: Afterlife. The horror-thriller-adventure stars Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates and Wentworth Miller. How does it measure with the previous installments?
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Horror, Science Fiction
Sony | R – 96 min. – $39.95 | December 28, 2010
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer(s): Paul W.S. Anderson (written by)
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Wentworth Miller
Theatrical Release Date: September 10, 2010
Features: Audio Commentary, Picture-in-Picture, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, BD-Live
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Finnish, French, Hindi, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
I assumed the Resident Evil franchise was over when Resident Evil: Extinction came out. Guess I was wrong.
Alice (Jovovich) returns in this 3D event and once again taking very little from the dozen or so video games with the same name. The story this time is a bit more unique, but gives fans of the genre plenty of people to watch die horrible, nasty, bloody deaths.
Several years after Umbrella unleashed the T-Virus, Alice and her group of clones breaks into an underground Umbrella facility looking to destroy it from the ground up (get it?). But this time Alice is in for a rude awakening – Albert Wesker (Roberts) injects her with something that cures her of her super-human powers and she pretty much becomes a hot girl with some karate moves (and no clones). I applaud this idea because Extinction took her super-powers a bit too far, and this was a nice way to hit the reset button and make things a bit more difficult for her.
After Wesker escapes, Alice flies to Arcadia, which is known around the world as being a safe haven (and where she sent the remaining survivors from Extinction). She soon comes in contact with Claire Redfield (Larter) whose memory has been severely wiped in the months she was by herself. With Claire by her side, Alice seeks refuge with another group of survivors in Los Angeles who, after some time, figure out that Arcadia is actually a boat, and not a city in Alaska. As luck would have it, the boat just happens to be a few miles from where they are. The rest of the film deals with how the survivors will get out of the prison safely and on to the boat.
It’s tough not to enjoy the trilogy of Resident Evil films. They had kick-ass fights, hot girls, and blood and were along great cheese films. Almost like a grind house film with a clearer story to it. So I was a bit upset when Extinction came and went and there was no news on a Fourth film. But with the revival of 3D, it seems the franchise still has a little life left in it, and thanks to Afterlife, it certainly got a kick in the pants.
What works in Resident Evil: Afterlife is the almost claustrophobic feeling the film has as the group of survivors (names? Who needs them? It’s your typical group of people one might expect to see in a movie like this who get picked off one by one) try to figure out a way to leave the heavily fortified prison in hopes of making it to Arcadia safely. Several nods to the games are made (Claire magically finds her brother Chris in this prison – just so damn lucky!), and overall, this is a great action-fest with some killer CGI effects.
But what does not work? For me, the film felt like it spent a bit too much time setting up the plot, when frankly, you are watching this film for action. After Alice arrives at the prison, it seems like hours before anything actually happens and it winds up being a bunch of people yelling at each other. But as soon as they decide to step outside, the real pain begins.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3/5
BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES – 1/5
This release is presented in a clear case.
Commentary Track with Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer
Undead Vision (PiP) – See the featurettes below? It’s those cut into pieces you can watch as the film progresses.
Back Under the Umbrella: Directing Afterlife (7 Minutes; HD)
Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife (7 Minutes; HD)
Undead Dimension: Resident Evil in 3D (7 Minutes; HD)
Fighting Back: The Action of Afterlife (6 Minutes; HD)
Vision of the Apocalypse: The Design of Afterlife (8 Minutes; HD)
New Blood: The Undead of Afterlife (8 Minutes; HD)
Pwning the Undead: Gamers of the Afterlife (6 Minutes; HD)
– – Roughly 45 minutes of featurettes that provide an interesting look into almost every aspect of the film. I found the Undead Dimension to be the most interesting as the cast and crew discuss why the film was shot in 3D – and why it’s better because of it. The rest offers up your typical Making of and fans of the movie will want to check it out.
Rounding out the disc is an Outtake Reel (5 Minutes; HD), Five Deleted/Extended Scenes (7 Minutes; HD) that I found to offer very little and was rightfully cut and a Sneak Peak at Resident Evil: Damnation (1 Minute; HD) a CGI direct-to-video movie.
VIDEO – 4/5
Resident Evil: Afterlife is presented in 2.35:1 on a 50GB Disc.
I’ve read several reviews where some people find the 2D version to look great, and others find it poor. I’m sorta in the middle. I found the 3D version to look spectacular, but viewing it in 2D, it just seems a bit dull. Maybe it’s just that ‘pop’ isn’t there, but I found this to be a rather average encode from Sony. Not bad, but not great.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
Sony has included an English 5.1 DTS MA track for this release. Another ‘out of the park’ for Sony. From the helicopter sounds in the rears, to the faint creeks and water dripping in the prison, you really feel like you are there. Dialogue is clear. It’s hard to find much fault with this track.
OVERALL – 4/5
I’m a sucker for these horror/action films, and I was impressed to see how the series has bounced back after the previous two films just didn’t really hit it home for most viewers.