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RESIDENT EVIL AFTERLIFE 3D Review; 3 Dimensions of blood-splattering, zombie-exterminating, kick-ass action!

rating: 3

It€™s back! She€™s back! And he€™s back! Oh and there€™s 3D. This week sees the return of the Resident Evil franchise; making it€™s forth outing on the big screen, Milla Jovovich reprises her role as genetically engineered wonder woman Alice, and after delegating directing duties for the previous two sub-par sequels, Paul. W.S. Anderson returns to the director€™s chair to employ his passion and knowledge of the innovative new technology he firmly believes will usher the film industry into a new age. We begin in Tokyo, at the world HQ of the evil Umbrella Corporation. Alice infiltrates the impregnable base and with two Samurai swords massacres a brigade or armed and armoured special op soldiers - she makes Uma Thurman€™s the Bride look like a blind infant with a plastic spoon. When more soldiers arrive she blinks her eyes and upon doing so blows them away with telekinesis. When more arrives she calls in her clones and they destroy everyone in sight €“ yes she is pretty much Superman€™s tougher, big sister. With these seemingly endless powers it seems there€™s not going to be much conflict in this tale. Enter big baddie Albert Wesker €“ a cross between Mark Kermode and Neo €“ bad filmmakers of the world be afraid. Be very afraid. He injects Alice with a serum that neutralises the T-virus in her system and removes all of her super powers. Now suddenly we have a story with conflict. The main crux of the plot owes a great debt to George A. Romero€™s €˜Night of the Living Dead€™ and John Carpenter€™s €˜Assault on Precinct 13€™; months after she has lost her powers, Alice and Claire Redfield (Ali Larter reprising her role from Extinction) are patrolling the skies of the West Coast searching for survivors. They discover and come to the aid of a motley crew who are held up in a prison with a ravenous horde of zombies at their door. The main people are a film producer and his intern, a failed actress, a basketball star and a bodybuilder €“ welcome to Los Angeles. Their goal is to reach a ship that has been sending out radio messages for survivors, which is situated in reaching distance of the prison; but with the prison surrounded and Alice€™s plane only able to carry two, their only option of reaching the ship is to brave the sewerage system. The movie clips along nicely with plenty of thrills, spills and chills nicely mixed with genuinely funny moments of comedic wit and interspersed between some solid €“ if textbook €“ narrative developments. Milla Jovovich puts in another fine performance as the movie€™s heroine; not just does she look like she could rip the head off a zombie but exhibits a calm and confident panache as she conducts her business. Jovovich has become a fully-fledged action starlet who is deserving of far more praise from action audiences and critics than she has received. While none of the other cast manage to distinguish themselves, there is a rather comedic screen appearance from Wentworth Miller, who having spent four seasons trying to break out of prison in €˜Prison Break€™ finds himself on the wrong side of the bars once more playing the beefy, hard boiled brother of Claire Redfield €“ Chris. Nice to see he€™s not allowing himself to be typecast. The film is seriously lacking in the way of character development, with very little done to endear us to any of the main group €“ other than the fact they€™re human, we€™re human - and there are some moments of woeful acting, which aren€™t helped by some seriously cheesy dialogue. You also have to seriously suspend disbelief for most of the action scenes; even without her super powers, Alice is able kick ass harder than Bruce Lee, move at speeds that would put Usain Bolt to shame and execute stunts that Bud Ekins wouldn€™t even go near. However these are merely nit-picks in a movie that is adapted from a video game that tries gallantly to maintain a faithful connection with its subject material and satisfy its fans. The climactic scene between Alice and Mark Kermode (Albert Wesker) is a great set piece that although is influenced heavily by the Matrix movies is a seriously impressive, adrenaline-fuelled showdown, far better than many recent action pictures. Inevitably any movie boasting 3D will receive added scrutiny on this aspect alone. Several weeks ago I reported glowingly on a special screening of footage from the movie; specifically €˜the axe man scene€™ which takes place in a shower room and sees our heroes take on a giant, genetically modified, bloodied mask-wearing monster of a man who wields an axe the size of a scooter. Although this scene was as spectacular the second time around, it was one of the only times when I really recognised the advantages of 3D. While the movie as a whole does utilise the new technology better than any I have watched thus far, I still have serious reservations about it. For example, the opening credits and more importantly subtitles were blurry and unreadable €“ thankfully they were in short supply and not essential to the plot €“ faces were blurry and out of focus in simple scenes of dialogue; and it may just be me, but everything seems darker and duller in 3D. I recall taking my glasses off while watching Avatar and being shocked at just how bright and colourful and far more alive the film was without them on; I had the same experience while watching Resident Evil: Afterlife. But of course, when 3D is good, it is very good; and the aforementioned axe man scene and an explosive plane crash in particular show the incredible possibilities for the future of action films. If you are a fan of the Resident Evil movies then this latest instalment will certainly satisfy your lust for blood-splattering, zombie-exterminating, kick-ass action. There€™s enough action set pieces to keep even the most ardent action genre buff captivated, and advocates of 3D will be pleased with this, albeit minor, evolution of the form. Resident Evil: Afterlife is in theatres on Friday.
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Frustratingly argumentative writer, eater, reader and fanatical about film ‘n’ food and all things fundamentally flawed. I have been a member of the WhatCulture family since it was known as Obsessed with Film way back in the bygone year of 2010. I review films, festivals, launch events, award ceremonies and conduct interviews with members of the ‘biz’. Follow me @FilmnFoodFan In 2011 I launched the restaurant and food criticism section. I now review restaurants alongside film and the greatest rarity – the food ‘n’ film crossover. Let your imaginations run wild as you mull on what that might look like!