Wednesday, December 12

Resident Evil Afterlife Review

I watched on: PS4 via PS Store
The price I paid: £3.95
Notes: N/A

Previously during Extinction, we saw the series returning to its over-the-top roots stepping away from the games. This distance from the source material gave the series chance to be its own thing and lacking this freedom was Apocalypse’s biggest mistake. It saddens me then to have to say that Afterlife has scenes pulled right from Resident Evil 5. The issue is not quite as bad here as with Apocalypse and the film manages to have its own identity despite this. It’s not perfect and these very forced scenes are a big reason why but they are far from the only problem Afterlife has.

We start our story off right where the last film ended with Alice and her clone army attacking chairman Wesker and Umbrella in Tokyo. This opening, however, is probably the worst part of a bad film with awful special effects. The action is still over the top like in the previous films but this time the special effects do not hold up. This causes what should be amazing mindless violence to look worse than some YouTube indie shorts. You can all but see the wires while Alice is in the air and the green screen effects and CGI look worse than the games it’s based on. Wesker manages to escape the base killing off all of Alice’s clones via the bases self-destruct system from his plane. Alice reveals herself to be aboard and then confronts Wesker only for him to inject her with something. This injection makes Alice human again and removes all of her powers including her strength, speed and healing. Then the plane crashes into a mountain and explodes. Alice literally just walks away from this explosion that she was at the centre of without her super strength or healing. This is ridiculous even for this series because it tells us one thing and then shows us something that completely contradicts it. This is not the only time this film will do this, it’s all over the place. This opening then ends and the film starts for real. I say that because everything after this feels so disconnected from the opening that it might as well have been a different film. The only reason for this intro is to undo everything the last 2 films have set up. Afterlife feels ashamed and embarrassed by the films that came before it. So much that it feels the need to spend the first 10 minutes undoing everything they did.

After this awful opening in Tokyo, we find Alice in a plane following Clare and the other survivors from Extinction up to Alaska. Where did Alice get this plane? Who knows, it’s just another one of the many questions this film will never even attempt to answer. Upon arriving in Alaska Alice is unable to find any signs of life, not even the undead. When all seems lost Alice finds Clare Redfield from the last film with a strange device attached to her and no memory. This leads to the films next issue, a weak cast. All the previous films had an amazing cast that was instantly likeable but here Alice has no personality, Clare doesn’t even know who she is and Chris Redfield who turns up later is just your generic soldier. I didn’t care about any of the characters here not even Alice who up to this point in the series has been my favourite character. She feels more lifeless than the zombies she fights. Anyway both Alice and Clare make their way to Los Angles looking for survivors and end up trapped in a prison. From this point, the plot falls back into its comfort zone. Escape the place. This simple narrative worked for the last 3 films because you had an amazing cast and fun action to enjoy during the journey but here all that’s missing and the plot feels all the more empty for it.

To focus on the special effects for a bit. This film came out in 3D while in the cinema. You can really tell with objects constantly shoved as close to the camera as possible and it feels so cheap. The special effects were already pretty awful but this shoddy gimmick being overused throughout the film just makes it feel even worse. I would normally say that slow motion was used but here it feels more like it was abused. Honestly, it gets so bad that at one point we have an entire fight scene play out in slow motion. I guess this is supposed to feel stylish and cool but instead, it just feels pointless and stupid. I love the style of both the first film and Extinction but although this film certainly has it’s own style it’s one that feels dreadful.

The zombies now all appear like the Uroboros from the Resident Evil 5 game and it’s never explained why. We also have the Executioner from that game make a completely random and unexplained appearance. I know the last films never went into depth about how the monsters were created but they at least mentioned it. The zombie humans and dogs were infected with the T-virus, the Lickers had the T-virus injected directly into their tissue. Nemesis was Matt from the first film infected by a Licker and then experimented on further by Umbrella. The zombie crows had been feeding on infected flesh. Extinction had an entire plot with Dr Isaacs working on a formula using Alice’s blood to domesticate the undead but instead, it created that film’s intelligent zombies. Lastly, the Tyrant from the ending of Extinction was Dr Isaacs after he was infected by one of his own intelligent zombies and overdosed on the cure. These small but important explanations allow this world to feel more realistic as we know it follows some logic even if that logic is divorced from our own. In Afterlife, any reason or logic goes right out the window.

If I had to say one good thing about this film it’s that the ideas and stunts are still as over the top and ridiculous as always with a kickass soundtrack to back them up. If the special effects let them look any good I might have even enjoyed them. As it is this is a mostly worthless pile of crap and a very ugly scar on an otherwise amazing series.

Recommendation Rating: 2 out of 10.

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