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Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D(2010)
While still out to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation, Alice joins a group of survivors who want to relocate to the mysterious but supposedly unharmed safe haven known only as Arcadia.
For more about Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D and the Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray release, see Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 2, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Spencer Locke
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
» See full cast & crew
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray Review
A disappointing 3D presentation mars an otherwise solid release from Sony.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 2, 2011
There is hope.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson is back behind the camera for Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth installment in the popular zombie-infested, video game-based franchise that's made actress Mila Jovovich something of an Action icon as a gun-toting, butt-kicking lead, settling in as Hollywood's number two guns-blazing star of the fairer sex behind Angelina "Salt" Croft. With Zombies as popular as ever and playing the part of featured attraction in, it seems, as many movies, novels, and video games as there are meandering undead in and around Western Pennsylvania's Monroeville Mall, Anderson's franchise seems a safe bet to keep on plopping Jovovich in front of hordes of disfigured baddies, armed with as many guns and bladed weapons on her person as she can safely tote. Still, amidst all the Zombie hoopla, Resident Evil just doesn't seem to epitomize the genre. The movies favor slick visuals rather than bleak backdrops and prefer to riddle the screen with bullets rather than take the time to develop characters. It's all good, though; the Resident Evil series works as mindless fun, just the kind of entertainment any zombie worth its weight in maggots will love.
Alice (Jovovich) is back in action and still working on taking down the Umbrella Corporation, the outfit responsible for unleashing the deadly T-Virus, a viral weapon that has turned most of the world's population into zombies. Alice's latest venture takes her to Japan where she hopes to eliminate an Umbrella bigwig named Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). Wesker gets the best of Alice, however, and injects her with a special concoction that eliminates her supernatural powers and effectively limits her ability to wage war on Umbrella. Alice barely escapes with her life, and months later a now-superpowerless Alice has taken to searching for an almost mythical human stronghold known as Arcadia, presumed to be a small Alaskan town where the virus is said not to exist and where man is not plagued by hordes of hungry zombies. Alice reaches Arcadia only to find it deserted, save for a confused and potentially hostile Claire Redfield (Ali Larter, Obsessed), who had previously fought alongside Alice in the Mojave desert. The two return to the smoldering remains of Los Angeles where they team up with a band of survivors trapped in an otherwise deserted prison that's surrounded by countless zombies. Amongst the living is former basketball star Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) and Claire's long-lost brother Chris (Wentworth Miller, "Prison Break") who the survivors deem a threat and keep locked away in the lower recesses of the prison. With no way out and no hope of rescue, the survivors must band together, learn the real secret behind the supposed safe zone of Arcadia, and, of course, do a bit of zombie killin' if they're to make it out alive.
Resident Evil Afterlife is as straightforward as these sorts of movies come; it's a run-and-gun slugfest that's built for fun and not at all concerned about anything else. The plot is stable and the characters suitably developed, but the film's unquestioned strong suit is its Matrix-style violence. Afterlife often plays more like an homage to bullet time and slow motion photography than a freethinking movie; fresh ideas are frequently eschewed in favor of a seemingly incessant barrage of highly similar action scenes that are differentiated one from another primarily by backdrop. In between bullet-time shots, slow-motion stunt work, and wave upon wave of gunfire squirting from the business end of magical weapons that never, ever, run out of ammo (except for when it's dramatically convenient), Resident Evil: Afterlife does muster up just enough of a story to appease viewers who have paid attention to more than Jovovich's good looks and the violence and the special effects of the previous installments. In the end, however, Afterlife and its sister films are little more than targets waiting to be shreded by a hail of gunfire.
In that light, it seems almost superfluous to review a movie like Resident Evil: Afterlife. There are no surprises here; everyone in the audience who is at all familiar with how the typical movie of this sort works knows what to expect, and the only thing that can really separate Afterlife from the litany of similar movies -- and about the only thing that requires any sort of critical analysis -- is how well it goes about its business. Afterlife is a movie with plenty of spit and a lot more polish. The movie isn't a stunner but it's certainly slick and visually appetizing, even if most of the effects look rather phony and cartoonish, a disappointment for a moderately big-budgeted major studio Hollywood release. Even then, it's no surprise that the film is technically proficient from the top down. The acting is fine but unremarkable -- ditto the direction, the score, and everything else that makes a movie meet that magical requirement for Hollywood proficiency. "No surprises" is pretty much the defining axiom for Afterlife. Viewers into this kind of picture will get their money's worth, no more and no less.
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Resident Evil: Afterlife may have been filmed with the Avatar 3D system, but the results aren't nearly as good, at least on Blu-ray. Sony's latest Blu-ray 3D release just doesn't have all that many extra-dimensional muscles to flex. The majority of the 3D presentation is almost indistinguishable from the 2D counterpart; depth is quite weak for a native 3D title and only printed text, a few gimmicky effects, and several segments in the final act truly differentiate themselves as obviously 3D in nature. Most of the movie lacks that 3D punch and depth of field, with most scenes sure to leave viewers wondering of their glasses are even turned on. That the transfer does handle some of more gimmicky effects quite well, which seems fitting for a movie made to entertain the senses first and engage the mind second. The 3D transfer does well to send spent shell casings flying out of the screen and throw chunks of concrete walls and blood and gore towards the audience as they're ripped apart by flying bullets during the film's extended opening action sequence. Weapons pointed outward seem to want to protrude from the screen in several scenes but ultimately fail to really do so. There are a few spurts of solid 3D depth; the long-deserted makeshift airfield in Alaska as it appears in chapter four sees dozens of planes stretching well back into the recesses of the screen, and various overhead shots do well to offset objects closer to the frame from those further away from it, but otherwise, this one's just not very eye-catching from a purely 3D perspective. Things do improve in the final act when the characters find themselves in vast, nearly empty white rooms that appear to stretch well beyond the limits of the television. The transfer manages a sustained 3D appearance in several sequences, but even they don't necessarily make watching the movie in 3D worth the effort.
Aside from the disappointing 3D aspects, Sony's Blu-ray 3D release of Resident Evil: Afterlife impresses a great deal. The remaining factors are practically identical to the film's 2D-only counterpart. The color palette appears accurate and true to the source during 3D playback with the picture remaining grounded in a bleak gray and blue color scheme while emphasizing only reds and, later in the movie, bright white. Detail is striking throughout as well; faces could stand a bit more texture and realism, but dirty clothes, long-neglected planes and choppers covered in rust and dust, and other assorted objects manage to look quite good. Blacks are inky and accurate, rarely appearing too dark and therefore proving detrimental to fine details. Additionally, the transfer is technically sound; the HD video source is meticulously clean and appears free of excess noise, and banding is kept to a bare minimum. It's unfortunate that, despite a few strong elements, the 3D image can't sustain a high quality for the entire runtime. Fortunately, there's no drop off in terms of color, detail, and the like between the 2D and 3D versions of the film (both of which are available on this disc), but Resident Evil: Afterlife just doesn't give viewers too many reasons to choose the native 3D over the traditional 2D presentation.
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Much like the movie, Resident Evil: Afterlife's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack offers no surprises, but in this instance, that's a good thing. This is a killer listen typical of Sony's usual high quality output. The track delivers a full surround sound extravaganza that boasts crisp highs, a thorough midrange, and punishing lows, all of it perfectly balanced into a track that's a pleasure from beginning to end. Imaging is excellent and directional effects seamless, whether evident in the sensation of heavy doors sliding open towards the sides of the soundstage or bullets zipping mercilessly through the listening area. Gunfire is no doubt this track's signature element, and every shot pops with a distinct clarity and a deadly edge, and the subsequent impact of bullets slamming into various surfaces -- including living, dead, soon to be dead, or undead flesh -- is thoroughly convincing. Music is handled crisply and efficiently around the stage, with the fronts, of course, carrying the bulk of the material but the rears handling their fair share of the action, too. Various atmospheric effects, whether more subtle environmental nuances or more immediate and loud effects such as a screeching alarm klaxon are all handled with precision and a realism that pulls the listener into the movie. Bass is punchy and aggressive; several explosions -- notably a rather large one in chapter three -- toss around some punishing LFE, a key ingredient for any action movie. Rounded out by perfectly balanced and centered dialogue, Resident Evil: Afterlife's soundtrack is primed and ready for zombie killing goodness.
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Resident Evil: Afterlife's supplemental section is extensive and maybe even overkill for a movie of this sort. Nevertheless, fans will love the plethora of featurettes, a multi-participant commentary, and a picture-in-picture supplement. All extras are in 2D.
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Ultimately, Resident Evil: Afterlife is, no surprise, nothing but a generic Action movie that's big on spectacle and low on meaning. There's zero originality and the film does nothing that hasn't been done better elsewhere, so there's really not much of a reason to watch. With a storyline that's mildly engaging but that's ultimately just a flimsy excuse to shoot or otherwise maim and (for the second time) kill zombies and most of the main characters, Afterlife is meant to be taken not as a serious picture but instead a comfortable little shoot-em-up that treads well-traversed ground, only in a different pair of shiny new shoes. Unfortunately, Sony's Blu-ray 3D release of Resident Evil: Afterlife lacks the dazzle and depth associated with the better 3D presentations, a surprise to be sure considering the film was shot natively in 3D rather than converted after the fact. Nevertheless, the accompanying extras are solid and the audio track is excellent. Considering that a 2D version is included, 3D ready fans are encouraged to pick up this version, anyway, if it can be found at a price that's no higher than the 2D-only release.
Resident Evil: Afterlife: Other Editions
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Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Resident Evil: Afterlife Announced on Regular and 3D Blu-ray - November 1, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that, on December 28, it will release Resident Evil: Afterlife on Blu-ray, in two editions: a 2D Blu-ray and a 3D Blu-ray (which also includes the 2D version). Note that, unlike most other live-action 3D movies, the ...
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