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Resident Evil: Afterlife(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 and the Resident Evil: Afterlife Blu-ray release, see Resident Evil: Afterlife Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 1, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 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 Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 1, 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 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Resident Evil: Afterlife's 1080p Blu-ray transfer is silky smooth and a pleasure to behold with every shot. This is one of the finest shot-on-video transfers on the market; banding is minimal and detail is extraordinary. Whether individual droplets of rain seen in the film's opening slow-motion shots or the dirt terrain in Alaska, the transfer captures environmental niceties quite well, not to mention the attention given to the finest of textures in clothing and combat gear seen throughout the film and nice little touches like wear and tear on equipment and the convincing layer of dirt and grime that's accumulated on a long-neglected helicopter windshield. Faces do tend to look a bit like plastic, though, and occasionally to an extent that they curiously stand apart from the rest of the incredible textures seen throughout. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the film looks incredible, and there's a fair sense of depth to the picture, even considering the 2D transfer. Colors are quite good, too; Afterlife is built around slick and glossy but otherwise visually drab shades of blue and gray, offset by quite a bit of red, whether the red of the Umbrella Corporation logo or, of course, blood and gore. Blacks are rich in most scenes and flesh tones remain a pleasantly neutral shade. The print is meticulously clean and noise-free. Resident Evil: Extinction is sure to please on Blu-ray.
Resident Evil: Afterlife 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 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.
Resident Evil: Afterlife 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. Also not surprising is Sony's Blu-ray release. Resident Evil: Afterlife sparkles in typical Sony fashion. Excellent picture and sound quality alongside a fine array of extra content make this a worthy Sony release. Fans can buy with confidence, but the average customer will probably be happier with a rental.
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Resident Evil: Afterlife Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Buy Resident Evil: Afterlife Blu-ray and Another Title, Save $5 - January 17, 2011
For a limited time, you can save $5 on your order when you buy Resident Evil: Afterlife or Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D at Amazon together with a qualifying title from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Add both titles to your cart and the discount will be reflected ...
• 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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