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Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Resident Evil: Afterlife"

Catch it before it wanders off the front page, my review of Resident Evil: Afterlife is live over at Twitch. It's about what you would expect given the limited narrative aspirations of the series, as Glenn Kenny so astutely observes, they're "the most subtext-free of any zombie movies."

It's perhaps this that keeps me coming back to the first and third movies: they're uniquely a collection of moments, sometimes interlinked, other times not, that feel like a free-flow blast of whiz-pow scenes that verge of being describes as non sequiturs. More than anything else I feel attracted to the empty calories the one might be into Mallomars or White Castle burgers. In moderation, it's not too bad for you and for a moment they provide a respite from complexity. Resident Evil as a film franchise isn't over-burdened by any particularly weighty thoughts, save to maintain fidelity to the long-running game series and present a few over-the-top action set pieces that, for my tastes, peaked at the laser grid in the first entry.  

The third film in the series, Extinction admirably recreates this sequence as one of a series of traps for one of the infinite Alices revealed at during the opening of that film. It's a shame Afterlife does away with this plot point early on in its running time (the Resident Evil films: where the important plot bits bookend the actual meat and potatoes of the movie).  

I just made the connection that this being the 4th movie in the franchise it's directly cribbing from the 4th movie in the game series (at least 4th chronologically with regards to the canon), which also took a wild left turn away from the conventions of the previous entries in the franchise. The games scaled back their reliance on the Umbrella Corporation as the prime villains, changed the setting, the flow of the action, and even did away with zombies as the primary enemies (the Ganados of 4 and 5 are mind-controlled humans).

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