If ever there was a movie franchise that needed a little reanimation, Resident Evil would fit the bill.
After the hot mess of Extinction, Afterlife needed a complete shift in tone and we got that from the movie’s opening scene.
We start with a slowed down version of a Tokyo street and it’s a brooding, intense start to the movie that grabs you by the throat and says “forget what you know about these movies and just watch me”.
Sure, it’s a drastic change from what we've seen before but the clever thing about Afterlife is that it didn’t just discard the previous three films. Instead, it linked them together, then became the movie it wanted to be.
In Extinction, we finished with Alice (alongside her clones), promising to come after Wesker and that’s where we go following that opening set piece.
I’m not entirely sure when Alice turned into Shinobi, but when she turns up at the Umbrella base, it’s a Matrix style bloodbath. It’s worrying bit to start with as it makes you remember the bad points of Resident Evil, but it actually makes perfect sense as a bridge to the previous 3 films.
That in itself is something that Resident Evil has always done well whether it be via game or movie. They move in blocks of three and whilst the previous three aren’t forgotten, the rule book is re-written. So where the first three movies cover themes in Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3, Afterlife seemingly moves onto Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6, with a little Code Veronica thrown in.
What makes this movie so watchable though is that Alice is actually likeable. It’s a far cry from the character in Apocalypse and Extinction and her reincarnation means we have a classic apocalypse survivor movie rather than some zombie/action hybrid.
Sure, it plays out like a hammy Romero movie but sometimes that’s all you want from a zombie flick. The serious tones are done well by The Walking Dead and World War Z but in traditional zombie movies, you’re not supposed to care about the characters all that much.
If you’re an enthusiast of the games and you want to see more nods, you’re also covered in this department.
The smallest surprise being Claire Redfield’s burgundy waistcoat/jacket and the biggest being the final face off with Wesker, which is a live action, shot by shot adaptation from Resident Evil 5.
The only thing that got a little boring were the amount of slow motion scenes in the movie. It’s something that can rival the 300 movies and it probably extends the Extinction by around 4 hours. You know what though? It’s forgivable.
It was the first movie they made for 3D and they wanted to make it stand out. God knows they had to do something to turn things around.
All in all, it’s a movie that’s thoroughly enjoyable to watch. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it has a laugh and the action and horror scenes intertwine better than any movie in the franchise.
3* - Thanks for making Resident Evil human again!
Other movies in the series