Big Screen Peter: Resident Evil: Afterlife
Editor’s note: Peter Lewis has agreed to use whatever it is you call his writing style to provide some measure of analysis to those folks who still go to a theater to see a movie. Next week he plans to review "The Town," starring Ben Affleck and Rebecca Hall.
review by Peter Lewis
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D was the big winner this past weekend at the box office, garnering the largest returns.
Of course, it’s easy to win when you’re the only team playing. With football officially underway, the weekend following Labor Day is historically slow for Hollywood releases. And as the lone major release of the weekend, this fourth installation of the Resident Evil franchise found itself reeling in roughly $27.7 million. Not exactly chump change, but it seems the pied piper of football was playing at full tilt. This past weekend marked the weakest box office returns in more than two years.
While the returns are certainly great news for the producers of “Resident Evil,” they are rather dour news for film goers. This fourth installation of the Resident Evil franchise (you’re forgiven if you haven’t noticed the first three) is awash in ludicrous asininities. In fact, a pettier man might even wish to list these faults in a fit of reductive rage at having spent $12.50 to sit through those aching 97 minutes.
At the risk of equivocating, the film is not completely horrid. While the story — and any semblance of logic — is tenuous as best, the effects and action sequences were fair (this pattern of mediocrity seems to be a lifeblood for director Paul W.S. Anderson, as he has also helmed such forgettable fare as “Mortal Kombat,” “Alien vs. Predator” and “Death Race.”).
And there were several instances of true suspense. This suspense was not born so much out of a curiosity as to what might happen next, but rather a morbid puzzlement as to what unnatural being might pop out of nowhere to scare the bejesus out of the viewer. Fortunately, since the movie is a zombie film, there are plenty of grotesque beings populating the screen. Which also has the added benefit of granting the viewer a garish contrast to the unnatural comeliness of stars Milla Jovovich (Alice) and Ali Larter (Claire).
The films, which are all loosely based in some form or fashion after a series of video games, take place in a dystopian future, where the human population has been decimated by a plague of zombies. No prior knowledge of the games or the previous film installments is necessary. The opening sequences of the film attempt to bring the viewer up to speed — much like a video game introduces the basic scenario of the plot.
This most recent release follows Alice, a former security officer for the Umbrella Corporation (the progenitors of all that is wrong in the world), in her quest for revenge. Conveniently, this quest also coincides with her goodly side as she is also trying to rescue the remaining human population as well.
If you easily swallow senselessness, or if you can conveniently check your head at the door, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” can be enjoyed. As pure spectacle, it’s not that bad.
If you take a seat in the theater expecting anything more, you’ll be sorely disappointed. And out a few happy meals worth of dough to boot.
• Resident Evil: Afterlife is playing at the Carmike 14 and the Malco Cinema 12 in Fort Smith, the Malco Van Buren Cinema and the Poteau Theatre. Link here for time and ticket info.
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