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Oct 10

Review – Resident Evil: After Life

I would love to start this review by saying that video game movies have come a long way over the years, but any geek will tell you that that is a great stinking lie. As a huge gamer it is such a shame to watch director after director destroy the essence of what was, within it’s art form, a good story. Now in saying that, I will also admit that video game stories are MADE for video games. So I also have to make it clear to fan boys that you cannot just pull most stories from a game. What’s more, you can’t slap real actors into a third person camera and away you go… This is where directors and writers fill the gaps (or don’t as history has proven).

Now let’s talk Resident Evil. Paul W. S. Anderson set out to bring one of the most revered horror series of all time to the big screen and for once we were given a glimmer of hope. Was it true to the story? No. Was it a shining achievement of cinema? Not even close. What it did do was entertain us and use enough references to make fans of the series happy.

To this day I still believe that this is as good as you can get with video game movies. Take the concepts, set pieces and characters and go your own way with it. So now we get to the fourth Resident Evil film and there is very little life left in the series. The second took away any credibility and the third film nailed the failure home. Paul now steps back to the plate and fans look wearily at him trying to believe in hope once again.

Like all the previous movies the writers have a tradition of getting out the manual for the latest game and pick out a bunch of ideas to start playing with. The picks for this film where Wesker, flower-faced zombies and the giant faceless executioner. Now I’ll admit that these are great choices to play with and being that Paul pulled off the best attempt of the series, I decided to take the risk and headed to the premiere.

Here at Geek Actually we use a term a lot we call “disengage the brain” which is to watch a film comprised usually of high action or special effects. This helps to enjoy what is otherwise a stupid film. This is the first time that I have to take a stand on this statement. This film reduced me to tears twice before it’s finish and not because of it’s Oscar-worthy dialogue or story. The film has found the Michael Bay line of stupid and pole vaulted over it. The story is next to non-existent, the characters are vague and uninteresting (even with a background in the games) and the opportunities for kick ass action are wasted on no doubt overpriced special effect scenes. The films conclusion should have been a fans wet dream as we were given a final fight between fan favourite bad guy Wesker, Alice, the movie series protagonist (and all around bad ass) and the brother sister combo Chris and Claire Redfield. You have to try really hard to mess that up. But the combat is short, the resolution is ridiculous and no one really wins or gets saved. Plus, the film ends without any clear finality. This is all topped off with a shameless sequel plug that could have been achieved with a simple sign saying “we are doing a sequel” instead of a ridiculous special effect shot that made my entire row groan and probably cost half the films budget. The words “try hard” are well understated here.

In all, this is the kind of film that you don’t really expect much from. With the tragic direction this series has taken, Paul had the very easy task of giving us a pretty five-out-of-ten action film. To fail at that is an embarrassment to the series and his ability as a director.

– Josh

  • Stubby28182

    Anyone that knows me knows that Paul W S Anderson is my arch-nemesis for what he has done to numerous games-to-film adaptations (Mortal Kombat, Alien vs Predator, Resident Evil and soon to be Castlevania) and for marrying my ultimate woman Milla Jovovitch but I will admit that when he’s not responsible for writing the script, he doesn’t suck as much. Case in point : Death race, Event Horizon and Soldier. I think someone has to take the pen away from him and stab him with it.

  • Well said Stubby, although he did write Death Race. I also have to point out that I don’t think Soldier was a particularly stellar film. As far as Event Horizon is concerned, I thought it was a really well shot film with fantastic special effects but it’s ending let the whole film down. You may have gotten that I am not a huge Paul W. S. Anderson fan. I think I would rather watch a Brett Ratner film :-)

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