As if our collective intelligence wasn’t already being insulted on a daily basis by press conferences about a deadly virus delivered by a shambling humanoid doberman, the Resident Evil franchise is being resurrected in September.
Resident Evil is the most successful video game turned film series of all time, though whether its baffling “come and watch someone else playing games” appeal will still attract hordes of viewers in the Twitch era remains to be seen. Its recreation of the games in the most basic movie form utterly fails in cinematic terms, tying poorly lit action scenes together with static sinew and Paul W. S. Anderson’s insistence on shamelessly ripping off The Matrix. And not the good one. The cloney schlock ones.
The fourth instalment delivers the entire plot in a single line of voice over at the beginning, explaining that the evil Umbrella Corporation (a placeholder name if ever there was one) unleashed the T-Virus which infected oily foreheads around the world, turning high-risk people into zombies. Continuing her mission of surviving six films without a single facial expression, Alice (Milla Jovovich) heads for a safe haven called Arcadia, presumably named after the movie’s graphics.
Like viewers expecting a story she finds nothing there, then goes to LA and joins a group of survivors (including Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller) living in a prison for crimes against cinema. After half an hour of people standing around describing their immediate surroundings as though we can’t see them ourselves, the zombies finally show up and the film becomes a Slipknot video, so horribly lensed that even the human actors look like poorly rendered video game characters.
Resident Evil: Afterlife‘s advantages consist a climactic boss fight that is borderline entertaining in its ridiculousness, costumes by the late Denise Cronenberg and a 3D release that would have mercifully reduced the visibility to nothingness in 2010. You won’t remember the humourless execution or characters with names that sound like a recycled stripper movie script (Angel, Crystal etc). You’ll only remember the image of the Hollywood sign burned to ruins.