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Resident Evil: Afterlife (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 20, 2010 by  



The fourth “Resident Evil” film features more action and the latest visual effects and even incorporates some of the horror elements from the video game series to this latest film.  But there is a disjointedness with the actual screenplay and lack of character development.   But then again, the “Resident Evil” films are all about pure action and when it comes to action, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is non-stop action that looks great and sounds great on Blu-ray!

Images courtesy of © 2010 Constantin Film International GmbH and Davis Films/Impact Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Resident Evil: Afterlife

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2010

DURATION: 96 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description Track Dolby Surround, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (For Sequences of Strong Violence and Language)

Release Date: December 28, 2010

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Written by Paul W.S. Anderson

Producer: Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody, Bernd Eichinger, Samuel Hadida, Robert Kulzer

Executive Producer: Victor Hadida, Martin Moszkowicz

Associate Producer: Hiroyuki Kobayashi

Music by tomandandy

Cinematography by Glen MacPherson

Edited by Niven Howie

Casting by Robin D. Cook, Suzanne Smith

Production Design by Arvinder Grewal

Art Direction by Brandt Gordon

Set Decoration by Carolyn “Cal” Loucks

Costume Design by Denise Cronenberg, Azalia Snail

Starring:

Milla Jovovich as Alice Abernathy

Ali Larter as Claire Redfield

Kim Coates as Bennett

Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker

Sergio Peris-Mencheta as Angel Ortiz

Spencer Locke as K-Mart

Boris Kodjoe as Luther West

Wentworth Miler as Chris Redfield

Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine

Kacey Barnfield as Crystal

Norman Yeung as Kim Yong

Fulvio Cecere as Wendell

The fourth installment of the hugely successful RESIDENT EVIL franchise, RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE is again based on the wildly popular video game series, and will this time be presented in 3-D. In a world ravaged by a virus infection, turning its victims into the Undead, ALICE (Milla Jovovich), continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to safety. Her deadly battle with the Umbrella Corporation reaches new heights, but Alice gets some unexpected help from an old friend. A new lead that promises a safe haven from the Undead takes them to Los Angeles, but when they arrive the city is overrun by thousands of Undead – and Alice and her comrades are about to step into a deadly trap.


Back Under The Umbrella: Directing Afterlife – Success Story

Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife – Chris Redfield

Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife – Two Fierce Females

Tower Swing

Trailer – Coming Soon

 

The “Biohazard”/”Resident Evil” video games have been quite popular since 1996 and there seems to be no stopping this juggernaut franchise to end anytime soon.  That goes the same with its live action film series which is loosely-based on the video games.

And no matter how film critics respond, the audience still turn out for the films and with the fourth film titled “Resident Evil: Afterlife” which was shown in theaters in 3D and normally, once again the film continues to show that fans and audiences still love the action-driven series.   And to make sure there is a connection between the films, producer/writer Paul W.S. Anderson (“Death Race” films, AVP: Alien vs. Predator”) returns as director.  Glen MacPherson (“Rambo”, The Final Destination”, “Romeo Must Die”) is director of photography and music is by tomandandy (“Natural Born Killers”, “The Mothman Prophecies”, “The Rules of Attraction”).

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” was budgeted at $60 million and made over $294 million worldwide, it’s largest box office draw thus far.  And now, the fourth film is being released on Blu-ray (normal Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray) and DVD just in time before the New Year.

To sum up the story of the live action films, the first “Resident Evil” film revolved around an Umbrella Corporation security officer named Alice (played by Mila Jovovich).  The corporation which operates deep beneath the town of Raccoon City had an accident when a thief drops a blue vial in the lab and immediately, the facility’s AI known as “The Red Queen” detects a possible infection and seals the facility and attempts to kill everyone inside.  In the first film we learn that anyone who comes in contact with the “T-Virus” begins to mutate into a zombie and if they bite into anyone, that person will be infected.

In the first film, Alice and other security officers try to survive the facility while finding out who stole the vials of the T-Virus and hoping to find an antidote.    By the end of the film, Alice wakes up in a medical room obviously been operated or experimented on and when she comes out of the facility, she sees Raccoon City literally in disarray and sees a newspaper article that the virus has made it to the public.

In the second film titled “Resident Evil: Apocalypse”, the film continues with Alice leaving the facility and seeing Raccoon City in bad shape.  She has learned that she has been infected with the T-Virus but unlike those who mutate to zombies, she has apparently been given special abilities that enhancer her fighting and intuition as well as healing.

Many people are trying to escape the city but when the T-Virus starts to rapidly infect more and more people, the Umbrella Corporation seals entry out of the city and plans to kill everyone (no matter if they are not infected) in order to prevent the T-Virus from getting out of the city.

Alice joins Jill Valentine, Carlos Olivera and L.J. are trying to find their way out of Raccoon City which has been locked down and is planning to be nuked in order to kill those who have been turned into zombies by the T-virus.  By the end of the film, Alice and friends managed to escape but crash into the mountains.  Alice is taken and once again experimented on by Dr. Isaacs who wants to learn why Alice’s blood has bonded with the T-Virus and she has not mutated like others.  She manages to escape and Dr. Isaacs allows her to escape because they now have found a way to turn her on and off but also using computers to track her and see what she is seeing.

This leads to the third film titled “Resident Evil: Extinction”.  The virus has now rapidly taken over many parts of the world as nearly everyone has become infected.  Only a few continue to survive and Carlos and L.J. are part of a group led by Claire Redfield (played by Ali Larter) who travel with other survivors and are constantly on the move trying to find more survivors and visit areas to stock on supplies and gas.

The world has changed and everything has been barren and US cities have literally become a desert.

As for Alice, she has been traveling alone and has separated herself from Carlos and L.J. because she knows Umbrella is tracking her and doesn’t want to expose her friends.

But when Claire’s group becomes attacked by crows (who have been feeding on the flesh of infected humans and have become infected themselves), out of nowhere, Alice comes to save them and apparently has developed supernatural abilities to control fire and other elements.  Alice reunites with Carlos and L.J. and she tells them about frequencies that are telling people to go to Alaska where there the infection has not made it up there and there is plenty of food and supplies.  The group now knows they must go to Alaska but in order to do that, they need to get gas because all of their vehicles are low in gas.

But hidden right below the desert is another Umbrella Corporation headquarters where Dr. Isaacs has been experimenting on the zombies and seeing if he can make them conscious about humans and to have them follow instructions, so an unknown entity can create a massive army of those infected by the virus. We also learn that Dr. Isaacs has created many clones of Alice but each of them have not had the same special abilities as her and thus near the headquarters is a pit of dead Alice clones.

By the end of the film, with many lives lost, Alice manages to give Claire and a few others a helicopter to escape to the safe haven known as “Arcadia” in Alaska while she goes underground to kill Dr. Isaacs (who has mutated himself to become a killing machine).  And at the end, we see Alice releasing all of her clones in order to fight the Umbrella Corporation.

“Resident Evil: Afterlife”, the fourth film continues with Alice and her clones now trying to take down the Umbrella Headquarters in Japan and to kill the chairman of the Umbrella Corporation, Albert Wesker (played by Shawn Roberts).  Similar to Alice, he possesses superhuman abilities and during their fight, he injects a serum that neutralizes Alice’s T-virus and will once again make her human and eliminating her superhuman abilities.  But right before Wesker is about to kill Alice, the two get into an accident and Alice manages to escape.

Six months later, Alice has been eager to find “Arcadia” in Alaska and find Claire and other survivors to find this safe haven.  But she discovers, there is no “Arcadia”.  But she hears noise rustling in the background and she finds Claire who is no longer the same Claire that she had known.  Alice manages to beat her but also finds that there is some metallic spider-like device on her.  She removes it and Claire turns to normal but has lost her memory.

Alice and Claire then take off to Los Angeles in hopes to find other survivors but they find legions of zombies trying to get into a prison facility and they manage to spot some survivors which include Luther West (played by Boris Kodjoe), a former professional basketball player; Bennett (played by Kim Coates), a producer that everyone dislikes; Crystal (played by Kacey Barnfield), an aspiring actress; Kim Yong (played by Norman Yeung), an intern for Bennet and Angel Ortiz (played by Sergio Peris-Mencheta) as a former military operations officer and a few other survivors. The survivors are hoping that they can get to Arcadia and when Alice tells him that there is no survivors in Alaska, Luther tells her that the Arcadia they are looking for is not in Alaska, it’s a boat that is in the ocean.

Also inside the prison is a man locked up in a special holding cell named Chris Redfield (played by Wentworth Miller), no one knows if he is a safe individual but he tells Alice that he knows the way out of the prison.  Chris also happens to be the brother of Claire, but with her memory gone, she doesn’t recognize or trust him.

Meanwhile, as Alice and the others try to plan their escape, a hulking tall man with a huge axe and wearing bag over his face known as the Executioner (same character from the “Resident Evil 5” video game) is trying to break through the gates of the prison and also, zombies have also been trying to dig underground to get inside the facility.

With thousands and thousands of zombies trying to bust into the prison facility, Alice and her new friends must find a way to escape and make it to Arcadia.

VIDEO:

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” looks absolutely great on Blu-ray.  Featured in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), the film utilizes James Cameron’s Fusion Camera System (Sony F35 3D cameras).  The film features awesome contrast, remarkable detail and makes the blacks more blacker.

For visual effects and presentation, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” looks much better than its previous counterparts.  But there are some special effects, from the Matrix effect to other effects that some people may feel are a bit too overly used in the film but it’s all subjective.  Personally, I found the visual aspect of the film and its creepy to non-creepy segments and overall visual effects pretty awesome and definitely shows the direness of how f’d up the world has been with the T-virus and to be truthful, I’m surprised the managed to keep the film despite all its visual effects under $60 million.

The scene featuring Anna and Claire taking on the Executioner was pretty awesome.  In many ways, by watching this fourth film, it appears that Paul W.S. Anderson may have wanted to include a lot of the video game elements, especially the horrific characters to this film.  In fact, the Umbrella Japanese soldiers looked as if they were inspired by the anime series “Jin-Roh”.  Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the overall look of the film especially how they improved the look of the horrific characters and the detail they put into those characters.  From the things coming out of the zombie’s mouth or the splitting of the rottweilers, everything looked very good for this film and even moreso on Blu-ray.

It’s important to note that because the film was created in 3D, if you have a 3D-enabled Blu-ray player and TV, you may want to check out the 3D Blu-ray release of “Resident Evil: Afterlife”.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

When it comes to the “Resident Evil” series, I felt that “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” was awesome on how it utilized sound especially during the surround channels.  With “Resident Evil: Extinction”, I felt it was not utilized enough but with “Resident Evil: Afterlife”, fortunately things sound great again via lossless.

All I can say is that if you enjoyed the action-paced style of “Apocalypse”, you’re going to enjoy “Afterlife” as this film is full of action-sequences that just keeps going and going and literally, this is a lossless soundtrack that really does take advantage of an immersive soundspace.

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” is presented in English and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and also an English-Audio Description Track in Dolby Surround.

You can expect bullets whizzing, hitting and flying everywhere through your surround channels, explosions and booms, sword cutting and a nice touch of LFE and it’s continuous.  There is so much action in this film that it’s literally designed for the audiophile in mind.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” features special features in High Definition and in English Stereo plus English, Spanish and Portuguese Subtitles.  Special features include:

  • movieIQ™+sync and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie! – If your Blu-ray player is connected to the Internet, you can get information on the cast, music and trivia for the film.
  • Undead Vision: Picture-in-Picture – While watching the film, a picture-in-picture box shows us the making of the film with interviews with the director and cast of the film plus pre-rendered CG and schematics and concept art for the film.
  • Filmmaker Commentary – Audio commentary with writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes – Featuring a total of eight deleted and extended scenes.
  • Outtakes – (4:29) Featuring bloopers and outtakes from the film.
  • Back Under the Umbrella: Directing Afterlife – (6:43) Director Paul W.S. Anderson talks about directing “Resident Evil: Afterlife” and how he was a big fan of the video games and incorporating his love for the video games to the live action adaptation of the film.
  • Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife – (6:39) Director Paul W.S. Anderson talks about the casting of the fim and the cast talk about why they enjoy making the film.
  • Undead Dimension: Resident Evil in 3D – (7:37) Director Paul W.S. Anderon talks about making the film in 3D and utilizing James Cameron’s Fusion Camera System (Sony F35 3D cameras) that were used in “Avatar”.
  • Fighting Back: The Action of Afterlife – (5:30) Mila Jovovich, Ali Larter and others cast members talk about the action utilized for this film and how it is unlike the previous films in look and what it took to make the action sequences look awesome.
  • Vision of the Apocalypse: The Design of Afterlife – (7:28) A featurette on the look and feel of “Resident Evil: Afterlife”.  From production design to capturing the various production landscapes (Alaska, Los Angeles and Umbrella Corporation) and giving these locations their own look.
  • New Blood: The Undead of Afterlife – (7:31) How the undead zombies in this latest “Resident Evil” are much faster and more dangerous than before.  And the make up and prosthetics used for the film.
  • Pwning the Undead: Gamers of the Afterlife – (6:10) Director Paul W.S. Anderson talks about capturing the feel from the videogames and incorporating it into the film.
  • Sneak Peek of Resident Evil Domination – (1:10) A sneak peek of the latest CG “Resident Evil” film.

When it comes to “Resident Evil”, I’m a hardcore fan of the video game series.  Owning nearly ever game that has been released since 1996 but when it came to the first film, I wasn’t digging it at all. I disliked how much of a departure the film was to the video games.  Granted, things always have to change between video game and movie adaptations but the problem was its screenplay.

But then came “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and I really enjoyed the film and how it had elements of “Resident Evil 2” (video game) incorporated to the film.  But for some reason, “Resident Evil: Extinction” felt like it was a step back.  Now here we are with “Resident Evil: Afterlife” and it’s sort of a mix bag.

First, let’s talk about what I enjoyed.  I enjoyed how the film incorporated the Japanese tie-in with “Biohazard”, the utilization of Wesker and the “Resident Evil 5″ Executioner and other horrific RE monster-like beings into this latest film.  It was action-packed, the visual effects were very cool and for a popcorn action-flick, the action didn’t stop.  It kept going and going and really never ceased.

And I have to admit, on Blu-ray…”Resident Evil: Afterlife” truly shines via 1080p and lossless audio.  Definitely enjoyed the utilization of Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) even more and also finally we get Chris Redfield.

Now, what didn’t I like about the film?  I didn’t like how the screenplay would have these certain deviation from the overall plot.  In the beginning, we see Alice given a shot of a serum that neutralizes her special abilities, but yet she still manages to fight have tremendous stamina and fighting skills that seemed more beyond her security officer status.

The other thing is what happened to the other Claire’s?  Granted, we see a few blow up in Japan but as we saw at the end of “Resident Evil: Extinction”, there are plenty of Claire’s still around.   Also, how did Alice choose to go from Alaska to Los Angeles, especially when the third film talked about how there wasn’t much fuel in the planet.  Let alone an older plane that would get to Alaska and then to Los Angeles.  Granted, I know I was over-analyzing but still there were a lot of loose ends.

We are still unaware of what those metallic spiders and what they were used for.  We are unaware if there are Wesker clones.  Also, I wish there was a little bit more character development between the Redfields.  Granted, the focus was to go more action like the second film where character development plays a smaller part than the action sequences (which people, including myself, enjoyed about the second film), so I just felt that we are left out of the loop on various parts of the film.

And as for those wonder where the appearance was for Jill Valentine’s return?  If you didn’t stay until the end of the credits, you may have missed her appearance and the whole entire sequence at the end of the film (which I’m sure many moviegoers missed) that takes place a minute or two after the credits start showing.  Let’s just say that “Resident Evil 5” video game fans will know what happens to Jill’s character.

But still, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” is one of those films that one doesn’t watch for relationships or character development-driven scenes.  I’m more driven to films that do flesh out the various characters but I suppose, for others..it’s all about the action.  Similar to the videogame, due you watch the long cut scenes or skip them to continue with the gameplay?  I’m for the former but I do know many who are of the latter.

I do wonder if the fifth film will continue the odd (character driven storylines) versus the even numbered (action-driven) films?  Will we get more explanations of what the heck is going on for the fifth film?  I guess we will find out and a fifth film is most definitely going to be in the works considering “Afterlife” performed quite well in the box office.

Overall, I did enjoy “Resident Evil: Afterlife”, not as much as “Armageddon” but much more than the first and third films.  The visual effects of this latest film definitely was the highlight of this latest “Resident Evil” film and it definitely makes for an awesome looking and sounding film on Blu-ray. Once again, if you own a 3D Blu-ray enabled TV and player, you may want to get the 3D Blu-ray version since the film was originally created in 3D.

If you enjoyed this film in theaters and have been a dedicated follower of the “Resident Evil” film trilogy, you’ll definitely enjoy this fourth film on Blu-ray!

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