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Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

May 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

I did enjoy “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” for its action, its visual effects and make-up (for its many mutated zombies) and its storyline is a fitting conclusion to the film series featuring the film’s protagonist Alice. But if you are a “Resident Evil” fan of the video games or film, you may feel that the “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” was lacking and could have been better.  While I doubt this may be the end of the film series, considering how much money the film and video game series makes, there is still potential to explore other storylines of characters that are not featured in “The Final Chapter”.  Still an entertaining popcorn action film that fans of the film series will enjoy.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Constantin Film Production. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 107 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), Czech, English – Audio Description Track, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish (Castillan and Latin American), Thai, Turkish 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Sequences of Violence Throughout)

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017


Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Written by Paul W.S. Anderson

Producer: Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Samuel Hadida, Robert Kulzer

Associate Producer: Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Bernhard Thur

Executive Producer: Victor Hadida, Martin Moszkowicz

Music by Paul Haslinger

Cinematography by Glen MacPherson

Edited by Doobie White

Casting by Suzanne Smith

Production Design by Edward Thomas

Art Direction by Guy Potgieter, Lusa Van Velden

Set Decoration by Anneke Botha

Costume Design by Reza Levy


Starring:

Milla Jovovich as Alice/Alicia Marcus

Iain Glen as Dr. Isaacs

Ali Larter as Claire Redfield

Shawn Roberts as Wesker

Eoin Macken as Doc

Fraser James as Razor

Ruby Rose as Abigail

William Levy as Christian

Rola as Cobalt

Ever Anders as Young Alicia/Red Queen

Mark Simpson as James Marcus

Joon-Gi Lee as Commander Chu


Picking up after Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.


In 2002, the sci-fi action horror film “Resident Evil”, which was inspired from the popular Capcom video game series, was released in theaters.

And since then, more films that revolve around the main character Alice were created.

“Resident Evil: Apocalypse” in 2004, “Resident Evil: Extinction” in 2007, “Resident Evil: Afterlife” in 2010, “Resident Evil: Retribution” in 2012 and “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” in 2016.

The latest film which grossed over $312 million worldwide, was the highest grossing film in the franchise, and with the series in whole, the “Resident Evil” film series is the highest-grossing film series to be based on video games , having grossed over $1.233 billion worldwide.

The film marks the return of director/writer Paul W.S. Anderson (“Death Race”, “AVP: Alien vs. Predator”) and the return of the main protagonist of the series, Alice portrayed by Mila Jovovich (“The Fifth Element”, “Zoolander 2”, “The Three Musketeers”).

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” also stars Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones”, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”), Ali Larter (“Heroes”, “Final Destination” films, “Legends”), Shawn Roberts (“Edge of Darkness”, “X-Men”), Eoin Macken (“The Night Shift”, “The Forest”, “Centurion”), Fraser James (“Sometimes in April”, “Shopping”, “Wing Commander”), Ruby Rose (“Orange is the New Black”, “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”, “John Wick: Chapter 2”), William Levy (“Addicted”, “The Single Moms Club”), Japanese model Rola, young actress Ever Anderson and Joon-Gi Lee (“Virgin Snow”, “The King and the Clown”, “Iljimae”).

And now the “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD in May 2017.

The film begins with a narration from Alice (portrayed by Milla Jovovich) and we see how Dr. James Marcus, the original founder of the Umbrella Corporation had a daughter who was dying of premature aging.

Wanting to save her, he discovered the T-virus but unfortunately, the virus had a side effect and that was sudden and uncontrollable mutation.

The first major incident took place in Raccoon City, as a young boy in a cable car with his family started convulsing and dying but then all of a sudden reawakening.  This led to the mutated boy biting his father and then starting the chain reaction.

Dr. James Marcus tries to have the program shut down but his colleague Dr. Alexander Isaacs (portrayed by Iaian Glen) refuses and he has Albert Wesker (portrayed by Shawn Roberts) kill the Dr. Marcus.

The film then shifts to events that took place after “Resident Evil: Retribution” and showing us that the White House has since been destroyed.  Alice searches for survivors but then is contacted by the Red Queen (portrayed by Ever Anderson) who tells he that she must return to Raccoon City within 48 hours and return to the Hive, as Umbrella Corporation has developed an airborne antivirus, which will kill every organism infected by the T-virus.  Fail to get there and humankind will be wiped out.  The Red Queen also tells Alice that she will answer her question of why she is trying to help Alice.

So, Alice leaves to go to Raccoon City and when she arrives, she is attacked by Isaacs (whom she thought she killed, but learns she killed a clone).  While  Isaacs tires her up to the back of his vehicle with hordes of mutated zombies chase after her, she manages to best Isaacs and his team and escape.

While making it into Raccoon City she encounters a group of survivors which includes her friend Claire Redfield (portrayed by Ali Larter), Abigail (portrayed by Ruby Rose), Doc (portrayed by Eoin Macken), Cobalt (portrayed by Rola), Christian (portrayed by William Levy) and Razor (portrayed by Fraser James).

Alice tells them that she needs to get to the hive as an antidote for the T-Virus is out there in the Hive.  Claire feels it could be a trap since the Red Queen was the one that gave her the information but she is also worried since Alice also has the T-Virus in her and that she could be killed by the antidote.  But for Alice, the opportunity to save the world is too great and so, she and the others are willing to put their lives in hopes to assist Claire in her mission.

But coming their way is Isaacs and thousands of mutated zombies.   With the time running out, can Alice get to the antidote in time?  And what awaits her in the Hive?


VIDEO:

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” is presented in 2160p High Definition (2:40:1). The film is presented in 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray.

Picture quality is fantastic as closeups show amazing detail and makeup and overall CG to show the mass horde of mutated zombies and also huge monsters and flying behemoths were done very well.  If anything, the visual effects were top notch for this film! Black levels are nice and deep and for the most part, the film looks great in 4K Ultra HD!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI 2.0A Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” is presented in English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), Czech, English – Audio Description Track, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish (Castillan and Latin American), Thai, Turkish 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital.

I was so pleased with this soundtrack and just hearing constant immersive audio coming from front channels and also the surround channels for the many action scenes throughout the film. The music soundtrack also is utilized for the surround channels as well. Also, great use of LFE.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Thai, Turkish

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ” comes with the following special features on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Retaliation Mode – Only on the Blu-ray, Retaliation Mode delivers scene specific behind the scenes video and commentary with director/writer Paul W.S. Anderson and actress Milla Jovovich.
  • Stunts & Weaponry – (8:55) A featurette about the variety of weaponry and great action stunts in the film.
  • Explore the Hive – (4:15) A featurette about remaking “The Hive” and showing it in a different way with sets and visual imagery.
  • The Bad Ass Trinity & The Women of Resident Evil – (6:32) A featurette about featuring strong women and how women play a big role in the “Resident Evil” film series especially with “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”.
  • Sneak Peek: Resident Evil: Vendetta – (4:22) A featurette showcasing scenes from the upcoming “Resident Evil” CG animated film, “Resident Evil: Vendetta”.

EXTRAS:

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


It has been 15-years since the original “Resident Evil” film was released in theaters.  While the original film was much different from the video game and my feelings towards the original film was a bit of a disappointment because it was too different from the original film, I kept an open mind in seeing how the films would progress in terms of storyline and character.

And I can definitely say that despite not canon with the video game series, the film series has managed to hold its own with certain elements from the video game incorporated and giving the character of Alice and actress Milla Jovovich to shine but also to show that this female action character is strong, smart and can be impressive onscreen and can hold up to other male action stars and literally kick a lot of butt.

There is no doubt that for now, the character of Alice is the only female protagonists to star in an action film for 15-years, for multiple films and her character has remained consistent throughout the years.

And here we are with “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” and I despite the “Final” in the film’s title, there is probably a chance that the character of Alice can return in another film, considering how much was made for this film and the entire film series alone.  The “Resident Evil” films have made over a billion dollars worldwide.  And as the video games continue, I can only imagine the films will as well.

Similar to previous “Resident Evil” films, there is a ton of action and if anything, one can see this film as ultimate popcorn action film.  There is a story, a simple one that revolves around Alice needing to head back to where it all began, Raccoon City and make it down into the Hive to get the antidote to kill the T-Virus.  She’s joined by a familiar face, Claire Redfield and her antagonists are also familiar faces, as Dr. Isaacs and Albert Wesker are back.

But while the film remains consistent in that front, it fails to address other issues that I’m sure fans have been wanting to know what happened. One of the biggest question marks is the character Jill Valentine, not only a major character in the video game series but actress Sienna Guillory’s character was seen being captured by umbrella, brainwashed and programmed to go after Alice.

The film also didn’t bring back Kmart, Ada Wong, Leon S. Kennedy, Chris Redfield which was a little disappointment.  But whether this opens things up for other films remains to be seen.  But  wouldn’t it be great if the survivors were this group that would team up with Alice in the end?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that way.  But I’m hoping that we see Leon, Ada and Chris including Jill in another possible “Resident Evil” film?  A side-story/one shot or a new starting point and separate chapter to Alice’s quest.

But “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” does answer a lot of questions and it is a fitting conclusion, if the film proves to be the final live-action “Resident Evil” film.  But as a fan of the video games and also the film series, I see potential in a new RE film but with the other characters.

As for the 4K Ultra HD, this film looks fantastic in 4K HD.  The apocalyptic setting, the monsters and mutated humans to flying behemoths look fantastic.  The lossless soundtrack is equally impressive considering the amount of action throughout the film.  As for special features, you get a few including a sneak peek of “Resident Evil: Vendetta”.  And once you watch the film in 4K Ultra HD, you will want to watch the “Retaliation Mode” on Blu-ray as it reveals moments from the franchise and features director Paul W.S. Anderson and actress Milla Jojovich.

Overall, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” is straight-up popcorn action from beginning to end.  High adrenaline action that will please fans who have enjoyd the previous films.  While you get answers of how the T-Virus had spread and why?  Supporting characters are like fodder, previous characters aside from Claire Redfield and the antagonists are nowhere to be seen and the storyline is not the best of the film series.

Still, I did enjoy “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” for its action, its visual effects and make-up (for its many mutated zombies) and its storyline is a fitting conclusion to the film series featuring the film’s protagonist Alice. But if you are a “Resident Evil” fan of the video games or film, you may feel that the “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” was lacking and could have been better.  While I doubt this may be the end of the film series, considering how much money the film and video game series makes, there is still potential to explore other storylines of characters that are not featured in “The Final Chapter”.  Still an entertaining popcorn action film that fans of the film series will enjoy.

 

Resident Evil: Afterlife (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

January 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you enjoyed this film in theaters and have been a dedicated follower of the “Resident Evil” films and are getting revved up for the upcoming release of the final film “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”, you’ll definitely enjoy this fourth film on 4K Ultra HD as visuals and lossless audio is much better!

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


TITLE: Resident Evil: Afterlife

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2010

DURATION: 97 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio), English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English – Audio Description Track, Catalan, Czech, French, Hungarian, Polish VO, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish (Catilan and Latin America) 5.1 Dolby Digital. SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Classic), Romanian, Slovak, Spanish (Castilan and Latin American) and Swedish.

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Strong Violence, Gore and Some Language)

RELEASE DATE: December 27, 2016


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 Miller as Chris Redfield

Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine

Kacey Barnfield as Crystal

Norman Yeung as Kim Yong

Fulvio Cecere as Wendell


After a one-woman assault on the Umbrella Corporation’s fortress, Alice’s (Milla Jovovich) superhuman abilities are neutralized. Now, fleeing the Undead masses created by the T-virus, Alice reunites with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and her brother, Chris (Wentworth Miller). Together they take refuge with other survivors in an abandoned prison, where a savage zombie mob stands between them and the safety of “Arcadia.” Escaping these bloodthirsty mutants will take an arsenal. But facing off with Albert Wesker and the Umbrella Corporation will take the fight for survival to a new level of danger.


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 will make its 4K Ultra HD debut in January 2017.

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” is presented in 2160p 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 wonderful in 4K Ultra HD.

Back in 2010, when I reviewed this film, there was a lot of focus on the 3D aspect of the film but this time around, watching it in 4K, it’s just awesome to see the details of the environment and the characters almost look like its right there.  It’s really amazing of how awesome this film looks in 4K Ultra HD!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player.

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.

Presented in  English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English – Audio Description Track, Catalan, Czech, French, Hungarian, Italian, Polish VO, Portuguse, Russian, Spanish (Castilan and Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital.

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.

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.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Classic), Romanian, Slovak, Spanish (Castilan and Latin American) and Swedish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” comes with the following special features:

  • 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 for the CG “Resident Evil” film.

EXTRAS:

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” will come with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray plus an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


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 4K Ultra HD…”Resident Evil: Afterlife” is the definitive version to own after watching it in 2160p Ultra High Definition and hearing the lossless audio with its English Dolby Atmos soundtrack.  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 4K Ultra HD.  It’s important to note that the Blu-ray disc included with this 4K Ultra HD release is not the 3D version but the regular Blu-ray version.

If you enjoyed this film in theaters and have been a dedicated follower of the “Resident Evil” films and are getting revved up for the upcoming release of the final film “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”, you’ll definitely enjoy this fourth film on 4K Ultra HD as visuals and lossless audio is much better!

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

December 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Resident Evil: Retribution” is an exciting popcorn action film that delivers in special effects and continuous action.  The film may not be known for a deep or involving plot and its similarities to the video games are non-existent aside from character names or titles, but this fifth film was quite fun because of its wild action and the return of many past characters from the “Resident Evil” films.  And as for the Blu-ray release, awesome picture quality, fantastic lossless audio and many special features makes this film worth owning in HD if you are fan of the film series!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Constantin Film International GmbH and Davis Films/Impact Pictures (RE5) Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Resident Evil: Retribution

FILM RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 96 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English – Audio Description Track, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (For Sequences of Strong Violence Throughout)

Release Date: December 21, 2012

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Written by Paul W.S. Anderson

Produced by Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Don Carmody

Co-Producer: Alexander Dostal

Line Producer: Hartley Gorenstein

Executive Producer: Martin Moszkowicz

Music by tomandandy

Cinematography by Glen MacPherson

Edited by Niven Howie

Casting by Deirdre Bowen

Production Design by Kevin Phipps

Art Direction by Dennis Davenport, Dan Yarhi

Set Decoration by Steve Shewchuk

Costume Design by Wendy Partridge

Starring:

Milla Jovovich as Alice

Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine

Michelle Rodriguez as Rain

Aryana Engineer as Becky

Bingbing Li as Ada Wong

Boris Kodjoe as Luther West

Johann Urb as Leon S. Kennedy

Robin Kasyanov as Sergei

Kevin Durand as Barry Burton

Ofilio Portillo as Tony

Oded Fehr as Todd/Carlos

Colin Salmon as James “One” Shade

Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker

Mika Nakashima as J-Pop Girl

The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus is spreading across the globe, transforming ordinary people into legions of undead. Headed for extinction, the human race has just one hope: Alice (Milla Jovovich). She’s on a mission, fighting her way through cities and across continents, all inside Umbrella’s prime research facility. Old friends become new enemies as she battles to escape and discovers that everything that she believes may not even be true.

More action, more visual effects and it’s humanity’s last stand in the fifth “Resident Evil” film, “Resident Evil: Retribution”.

Directed and written by Paul W.S. Anderson (“Mortal Kombat”, “Death Race”, “The Three Musketeers”, “Resident Evil”), the fifth film would take a different approach from previous films by tying loose ends with past characters but also focusing on creating a film primarily for 3D.  And like the previous “Resident Evil” films, the “Retribution” would go on to make over $221 million in the box office.

Not surprising since 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 “Resident Evil: Retribution” which was shown in theaters in 3D, 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”).

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.

This leads us to “Resident Evil: Retribution”.  WithAlice and the group receiving an attack from a brainwashed Jill Valentine (portrayed by Sienna Guillory) and the Umbrella Corp.  She is thrown over a freighter during an explosion and is knocked towards the ocean.

We are then taken to a storyline in which Alice is married to Todd (portrayed by Oded Fehr) and is a housewife who takes care of her deaf daughter Becky (portrayed by Aryana Engineer).  But this happy homelife is disrupted when zombies start attacking their home and neighborhood.  Todd is killed and Alice escapes with her daughter.  But as Alice is able to hide Becky from harm, Alice is attacked by Todd who is now a zombie.

We then see Alice waking up at an Umbrella base and is being interrogated by Jill.  But due to a power failure, everything in Umbrella is shut off and reset and for some reason, Alice is given back her uniform and is shown an escape route.

When Alice escapes from her holding cell, she runs and finds herself in a simulation of Tokyo.  She relives a simulation when the J-Pop girl (portrayed by Mika Nakashima, “Nana” films, “Resident Evil: Afterlife”) becomes the first zombie to infect the country and all zombified individuals start chasing down Alice.  Alice manages to escape and finds a weapons depot but also in the room is Ada Wong (portrayed by Li Bingbing, “The Forbidden Kingdom”, “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame”, “The Message), a former Umbrella operative now working for Albert Wesker.

Ada explains to Alice that she and Wesker no longer work for Umbrella and that the Red Queen is in total control of the Umbrella Corporation.  Albert Wesker who has hacked the Umbrella computers then proceeds to explain to Alice that he needs her and that is why he is trying to help her escape from the underwater secret base which was used as a testing ground for experiments.  To aid her escape, he has sent Leon S. Kennedy (portrayed by Johann Urb, Barry Burton (portrayed by Kevin Durand) and her friend Luther West (portrayed by Boris Kodjoe), who she thought was dead.

So, as Alice and Ada Wong develop a temporary partnership and work together to escape the base, the two end up in the simulated Raccoon City town which was ravaged by zombies.  When she enters a home, she sees a dead version of herself which was revealed to be a clone that was created by Umbrella as a virus simulation).  But while checking out the rooms in the house, she sees Becky who thinks that the real Alice is her mother.

But as the two are about to leave the home, they are attacked by Alice’s former teammates (from the first “Resident Evil” film and also Carlos from the third film).  Ada gives Alice and Becky a chance to escape while she prepares her attack against Jill and her soldiers.  And while running away, they run into Rain Ocampo (portrayed by Michelle Rodriguez), the suburban clone version and the three try to find  a way to survive and escape the area.  Alice meets up with Leon and friends and together, they must find a way to escape from the Umbrella Corp., while Jill and the Umbrella soldiers will do anything to have them dead.

Will Alice, Becky, Leon and his partners find a way to escape the Umbrella Corp. base?

VIDEO:

“Resident Evil: Retribution” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  The film features awesome contrast, amazing detail with natural skin tones, black levels are nice and deep.  The film is vibrant and looks very impressive on Blu-ray.  From Milla Jovovich’s blue eyes to the detail of the zombies and monsters is fantastic!

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 various zombie monsters that are featured throughout the film, everything looked great for this film, the visual effects were amazing and looked great on Blu-ray!

It’s important to note that there is a Blu-ray 3D version of “Resident Evil: Retribution” available.  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: Retribution”.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

When it comes to the “Resident Evil” film series, I felt that “Resident Evil: Retribution” is the film that sounds the best and has a lossless soundtrack that is immersive. Presented in English and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital  and comes with an English – Audio Description Track, the lossless soundtrack for “Retribution” is fantastic!

LFE is used for explosions, surround channels are well utilized for the many action scenes in the film but how it uses ambiance and also directional sounds on the surround channels.

All I can say is that if you enjoyed the action-paced style of “”Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and “Resident Evil: Afterlife”, you’re going to enjoy “Retribution” 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 all channels in your home theater.  I was impressed!

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.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Resident Evil: Retribution” comes with the following special feature:

  • Project Alice – This feature allows you to know more about the various characters featured in “Retribution” as well as the monsters and more!
  • Audio Commentary 1 – Featuring audio commentary with writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, Milla Jovovich and Boris Kodjoe.
  • Audio Commentary 2 – Featuring audio commentary with writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (12:35) Featuring five extended/deleted scenes.
  • Outtakes – (4:36) Outtakes from “Resident Evil: Retribution”.
  • Resident Evil: Faces of the Fans – (3:17) A fan who won the zombie contest and got a role in “Resident Evil: Retribution” as a zombie.
  • Capcom Game Trailers – Video game trailers for “Resident Evil 6”, “Devil May Cry” and “Dragon’s Dogma”.
  • Mastermind of Evil: Directing Resident Evil: Retribution – (8:06) Director Paul W.S. Anderson and producers discuss the making of the fifth film.
  • Evolving Alice – (6:50) Milla Jovovich and crew talking about how Alice has evolved in the last decade.
  • Resident Evil: Reunion – (9:42) A featurette about the return of past characters from previous “Resident Evil” films.
  • “Design & Build – The World of Resident Evil: Retribution – (9:11)  A featurette on the visual effects and production design of the film.
  • Drop (Un) Dead: The Creatures of Retribution – (6:58) A feauturette on the visual effects and make-up effects for the film.
  • Resident Stuntment – (6:17) Nick Powell, stunt coordinator discusses how this film features different stunts because it was filmed in 3D and because its in 3D, the real actors had to do their fight scenes.
  • Code: Mika – (5:34) Japanese pop star Mika Nakashima talks about working with Milla Jovovich and filming her scene.

EXTRAS:

“Resident Evil: Retribution” comes with an UltraViolet code which allows you to download the movie to your computer and select Apple and Android devices and stream to computers, tables or smartphones.

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 admit that at first, 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. It was too different from what I was accustomed to.

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.  And with the fourth film,  “Resident Evil: Afterlife” was a mixed bag.

My main criticism was that although the visual effects were great, the action was focused on too much that the film really didn’t have much of a storyline.

Here we are now with the fifth film “Resident Evil: Retribution” and I figured that for filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson, if the films were popcorn action films, people keep coming back.  Why deviate from that?

And sure enough, this fifth film was all visual effects, showcasing fight choreography that looked amazing and action that was non-stop.  Sure, there were breaks to fit in a storyline but as the film was kicking off, for the first 20 or so minutes, I was wondering if there was going to be much dialogue.

But for what it’s worth, “Resident Evil: Retribution” delivers in surprises and twists.  Not only do the past cast members from a films return but also the introduction of “Resident Evil” favorites, Leon S. Kennedy (which Johann Urb fit the look of Leon quite well) and Chinese actress Li Bingbing as the sexy Ada Wong.

But while we saw the return of Jill Valentine (which fans have been waiting for) and even the return of Rain, Luther and Albert Wesker, the film forgot about Clair Redfield (portrayed by Ali Larter), K-Mart (portrayed by Spencer Locke) and Chris Redfield (portrayed by Wentworth Miller).  It felt weird because all four were seen on the same freighter at the end of “Resident Evil: Afterlife” and while a clip from the last film was shown, no sign of any of them in this film. So, maybe they will show up in the next “Resident Evil” film.

And while I’m not a big fan of popcorn action films that focus on too much action and not enough story, I did enjoy “Resident Evil: Retribution because of the inclusion of the new characters.  Although, I’m not sure about how I feel of this clone storyline (since it was never part of the original video games), Paul W.S. Anderson leaves viewers with an intriguing teaser at the end of the film that makes me look forward to sixth films.  To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if there is any finale to “Resident Evil”,  like its video game counterpart, as long as the series continues to make money, you can expect more RE films in the near future.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Resident Evil: Retribution” looks fantastic in HD!  The detail is amazing but there are a lot of use of green screen and visual effects in order to make this film more exciting in 3D.  The lossless audio for this film is also immersive and sounds fantastic in HD and there are plenty of special features included on the Blu-ray release as well.  I was surprised to learn how things have changed when it comes to stuntwork when it comes to filming in 3D.  Because in order to make things look realistic, actors will need to actually hit and not miss during their fighting scenes.

Actress Milla Jovovich explained how much training she had for many action films that she had starred in and how she was trained to miss during a fight scene, but this is the first time where she had to hit the people she was fighting because it had to look good in 3D and it was difficult for her.  Also, there is a scene with a car running through a truck and catching on fire.  I thought that would be done by CG but Anderson wanted to shoot an actual vehicle catching on fire during an actual jump through a truckbed.

So, director Paul W.S. Anderson and the producers really went all out in making this fifth film and its action scenes bigger and better and while the film looks a bit to CG for me, since a lot of it does take place inside an Umbrella base, there was part of me that was still longing for the good balance of storyline and action as seen in the second and third films.  But once again, as long as people are still coming out for this film, even if it’s now more for its popcorn action and 3D effects, I guess for what its all worth, if that was the goal, they succeeded.

Again, just a reminder that this film is also being released on Blu-ray 3D, so if you have the hardware to showcase 3D, definitely go for it!  Otherwise, this Blu-ray release is solid and fans of the film series who love action, zombies, monsters and the action scenes that “Resident Evil” films are known for will enjoy this film.

Overall, “Resident Evil: Retribution” is an exciting popcorn action film that delivers in special effects and continuous action.  The film may not be known for a deep or involving plot and its similarities to the video games are non-existent aside from character names or titles, but this fifth film was quite fun because of its wild action and the return of many past characters from the “Resident Evil” films.  And as for the Blu-ray release, awesome picture quality, fantastic lossless audio and many special features makes this film worth owning in HD if you are fan of the film series!

 

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

December 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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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