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"Resident Evil: Afterlife" Blu-ray Review

When it comes to dumb action movies, I'm pretty easy to please: I can cope with stupid as long as I'm not bored. But hack director Paul W.S. Anderson - not to be confused with self-absorbed twit Paul Thomas Anderson of Magnolia shame - manages to be both stupid, boring AND make his wife and baby mama Milla Jovovich come off as not-that-hot in Resident Evil: Afterlife.

The story, such as it is, opens with an army of Alice clones (revealed at the end of Resident Evil: Extinction) attacking the underground headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation in Tokyo. After much slo-mo gun and sword play with shockingly poor split-screen effects - the SFX quality is all over the map in this movie - the complex, along with most of Tokyo is destroyed and Alice has been rendered merely human after the bad guy, who acts like a smarmy Val Kilmer, injects her with something that shuts down her superpowers.

Six months later she's a plane to Alaska, seeking a supposed safe haven only to find an empty beach with Ali Larter from the last movie attacking her, under the control of a huge ruby-and-metal spider thing attached to her chest that gives her amnesia. Alice frees her and the fly to L.A., spotting survivors on the roof of a prison surrounded by zombies and then there's a ship and a big guy with an axe the size of a Buick station wagon and a final fight ripped off from The Matrix about a decade too late and then it's over with a cliffhanger and a supposed shocking ending scene in the credits that's spoiled by the cast credits ahead of it.*

It's a testament to his hackitude that Anderson makes wet and dirty Milla and Ali kicking ass both not hot and not entertaining. When the red shirt characters get bumped off, it's handled so offhandedly, we don't even miss them as if we even cared whether they survived. The pacing is leaden, the performances stiff - though Milla's quiet despair in her video diaries is good - and the action flat and lifeless for a movie that showed in 3D. It's just a snore and a waste of a good B-movie franchise. Stick with the first and third installments.

While the movie blows, the Blu-ray's transfer is crisp and clean thanks to the sharp digital photography from the Pace/Cameron Fusion system (though not in 3D here) that was invented for Avatar. The soundtrack is booming, too. Too bad the movie doesn't merit making it a show-off-home-theater disc. The 45 minutes of featurettes are mostly EPK fluff full of happy joy talk about how awesome everyone thinks everyone is and makes me wish I could see the movie they thought they were making.

Score: 2/10. Skip it.

* SPOILER ALERT! In the cast, they have Sienna Guillory listed as Jill Valentine, the game character she played in 2004's previously worst-in-series Resident Evil: Apocalypse. I was scratching my head (figuratively) wondering where she had been in the movie? Then they show the interior of the incoming attack choppers and she's got one of the spider devices on her and she's leading the assault. She looks totally different - before she had short, brown hair; now it's long and blonde - and if she hadn't been listed 20 seconds earlier, I wouldn't have gotten the gag.


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