Franchise creator and director of the first film, Paul W S Anderson is back at the helm for the fourth ‘Resident Evil’ movie, which was shot in 3D but remains just as slickly two-dimensional as its predecessors. Like a multi-levelled computer game, ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ is just a string of self-contained set pieces, starting with an attack on the Umbrella Corporation’s HQ in Tokyo by the mutated warrior Alice (Milla Jovovich) and a bevy of Alice clones. Stripped of her enhanced physical powers by Umbrella supremo Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), Alice nevertheless escapes to Arcadia, a mythical Alaskan haven from the global zombie plague, and from there to the fire-ravaged ruins of Los Angeles. It is therefore a more human, vulnerable Alice who rescues her old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and hooks up with a ragtag band of survivors holed up in a zombie-besieged LA prison. Less bleak than Russell Mulcahy’s post-apocalyptic ‘Extinction’, Anderson’s ‘Afterlife’ dangles the possibility of salvation. Otherwise, it’s the same zombie hell, but with evolved flesh-eaters that now have extendable mouth parts and lashing tentacles. Technically, it’s a considerable achievement, although Anderson’s use of 3D is often more gimmicky than one might have hoped. Still, for die-hard fans, ‘Afterlife’ has the same scatter-shot appeal as Alice’s shotgun full of coins, which she uses to explode the heads of the slavering zombies.
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