Resident Evil: Afterlife review - “I don’t know if I can do this much longer...” winces a desperate Milla Jovovich, trapped in a wasteland populated only by braindead citizens.
We know the feeling. Hard to believe this is the third post-apocalyptic sequel spawned by Paul WS Anderson’s awful 2002 videogame adaptation.
Much (all?) of it owes the fact that Jovovich - as the poor man’s Lara Croft – is willing to throw herself with kamikaze eagerness into every slack script, tight outfit or ludicrous wire-fu set-piece that Anderson can think of.
Here she finds herself trapped in a ruined towerblock – and an incomprehensible story - with a rag-tag group of really bad actors and bankable TV stars. Heroes’ Ali Larter swallows her pride to return from the last film. Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller suddenly looks like Clint Eastwood.
Shot by Rambo/Final Destination 3D cinematographer Glen MacPherson using James Cameron’s Fusion 3D camera system, Resident Evil’s attempt to take your brain to another dimension is kneecapped by a problem that plagues stereoscopic scare-movies: it’s just too dark.
You can barely see a thing during the claggy underwater sequences. Weirdly, the 3D here not only makes everything feel less real but forces you to take your glasses off. Cameron would despair.
Leaning heavily on the slo-mo button, Anderson sends shell cases, debris, viscera and guns pointlessly floating through the fourth wall.
He and MacPherson do discover a couple of cool angles for their 3D: Jovovich running toward the camera, sending bullets through the skulls of onrushing zombies and out into the screen (along with a nice splattering of gore).
Jovovich and Larter’s smackdown with a giant hammer-wielding beast also ends with a superb kill that plays a videogame-referencing coin-trick cuter (not to mention bloodier) than /Scott Pilgrim/. Other than that, there’s little to hang on to here.
Which makes it all the more breathtaking that Afterlife impudently ends on the cliffhanger for yet another follow-up. Who the hell watches these films?
Isn’t it time we put Milla out of her misery? When even the zombies give bad performances, no amount of 3D gimmickry, cheesy bullet-time or slo-mo shots of sexy ladies in the rain can save you.