Editorial

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE: What this Horror Franchise Movie did Wrong

Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Shotguns

I watched Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Resident Evil: Afterlife starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, and Wentworth Miller. Most of what the viewer was expecting from this horror franchise film is what they received. There are many things that the Resident Evil horror film series has done right: (initially) evolving lead character, moderately effective rock-and-roll score, Rated R violence, and an interesting – though severely flawed – plot. The plot was always nonsensical with massive plot holes, cop-outs, and was never scary in the slightest. What was surprising was that some of the things that the series did right were not mentioned in Resident Evil: Afterlife. If some were carried over from Resident Evil: Extinction to Resident Evil: Afterlife, they were dropped within the first fifteen minutes of the film. It wasn’t all bad though. I did like when Albert Wesker (Jason O’Mara) was approaching the the plane bleeding after the Tokyo facility attack. That was a well-shot scene and seemed like a segment from a far greater film outside of the Resident Evil universe. The other *begin spoiler* was the Resident Evil: Afterlife: Jill Valentine Sienna Miller scene *end spoiler*.

Here is a comprehensive list of what went wrong with Resident Evil: Afterlife:

Clone Death

All the Alice (Milla Jovovich) clones were killed at the beginning of the film.

The Powers

All of Alice’s “powers” got taken away at the beginning of the film. What a cop-out and lack of writing prowess this script decision was by Paul W.S. Anderson. If Alice retained her powers, she would have been in virtually no danger from the enemies present in the film and something different and far more powerful would have had to have been her adversary in this film. This decision was a house cleaning, wiping the slate clean like David Fincher did at the beginning of Aliens 3. My question is: Why build Alice Abernathy up in that way if you did not know where to take it or her? Her escalating powers made her unique – a Firestarter if you will – in a zombie horror film. By taking her powers away, Anderson made her character less interesting.

The Logic Needle

Why didn’t Albert Wesker take Alice’s powers away and poison her coterminous with the same potion? Why go through the “recall” speech, which inadvertently was one of the better sections of dialogue in the film, and try to shot her afterward instead of that quick and easy approach?

Jason O'Mara, Resident Evil: Afterlife

My guess is that Anderson felt the audience had come on a journey with Alice and should continue with her, the original Alice, instead of a clone or the clones. I can understand this common writer’s logic but it was a non-forward thinking decision. It would have been far more interesting with multiple Alices in the series from that point on, each one trying to stake their own claim on a separate identity instead of the communal one they were born into.

The Trip Abroad

How did Alice get the clones to Toyko, Japan in that apocalyptic world?  If they flew, wouldn’t Umbrella’s satellites have detected a plane or helicopter? They did later in the film. Big inconsistency.

The Goram Plane Crash

How did Alice survive the Wesker plane crash at the beginning of the film…without a scratch? She had her powers taken away i.e. no Wolverine-like healing factor. She was not strapped into a seat and went flying forward when the plane hit. How is that possible? That’s not even possible in a comic book. The plane suddenly stopped yet everything in the plane not strapped down continued forward at that speed. How could she survive that (with nothing broken no less)? Then in the next scene, she’s flying some other plane with no scabs, scarring on her face or neck of any kind yet is wearing make-up. Why? For the audience?

Why didn’t Wesker put the plane on auto-pilot after injecting Alice, before giving the “recall” speech? Planes do not fly themselves unless programmed and instructed to. Did he seriously forget he was the only one flying the plane? This was an severely asinine plot point by Anderson.

Ogre Champion

What is that giant in the film? How does that exist? Where did it come from? There is no human on the planet nine and half feet tall.

Salon Factor

As was mentioned in part under The Goram Plane Crash, why is the female cast of Resident Evil: Afterlife wearing make-up e.g. lip stick and how is their hair perfectly conditioned and styled? This is extreme nitpicking but that does not make it untrue. I know Resident Evil has always and will always be nonsensical popcorn-fare. This is what Screen Gems and Davis-Films want. I guess some beauty parlors and make-up shops never close, not even after a zombie apocalypse.

Body Armor

Body armor is either not worn or does not work in the film e.g. the Umbrella security guards. Bullets strike their chests and kill them. Why don’t the Alice clones wear any body armor at the beginning of the film? Wouldn’t it be prudent to protect your life as much as possible going into a dangerous situation?

More Gripes

Why does Alice’s plane never run out of gas yet is flying all over the world it seems?

How does Alice recharge her camcorder?

The amount of torches and their placement in the prison are completely ridiculous. Come on. Seventy or Eighty of them it seems. Thirty feet off the ground? Their going to go through all of that extraordinary effort (like this article) to light a single room? Please.

How does Alice know what plane Wesker will choose to escape the Tokyo facility in?

How do the people garbed in white in those tubes at the end of the film eat, drink and re-leave themselves? No tubes were hooked up to their mouths so they could eat or to their privates so they could excrete.

Milla Jovovich, Resident Evil: Afterlife

The Absence of The Queen

The A.I., Red Queen (Michaela Dicker) – nor its later incarnation White Queen (Madeline Carroll) – are present in the film. I was very happy that the A.I. was upgraded in the third Resident Evil film from the first film. The viewer was presented with a cleaner hologram in Resident Evil: Extinction and it made sense.

Madeline Carroll, Resident Evil: Extinction

All of that was dropped in the Resident Evil: Afterlife. White Queen could have been present in the Tokyo Umbrella facility at the beginning of the film and on the ship at the end of the film. This was another unfortunate story decision by Paul W.S. Anderson. It would have been good for continuity between all of the films. That’s why the original Alice has been kept alive all this time, hasn’t it?

In Conclusion

Before anyone says anything, I know I analyzed and scrutinized this popcorn horror film far more closely than the film deserves, than the person that wrote it, and the team that read the shooting draft of the script and green-lit it. I’m well aware of these facts. I may even have too much time on my hands. These are all entirely possible. What is also true is that this horror film franchise continuously wastes the vast resources put into it, the talent bestowed upon it, and its intrinsic potential.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

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