Comic-Con 2010: Resident Evil: Afterlife Footage Slows Time, Escapes 2nd Dimension

Sorry to have denied you all for so long. I know that secretly the only project you cared about at Comic-Con was Resident Evil: Afterlife, the 3D fourth installment of the strangely popular and oddly addicting video game adaptation series. Paul W.S. Anderson is back in the director’s chair for this go-round after having abandoned ship post the first film – which in my opinion, is the worst of three. Potentially a bad sign.

I’d love to take this write-up seriously, but having seen the trailer I can’t really do so, seeing as how I’m not sure the movie took itself seriously. At all. Sure, there is something to be said for campy fun, but if you’re going to talk about how your camera costs $100,000 and came from the set of Avatar, you might want to hit “Record-Normal” rather than “Record-Ultra Slow Motion.”

You may also want to consider turning off the sprinklers.

The panel was content to show a trailer, which looked like some pretty ridiculous fun (emphasis on ridiculous) and then an extended scene. I honestly can’t remember the trailer very well, but it introduced us to new bad boy Wesker, showed the return of Ali Larter’s Claire Redfield, brought in fan favorite Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller), and looked kind of cool, with lots of violence and an army of angry Milla Jovovichs. Jovovichi?

After a little bit of question & answer with the cast (pervert aside: Ali Larter is hot, even when pretty damn pregnant, just sayin’) we got to what mattered: the scene.

Going into the scene the trailer had convinced me this might not be a terrible movie. It might be fun. After all, the 3D was alarming, coming about as far out from the screen as possible. That’s what a really expensive camera gets you. Shortly after the scene ended though – scratch that, about 45 seconds into the scene – I was more of the mind that this was going to be a steaming pile, albeit a steaming pile with high quality 3D gimmicks.

The scene we got to watch featured Resident Evil bad guy The Executioner (giant guy with a hammer/axe combo) cutting some poor fool in half and then going toe to toe with Claire, who later gets an assist from Alice. The entire battle sequence took up about 5 minutes of my time, though covered a fight that must have been approximately 18 seconds long, based on my slow-motion calculator.

Almost literally, the entire thing was in slow motion. If you thought 300 overdid it, avoid this movie at all costs. It was all “action move, pose” over and over and over again. All in slow motion. Just so you know how slow it was, the fight takes place in a bathroom with 97 ruptured pipes, all of them spewing water everywhere.

The fight itself was probably pretty cool, but the slow motion was laughable. I just couldn’t believe someone would take the time to film a gigantic, long, intricate fight sequence, from multiple angles, with multiple cameras, and then just toss the entire thing into the slowmo machine.

What was good about it? A few things. Number one, the 3D is gimmicky, but way out there. This is crazy style 3D, with axes, water droplets, hair, glass, just about everything in the room popping 18 feet off the screen. So that’s cool. Also, Ali Larter is soaking wet. So that’s cool. The Executioner looks pretty badass and in an awesome reference to the game, when he’s finally destroyed his body spills coins out. Cha-ching!

Resident Evil: Afterlife promises some eye popping 3D, tons of slow motion, plenty of blood and violence, and a few hot chicks. I think that’s just enough to warrant seeing this film in theaters, but I have very serious doubts about the quality of the story and the filmmaking. Me thinks Anderson got a little too giddy with a new toy and just played around for 90 minutes rather than actually crafting a film. Time will tell.

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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