British writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson (“Mortal Kombat,” “Alien v.s. Predator,” “Death Race”) has made a career out of turning sci-fi comics and video games into gory, highly profitable movies. Filmed in vivid 3-D with “Matrix”-inspired, bullet-time visual effects, here’s his fourth installment, picking up where 2007’s “Extinction” left off. And don’t confuse him with brilliantly talented American writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson (“Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood.”)
This chapter begins in Tokyo four years after the initial outbreak of the T-virus, developed by the Umbrella Corporation to combat nerve-based diseases and aging. The unexpected side effect is its ability to reanimate dead cells, transforming its hosts into ravenous zombies. Armed with superhuman abilities and leading an army of her own clones, Alice (Milla Jovovich) goes after evil Umbrella chairman Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts), who injects her with a serum to neutralize her enhanced physical prowess.
Barely escaping, she flees to an allegedly uninfected Arcadia in the frozen tundra of Alaska. There she finds only one survivor, her old comrade Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), who is suffering from amnesia. So it’s off to seek safe haven in fire-ravaged Los Angeles, where Alice finds other survivors (Boris Kodjoe, Kim Coates and Wentworth Miller from TV’s “Prison Break”) barricaded into an abandoned prison complex, trying to elude thousands of the slobbering Undead and find salvation in the sewers.
After Paul W.S. Anderson directed Milla Jovovich in the first “Resident Evil,” they became a couple. Their first child, Ever Gabo Anderson, was born in 2007, and they were married in 2009. As this series has progressed, Jovovich has become more aggressive and confident playing her leather-clad, shotgun-toting character which has become a global merchandising brand. However, the grotesque futility of this slow-moving, repetitively violent concept with its inane, clichéd dialogue is still mind-numbing and ridiculous.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Resident Evil: Afterlife” is a pointless, pretentious, tedious 2, ending in a splattering cliffhanger, so you can expect the survival horror series to continue if it resonates at the box-office.