Milla Jovovich’s Alice continues her hunt for survivors in the wake of Umbrella Corps’ lethal virus. For the fourth episode in the all-action series, an old friend joins her in pursuit of a new lead that takes them to Los Angeles in search of sanctuary. The city though is riddled with the Undead and Alice and her comrades fall into a deadly trap. The scene previewed for us today was a wet and bloody confrontation with a masked Axe Man. The 3D sequence demonstrated the extraordinary capabilities of James Cameron’s Avatar technology and offered a glimpse of the immersive zombie rollercoaster that is Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D.
A VT from Paul Anderson introduced the footage and he enthused about the realm of new opportunities 3D had brought to the franchise. As writer and producer of all four films Paul was already deeply immersed in the Resident Evil world, but for Afterlife he has chosen to return to the director’s chair for the first time since the original movie. He enjoyed the chance to “draw the audience into the film’s world”, maximising the negative space as sets were built in order to explore the depth and breadth that 3D offers. The production utilised the system built for James Cameron’s Avatar and the same technicians were present on the shoot to ensure the same breathtaking impact.
Certainly the scenes we saw capitalised on every inch of negative and positive space. The majority of the action took place in a tiled bathroom with water cascading from decapitated showerheads drenching the leads as they struggled to survive. It was a frenetic and fast-paced fight with axe-clanking, splashtastic and gravity defying moves galore. In a nice parallel with the Jovovich/Rodriguez pairing of the first film, Milla fought beside Ali Larter. With Jovovich looking as gloriously, furiously, fit as ever and Larter more than her equal, I imagine Resident Evil: Afterlife will become an instant favourite with fans of girl power everywhere!
However, technology has not been kind to our plucky heroines. Though the nerve-jangling score proved heart-poundingly effective, I found the 3D had quite the opposite effect. Jarring and curiously flat it looked at times like a child’s diorama and in other moments like a very shiny paper puppet theatre. The swinging of the axe distorted the perspective lending a comic effect to an otherwise tight scene and the bloody violence was rather diluted by the translucent quality of some of the images. I have a sneaking fondness for the Resident Evil franchise and, undoubtedly, its newest incarnation will win it many new fans. Based on the sneak peek I saw today I cannot guarantee I’ll be one of them.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is released in the UK on 10th September