Resident Evil Afterlife posterIn a world of endless sequels, the Resident Evil series is particularly interesting. With every newhorror movie that comes out these days - as I'm sure Saw 7 willbe no exception - it seems that the creators are banking on the name of theseries and therefore feel they don't have to put the slightest scrap of effortinto them. 

However, before going on, I will say that Resident Evil 4 is yet another modern horror movie playing adangerous game with the 3D. I've been saying for at least the last few yearsthat it's time to let the gimmick of 3D die and accept it as a normal part ofour movies. In other words, stop halting the movies in their tracksso you can stick something through the screen into the audience!!

Watch for an errant pair of sunglasses, countlessbullets, shrapnel, Alice's quarter collection, etc to be flying into your local theater and you'll see whatI mean.

Imagine if when sound was introduced into films, directorshad their actors stare bug-eyed into the camera during their lines, pointing totheir mouths incredulously going, "Look! I'm talking! You can hear my voice!Isn't it amazing?!?"

Actually, I couldtell this was going to happen as soon as I saw Milla Jovovich's foot trying topop out of the poster, so at least I knew it was coming. Still, I'm dying tosee the day when the first 3D movie comes out that doesn't say 3D all over theposter. Can't wait to see what Saw 7pokes into our faces!

Bu I digress. Actually the only reason that the childish useof 3D bugged me was because the movie actually had a better story than Iexpected and the action is freaking awesome, so why dumb it down by treatingthe 3D like a 9-year-old who found his dad's power tools?

Of course, when I said that the story was better than Iexpected, I didn't mean anything about deep meaning or even the most remotecharacter development, I meant that director Paul Anderson's return to theseries has clearly done it some good, not the least reason for which is thatAlice (Jovovich) has been stripped of her ridiculous superhuman powers,allowing a bit of tension back into the proceedings, and the movie dies, infact, come off as more than simply an excuse for a lot of nutty action scenesand zombie battles.

Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil 4The movie picks up with Alice's continuing battle againstthe evil Umbrella corporation (of course it would be an evil corporation whichunleashes the deadly virus that creates hell on earth), and the third movie'sclosing possibility that an army of Alice's would soon be in Umbrella's future.I had no problem with this idea, as Jovovich has always been the best thingabout these movies, and this one is no exception.

Alice is off to Alaska this time, in search of the mythicalArcadia, the world without zombies. There she reunites with her old friendClaire (Ali Larter), and the two head to Los Angeles, thinking it's a safe havenfrom zombies. Meanwhile, anyone who's ever been to Los Angeles will immediatelyget the joke about what a ridiculous assumption this is.

Sadly, none of the characters, including Alice, are giventhe slightest bit of development, which makes it more difficult to care abouttheir fates, even though the three leads are played by widely loved actors. Thestunt cast this time is "Prison break's" Wentworth Miller, who plays thebrother of Claire Redfield (Larter), who was introduced in the last movie.Watch for a particularly amusing bit of irony involving Miller's character, ChrisRedfield, holding the key to their salvation from the safe confines of a prisoncell.

Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller in Resident Evil 4Given that the Tomatometer has given the movie a back-handed21% rating at the time of this writing, while the IMDb's user rating gives it adownright respectable 6.8 (seriously, for a third sequel in a fading horror franchise? A 6.8 is a freakingaward), it's clear that this is a fan's film, not a critic's. It's beenresoundingly beaten all over the place by professional critics, but there aretons of fans out there eating it up like zombie-flavored ice cream. If you'relooking for a couple hours of mind-blowing action that won't challenge you toomuch intellectually, you have nothing to lose.

Note: I wasn't surprised to learn that every ResidentEvil movie thus far has used recycledfootage from the previous installments, as the series as a whole has usedrecycled ideas from previous movies. Paul Anderson has been called a big-budgetUwe Boll, who's widely considered one of the worst directors who has everlived, but given the success of his movies despite the pristine recyclingprogram he has in place, he must be doing something right!

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