HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Resident Evil Afterlife
HTS Overall Score:82
I can’t believe that it’s been 15 years since “Resident Evil” the movie hit theaters and we’re JUST now wrapping up the franchise. Also I realize that somehow we at HTS never got around to reviewing “Resident Evil Afterlife”. A problem that we are remedying now with this 4K re-release of “Afterlife”.
I have to say that I’ve always been a fan of the “Resident Evil” films. I played the games mildly as a kid, but never got into them a whole lot, so when the movies came out I wasn’t that interested in checking it out. Color me a bit surprised when I found out I LOVED the first film, and really liked the second. That had me rabidly checking out each and every new film in the franchise as soon as they hit theaters (even though they started to get a bit long in the tooth as the series progressed). Paul W.S. Anderson isn’t known for making much of any real quality (“Even Horizon” notwithstanding), but he has a cult following for his cheesy, pulpy films. The “Resident Evil” franchise fits the bill perfectly with just the right amount of cheese, mixed with copious amounts of Milla Jovovich looking hot while killing zombies. Not to say that I mind that much, but they’re very much a “check your brain at the door” franchise, with lots of guns, knives, slow motion flips, and of course more zombies, lickers and other mutants from the T-Cell virus than you can shake a stick at.
“Resident Evil: Afterlife” is the last of the decent films in the series sadly. The first three films were GOOD (sorry, I actually like “Apocalypse”), but “Afterlife” is where the series starts to fade a bit. It’s still quite a lot of fun, but you can tell Anderson is running out of ideas and starts to recycle things. We start up closely after “Resident Evil: Extinction” ends. Last time we saw Alice (Milla Jovovich) she was running with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and her pack of surviving humans (and of course all of the clones that Alice has at her disposal from the Umbrella Corporation experiment run by Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) in his underground lair). We open the film with Alice and the clones attacking an Umbrella stronghold and facing off against Albert Wesker, only to have her powers stripped from her from a serum that Wesker has on board, and Alice waking up wondering what has happened to her.
Powerless (or at least not superhuman anymore), Alice seeks out the last thing she remembers. The rumors of Arcadia, a safe zone up north where Claire and her convoy were headed in hopes of finding refuge. Instead of a safe haven, Alice finds herself in an L.A. prison with a holed up group of prisoners who are desperately fighting for time against a zombie horde that is slowly starting to work their way through the Prison’s strong defense. Along the way she’ll be able to be reunited with Claire once more, along with the mysterious Chris (Wentworth Miller) and find out just what exactly Arcadia is, and whether or not it offers the safety that she and the rest of the surviving humans so desperately desire.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=89042[/img]You can kind of say that I like the series a bit. In fact, I’ve owned most of the films on at least 2 different formats and multiple editions of said formats. The most recent set of the franchise is the older Best Buy exclusive steelbooks with bonus feature discs, and now this 4K combo pack. Right off the bat I’m curious. Why did “Afterlife” get the 4K treatment and none of the others? The 17th of January brought a re-release of the entire series on Blu-ray, but ONLY “Afterlife” got the 4K UHD treatment. Why this one? Why not all of them like the “Bourne” series got? Why not the very first movie? Was the master for “Afterlife” in the best shape? I have no clue, but I’m grateful for any and all 4K material we can get.
“Resident Evil Afterlife” is a goofy film that starts out with an INCREDIBLE concept. Alice and her clones wage war on the rest of Umbrella Corp, and lay waste in the process. That opening scene with her and the clones is nothing short of awesome. However, Alice losing her powers seems like a cop out. We’ve spent so much time building her powers up over the course of 3 previous films that it seems cheap to have her suddenly back down to human levels once more. I guess it must have been because she was TOO powerful at this point, and her getting any better would have just been ridiculous and illogical for any villain to even stand a chance. So, I guess I can understand the reasoning for gimping her a bit. The only thing is, even without her powers Alice is almost godlike in this one. She can pull off stunts and kills like no one else and without even a second’s hesitation pull off kills that almost rival her super powered T-Cell virus self. The film also starts to wet the bed when it comes to the second half of the film. Arcadia was a nice concept in “Extinction”, but once we get to the knife in the back that is Arcadia things slow down drastically, and start to feel like a replication of the first hour. Even the battle with Wesker is forced (even though he’s an awesome opponent in the games).
Rated R for sequences of strong violence and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=89050[/img]With these 4K UHD releases of older films we’re really here for two things. How is the video score and how does the audio compare? Well, in this case the 4K UHD upgrade from 1080p Blu-ray is rather satisfactory. I wouldn’t say that the upgrade is an incredible leap over the very impressive Blu-ray release, but the HDR gives richer colors and a more texture look to the finer details in the film. Grime and blood show up brighter and more defined on faces, and the stone walls of the prison seem to be more tactile to my eye. Blacks are deep and inky, with no signs of any major crush, and the shadow detail is exemplary. I have noticed in all the recent “Resident Evil” films that there is a glossy sheen over Milla’s face, which most likely is used to keep her from looking as old as she’s gotten since the first movie (yes, people do age), and that makes her face lose a bit of detail in the process. Sometimes I had a hard time noticing any significant improvement in the picture, while other times (usually in brighter sunlight) there was a very nice uptick in visual clarity. While not absolutely jaw dropping in comparison to the Blu-ray, the 4K UHD disc does show enough improvement that I have to give it a solid thumbs up.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=89058[/img]The audio mix for “Resident Evil: Afterlife” was a REALLY great DTS-HD MA track back in 2010, so I wasn’t really expecting much of an improvement for the Atmos track. It’s hard to improve on nearly perfect. Well, I have to start munching on crow as the Atmos mix on this 4K disc is absolutely jaw dropping, and employs an almost incredible boost in quality form the already amazing Blu-ray. The film starts out with a rip roaring track that blasts the listener into the seat with an all channel sonic attack that leaves you breathless. Imaging is dynamic and fantastically nuanced across the front soundstage as throwing stars whistle across the room, and the surrounds are going nonstop. The rest of the track doesn’t let up one bit, as surrounds get ample opportunity to shine with shifting directional queues and a myriad of nasty monster noises coming from all angles. The overheads are also used REALLY well, with the executioner’s blade slicing over the top of Ali and Milla’s heads and the blast of gunfire and an overhead helicopter sounding eerily accurate in its placement in the sound stage. Simply put, Sony outdid themselves with this mix and I highly recommend the Atmos track as the way to go in the future.
• Undead Vision: Picture-in-Picture
• Audio Commentary With Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, and Robert Kulzer
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
“Resident Evil: Afterlife” is the point in the franchise where things started to fade, but was still entertaining. Things feel a bit over rushed and crammed to the gills with characters and the like, but there is still a lot to love about “Afterlife”. The prison sequence with the executioner is still one of the highlights of the series, and was really great in 3D (sadly no 3D for the 4K release), and the new upgrade to an Atmos track and 4K video make this combo set a VERY attractive looking offer. The video is a decent enough upgrade over the 1080p disc that we’ve had since 2010, but the Atmos is where the goodies are at. The extras are the same extras that were on the normal Blu-ray (and that’s where they’re housed in fact), but overall this 4K UHD release is an appreciable upgrade over the Blu-ray. If you’re a fan of the series and want the best audio and video available (and don’t care about the 3D) then this is the version to get. Recommended for a fun watch.
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Portuguese, Spanish DD 5.1
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 17th 2017
Buy Resident Evil: Afterlife On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Watch
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