Resident Evil: After Life

September 25, 2010

I love these movies so very, very much (as I think I’ve mentioned before).  I go into each one thinking, “Surely this is the one that falls headlong into stupid and disappoints me.”  And maybe because I have those expectations, I end up loving each one just as much as the one before.  They’re slick and surreal, to the point of being like zombie horror techno rock videos.  There’s some very pretty stuff in After Life (the slo-mo opening of the fashionable girl standing in the rain, Alice flying in a World War II era plane over a blasted Los Angeles) .  The pacing is divine.  They’re still following something resembling an ongoing storyline.  And they pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors every damn time.

Claire’s back in this one.  Yay Claire!  The characters survive because they’re competent.  And something I noticed this time — the party’s getting picked off by zombies one-by-one, of course, and the survivors spend absolutely no time or angst over it.  Boom, victim #3 snatched, right, moving on.  I pointed this out and one of my friends observed, “They learned that in the previous movies.”  Horror action characters who learn?  Yay!  I think I just appreciated that the movie didn’t expect me to feel much emotional investment in characters that neither the movie, nor the main characters, had spent any time getting to know.  It’s a zombie movie, the fodder’s going to get picked off, we all know that, moving on now.

And I still love Alice to pieces.  One of my pet peeves is the kick-ass heroine with the dark dark past that she has to dwell on endlessly to justify her ass kickingness.  Alice has one of the arguably darkest pasts of them all (Hi! I was a zombie clone experiment raised in a vat by a soulless corporation!), but she doesn’t dwell.  She kicks ass because she can, and she does it because she actually cares about saving humanity.  Alice (and Milla Jovovich) rocks.


10 Responses to “Resident Evil: After Life”

  1. David Bowles Says:

    Every time I think about the Bechdel test, I am astounded as to how many books/movies I have seen/read that fail this test. This must be pretty offensive to a lot of women. I myself am not a fan of Resident Evil, but at least this is not one of its deficiencies.

  2. EmeraldWolfHeart Says:

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who likes the movie. I too went into the movie expecting to be disappointed because in general most movie series get rather predictable and Afterlife was predictable at least in the beginning but then it got better. I also liked the change of pace in how fast the unnecessary characters were killed off.

    On a final note the Resident Evil movies are totally cool in that they are the only zombie/horror movie that don’t scare me other than the startle (monster jumping out) factor. I had an entire 3-D theatre to myself and was not scared!

  3. carriev Says:

    What the Bechdel Test demonstrates is that action movies don’t consider women to be equal players or actual characters, really. What’s _really_ offensive is when you get a romantic comedy or “chick flick” supposedly marketed to women, full of women characters who might actually talk to each other, but always about men, for two hours straight.

    Oddly enough, the Resident Evil movies have gotten progressively less gory, I think. They really are about fast-paced and outrageous action rather than blood or gore. And the “jump” moments are usually carefully considered.

  4. Jared Says:

    Then again, one could argue that a movie which doesn’t get you to care about its characters getting killed off hasn’t done its job properly.

    Granted, I hardly batted an eye for any of the characters’ deaths in the recent movie Predators, but that’s mainly because the writers consciously made them all morally reprehensible as a plot point.

    I’m not saying that one has to gush tears every time a character dies, but a little acknowledgement of their death is always a plus.

  5. Mom Says:

    What is the Bechdal test? The link didn’t explain it.

  6. carriev Says:

    You have to read a little bit down on the link…

    A movie (or book, or whatever) has a) more than one woman character, b) who talk to each other, c) about something other than men.

  7. Jakk Says:

    I love these movies as well. I have become rather jaded with going to see movies of the last few years, but a Resident Evil movie ALWAYS gets me to go. And i have never played one of the games in my life, so it is nice to go in, tune out, and have fun.

    And i LOVE the cliffhanger endings.

  8. C Kelsey Says:

    All of your points are spot on, Carrie. Yet for some reason this movie bored me to tears. You would think it would be impossible to have a zombie action movie with some darned good characters be boring, but this RE flick bored me. 😦

  9. David Bowles Says:

    My favorite action movie of all time happens to be “Aliens”, in which females are definitely considered important characters.

    What I find to be flabbergasting is any movie in which humans are up against foes (supernatural or alien) that are completely superior to humans physically that still marginalizes women. Last time I checked, females can fire guns just as well as males. Actually, this was proven in WWII by the Soviet Union. But I digress.

    I’m always on the lookout for stories that portray realistic characters in realistic positions.

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