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Vol. LXIV, No. 37
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

A LEAN, MEAN, KILLING MACHINE: The genetically altered mutant Alice (Milla Jovovich) has equipped herself with a huge arsenal of weapons in order to save the world from the zombies who are bent on taking over the planet.

Resident Evil — Afterlife: No Rest for the Undead in Fourth Installment of Zombie Series

Kam Williams

More campy than creepy, Resident Evil 4 (RE:4) is a classic “take the money and run” rip-off, because it is a badly acted, poorly scripted, and sloppily edited B movie that was shot on the cheap. Even the 3D special effects are a big disappointment, because, after being used for the opening credits, the trick photography is barely employed again in the film. So, you wear those clunky plastic frames during the entire movie, expecting to see optical illusions that never appear.

Just about the only thing RE:4 has going for it is an attractive, easy on the eyes, cast, starting with supermodel Milla Jovovich. She reprises her starring role as Alice, a gun toting genetically altered mutant who is the last hope for humanity. The cast features additional models-turned-actors Ali Larter, Sienna Guillory, and Boris Kodjoe; but unfortunately movies need more than eye candy to be a success. Also, Paul W.S. Anderson, Ms. Jovovich’s husband, directs the film.

The picture’s science fiction story is narrated by Alice in a no-nonsense manner. As the movie opens she reminds the audience that in the earlier films mankind had been decimated in the wake of a laboratory accident at Tokyo’s Umbrella Corporation. The mishap unleashed a highly contagious lethal virus. Unfortunately, the infected bodies don’t remain dead, but come back to life as man-eating zombies, and they now outnumber the remaining population a million-to-one.

The accident is the fault of Albert Wesker (Shaw Roberts), Umbrella Corporations CEO, who is now intent on killing Alice in order to harness the powers of the lethal virus for his own nefarious purposes. However, Alice eludes his grasp by flying a plane from the company’s headquarters in Tokyo to a safe haven in Alaska, and then to a prison in Los Angeles, where she crash lands on the roof.

There Alice finds an arsenal of weapons and rounds up a team of uninfected survivors. Of course we’ve seen each of these caricatures countless times before: the macho black man (Kodjoe) who usually dies first; the Asian (Norman Yeung), who is afraid of his own shadow; the backstabbing rich snob (Kim Coates); the brave battle tested soldier (Wentworth Miller); etc.

Incredible as it may seem, the formulaic plot ends with a cliffhanger, setting us up for yet another sequel. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five times? I don’t think so.

Fair (1 star). Rated R for profanity and graphic violence. Running time: 97 Minutes. Studio: Screen Gems.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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