Anderson is clearly getting bored with the Resident Evil franchise at this point–even though he returns to direct (I imagine it was because it’s in 3D). Afterlife has three distinct beginnings, something I’m actually unfamiliar seeing. Having too many endings is one thing, but having too many beginnings… doesn’t happen a lot.
The problem is Anderson closed the previous film with a cliffhanger he seemingly never intended to resolve. Here, he resolves that cliffhanger, turns the previous entry’s ending into a mystery needing resolving and then introduces the lone band of survivors for this picture (one can easily forget Resident Evil movies are zombie movies and need their bands of survivors).
The survivors are fairly well-cast–Kim Coates has lots to do, Boris Kodjoe is good as an NBA star turned zombie hunter (Anderson clearly watched “Battlestar Galactica”). Of course, the movie’s got a big action finale and the two other beginnings, so there’s not much time with the survivors.
Here Jovovich, the franchise’s glue, has to hold the film together against Anderson’s disinterest and Shawn Roberts. Roberts plays the villain. He gives the worst performance I’ve seen in memory in a theatrical release.
The two other principle victims of Anderson’s disinterest are Ali Larter and Wentworth Miller, whose backstories highlight the film’s reliance of contrivance. Both are decent nonetheless.
Afterlife gets real bad at times, but Anderson always wakes up to pull it through.
It’s a shame he doesn’t give wife Jovovich writing worthy her considerable ability.