Resident Evil: Afterlife (Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray)

March 14, 2017 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

When you look back at the year 2010, odds are that you’ll remember the name “Alice” from Tim Burton’s wonderful Alice in Wonderland as opposed to the main character of the “Resident Evil” movie franchise. I use the word “franchise” here because this is now the fourth installment and by the looks of things there’s no end in sight. Now to be fair, I’ve enjoyed a couple of the Resident Evil movies. They’re a guilty pleasure and it allows me to sit back, watch a former supermodel kill as many zombies as she can all the while dodging bullets by the thousands. When I saw that there was going to be a new installment I kind of figured that they had retrofitted one of the first two to be 3D. That’s the thing nowadays in case you haven’t noticed. But no, this was indeed a new film and I gotta give the guy credit, director Paul W.S. Anderson has helmed all four of them. By now you know the plot, so let’s skip the small talk and get to some zombie killin’!

We once again find Alice (Milla Jovovich) out in the middle of nowhere. Life, it would seem, is a thing of the past and she wonders the face of the planet looking for something, anything. She follows a repeating broadcast that leads her to Arcadia in Alaska where she believes there’s a safe haven of survivors. When she arrives, she runs into her old pals Claire (Ali Larter) and K-Mart (Spencer Locke). As it turns out “Arcadia” isn’t actually a place, but rather a ship that’s under the control of the Umbrella corporation. It’s their rouse to attract any survivors there so that experiments can be performed on them. Alice gathers a ragtag team of roughnecks and eventually they make their way to Los Angeles where they infiltrate an old prison. As you might imagine, madness ensues and all hell breaks loose…again. Oh my, how will Alice ever escape this one!?

Let’s face it, if you’ve seen one Resident Evil movie then you’ve pretty much seen them all. I don’t think that Milla Jovovich is the greatest actress in the world, but she does give 100% to her role as Alice. I consider the first two to be the most entertaining of the series, but this series of movies is based off a video game so don’t expect too much in regards to plot. Yes I know zombie movies are all the rage and yes I know that if a movie isn’t in 3D then it might as well be in black and white but I didn’t think that Resident Evil: Afterlife had to cater to every demand out there. Still the movie made over $300 million worldwide so odds are that we’ll see Alice and company again and I’ll probably keep watching. They’re not bad movies, mind you, they just don’t challenge your intelligence. Then again, people like that sort of thing.

Video: How does it look?

All of the Resident Evil movies have had their own unique look ranging from the stark white of the second one to the earthy-toned third installment. Why this one was selected as a candidate for 4K I’ll never know, but it does have a few upticks in video quality that are worth noting. The image is sharp and crisp and there’s a bit of underlying grain, though it fits well with the theme of the film. The movie was shot for 3D and it shows, but the 2.39:1 HEVC 4K transfer does benefit from HDR whereas the Blu-ray seems a tad bit bland by comparison. Whites are very white, no blooming here and the characters seem a bit muted in comparison to some of the other elements involved. Taking into account the visuals alone, this one is worth checking out.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is perhaps one of the finest examples of surround sound that I’ve ever heard. And this Ultra HD version ups the ante by adding a newly-minted Dolby Atmos soundtrack that really rocks. Let’s see, where should we begin…dialogue is rich and crystal clear and if you can factor out what’s actually being said, it’s amazing. The front stage soaks up most of the action and effects but the LFE are very, very active and take control on more than one occasion. Surrounds are almost constantly humming away adding some depth to the scene. Quite simply, this is one of those discs that you put in to show off your speakers and how loud everything can get. An amazing soundtrack and a worthwhile upgrade in the audio quality alone.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • “Undead Version” – Similar to Warner’s “Maximum Movie Mode” this can be played with some vignettes in the corner as well as some comments by Anderson. Personally this is the way I’d go to watch the film.
  • Audio Commentary – Director Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, and Robert Kulzer. This is fairly informative track, but it’s not so earth-shattering that I’d really recommend it. Anderson is obviously very involved with the franchise and he toots his own horn in this track, but I’d go for the picture-in-picture track instead.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – Seven minutes’ worth that don’t really add up to a lot plot-wise.
  • Outtakes – Shenanigans on the undead set!
  • Back Under the Umbrella: Directing Afterlife – The cast and crew speak of Anderson, his return to the series as well as some comments about the Alice character.
  • Band of Survivors: Casting Afterlife – We get a good, general sense of the main crew and their work in the film.
  • Undead Dimension: Resident Evil in 3D – Some of the challenges of shooting a film in 3D are discussed.
  • Fighting Back: The Action of Afterlife – It’s not all glory and money! We get to see some of the physical aspects of being an actor.
  • Vision of Apocalypse: The Design of Afterlife – Some of the storyboards and visualizations are explored.
  • New Blood: The Undead of Afterlife – It wouldn’t be a Resident Evil movie if we didn’t have flesh-eating zombies, now would it?
  • Pwning the Undead: The Gamers of Afterlife – Some hard core fans discuss the similarities between the game and the film.
  • Sneak PeekResident Evil: Damnation

The Bottom Line

You’re either a fan of these movies or you’re not. Resident Evil: Afterlife is one of my personal favorites from the franchise and I’m happy to see it get the 4K treatment. The improvement in audio and video are noticeable and though no new supplements made the cut, it’s ok.

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