Dear Milla – Resident Evil: Afterlife

Dear Milla,

Oh, Milla, Milla, Milla. How is it that, at the best of times, you slip off our minds? They say that once we are out of sight, we are out of mind. For my part, I am going out of my own mind trying to figure out why you are not in sight all that often these days. Yes, I know, you’re shacking up with Paul now (best regards to him; tell him to just stick with the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise for now) and your baby and all (COOCHY COO, EVER!), but still…why?

I went to watch your latest fare last Friday, and I have to admit that while it may be the holiest day on the Muslim calendar, that did not stop me enjoying your slicing and dicing your way through the film. Going beyond the authority you stamped on the film, I realise that ‘Resident Evil: Afterlife’ may well be a film that will stamp the 3D legacy with its own authority; when historians look back on our time, it will be known as the first ‘proper’ 3D action film that the format has been screaming out for (I don’t care for your ‘Despicable Mes’ and ‘Toy Stories’ with an extra dimension, fine though those movies may be). Perhaps…because I didn’t actually watch it in 3D. I wanted to, and the lights for the seats at GSC Queensbay was all-green, but it turns out that they were all front-row seats. I wanted to inquire whether my sisters would be agreeable to that, but they were, at the moment of purchase, literally flying kites). So I bought the ‘normal’ screening tickets, and in some ways, lived to regret it.

For as me and my sisters stepped out of the cinema after the screening, we all wondered how much more awesome the film would have been in 3D.

But wait. ‘Resident Evil’? An awesome film? That’s not quite what the film is supposed to be described as, is it Milla? Well, I suppose you won’t quite say that, but by and large, it has been something of a B-grade franchise that doesn’t quite threaten to break through the glass ceiling anytime soon. The video game background didn’t help, I suppose, given how even the most famous games flop at the cinema. Nor is Paul ever going to use the movies as

The new Time Crisis arcade game goes wireless.

a vehicle for deeper questions like the other Paul (Thomas) Anderson might have done. Fertile ground for that, though…questioning what is human or otherwise. Neither are the zombies particularly vicious; see how they run in ’28 Days’ later! Now that was scary.

But then again, while scary is one of the objectives, I can see how the list of priority has ‘cool’ topping the whole thing off. For that is one of the qualities that ‘Afterlife’ has firmly restored to this franchise: cool. Not an easy thing to achieve, mind you, and even harder to maintain; though you weren’t really at fault, ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘Extinction’ nearly took you off the rails, probably putting you at the end of your (Alexander) wits.

I liked how, in this film, you went after the big bosses all the way back to Japan. I don’t know whether that’s what the video games are actually like, but it’s a nice (hi)story to follow through, at least from the third film if not the games. I like how you brought the whole army of…well, you into play. I’ll admit to have completely forgotten about them, and actually felt something you took your bullets. But no, your lesser half (the guy will never really be the better half, will they? So much for equality) played with my emotion, cast it thoughtlessly to the side, and continued with another…you. And another. And another. Was it heaven? Oh yes it was. Milla baby, I may have not thought of you all that much, but I know this: Rhona Mitra has got nothing on you.

After all that newness in Japan, though, you just had to go back to the United States. Come on, Milla, I know its the cultural center of the world, but we’ve covered plenty of that in the first three films. Can’t we go on exploring newer and far more interesting or exotic sites? I’d love to see you take on the zombies in Russia (a bit close to home for you, but it’s alright), or even stay in Japan or Korea. The East Asians have been stereotyped as workaholic zombies anyway, let’s play around with that. But no, you just had to go back to Alaska and to Los Angeles, searching for the survivors from the previous

Monsoon season is so bad, it even rains indoors...

adventure. You just had to bump into Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), who tried to attack you. Of course, no one could resist you, and so soon enough you become friendly, if not quite friends (again; damn those mind-controlling devices from Umbrella).

Flying to LA, you had to come across a prison with people in it. And, here’s the funniest part of them all, Milla: you came across Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller) as well! What are the chances that one of the heroes from the game would come over into the movies? Well…it seems to be pretty high, but to be honest, I’d given up hope of seeing him after the first three films went on without any sight of him. Alas, here he is…all locked up. Evidently, the rest of the survivors thought that he was a threat, being an actual prisoner there and all before everyone cleared out because of the zombies. Except that my sister and I couldn’t take him seriously at all at first. You have to understand, Milla, that we were big fans of ‘Prison Break’, which Chris starred in. I liked him, and I liked his character in the film. So imagine my surprise/delight/disappointment all rolled into one when I realise that not only is he in prison…he is in a prison within the prison. They actually had him locked up inside a cage! I do suppose, though, that they’ve learned their lesson after watching the TV show. Funny, though. I’ve been waiting for a while to see him land a meaty film role, and the one that he sank his teeth into is…this. A guy who knows a way out of prison. “I bet he’s going to take off his shirt and show us the tattoos…” He didn’t, of course.

I’d wager some money, however, that you’d wish Luther West (Boris Kodjoe) would do that, right? Take his shirt off, I mean. Don’t you lie to me now…I see it in the way you look at him. My god, the chemistry between the both of you was sizzling. The little look here, the little smile there…I mean, I am used to seeing attractive people lumped together primarily for financial purposes. People like to see beautiful people fall in love with each other, right? It works. But rarely would these combinations feel like they actually…click. Marion Cotillard and Leonardo DiCaprio? Very intimate. Gemma Arterton and Jake Gyllenhaal? They’d have very beautiful babies. But you and Boris…I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but if I was the director, and I was your husband, I’d be worried.

Wait, err…

Ray Bans: going for the down and dirty image.

Anyways, you get my point. Of course, it’s not quite the perfect outing for you. I don’t feel like you’ve changed much. Even going beyond the world of ‘Resident Evil’, it seems as if for the most part of the films that I have seen you in (no real desire to watch ‘A Perfect Getaway’, sorry darling), you’re playing similar roles. The music by the lovingly named tomandandy (TOM AND ANDY!) works well within the film, but less so without, where it is rightly binned in the ‘nothing but noise’ category. And of course, if we actually sped up the slow motion parts that seems to do little more than to extend the film’s running time, rather than to actually build dramatic tension (the impact would have been more if it was used less, I think), then we’d have a shorter film.
Which meant that we would have less time to see you do what you do best: kick ass. We wouldn’t want that now, would we? I know I wouldn’t.



The ‘3D’ on the poster makes Fikri forget he’s actually watching the fourth film in the series.

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