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Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

I won’t pretend these movies are anywhere close to good, but each one has provided some mild, mindless thrills. However, the fourth film in a franchise going nowhere is the first of the series that just says, “To hell with trying to be even remotely real.” This is a living video game, especially the opening sequence where it’s a nonstop barrage of self-conscious visual tricks, hails of bullets, gore, and a general kick in the balls to the laws of physics. I’m not asking for much, but I’d like my mindless violence to be of a quality where it doesn’t feel 100 percent gratuitous and, frankly, boring. If every single scene involves someone doing something fantastic, over-the-top, and absurd, then where can my interest go but down? Director Paul W.S. Anderson returns to the series he begat in 2002. Get ready for more zombies, more weird mutant creatures that will act however they damn well feel like, and more Milla Jovovich confusing toughness with cold stares. The action is ripped purely from a video game with no regards for geography, setup, tension, development, or anything that would matter. It’s just all flashes of violence one after the other. It’s a mostly depressing enterprise. But where do they go from here? The second movie was subtitled “Apocalypse” (little too hasty there), the third “Extinction,” and now this one is subtitled, “Afterlife.” Is the next one going to be, “Reincarnation”? And the certainty of a fifth movie only adds to my depression level.

Nate’s Grade: C-

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A Perfect Getaway (2009)

The movie looks gorgeous thanks to the pristine Hawaiian scenery. What is not as pristine is the overactive plot. This is a clever “who dunnit” thriller that isn’t as clever as it thinks it is. This murder mystery sets up a premise about killers on the loose in paradise and then introduces suspect couples. Every moment and every line of dialogue is overdone with foreboding to make you think every single moment is filled with suspicious intrigue. It pretty much becomes a parody of a suspense movie thanks to writer/director David Twohy. Then a second act twist retroactively rewrites the movie’s shortsighted history that doesn’t make sense. Why would the characters behave as they do when nobody’s around to watch them? Commitment to Method acting? It’s a harebrained twist up there with Perfect Stranger where it negates everything beforehand. There’s a 15-minute flashback that doesn’t need to be nearly that long and it breaks up the momentum. A Perfect Getaway does elicit some thrills and interest but you may grow tired of being beaten with overactive suspicion.

Nate’s Grade: C

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