The start of Resident Evil 4 (in 3D), which wraps up the story of Resident Evil 3, is the best part. The rest of the film is good but mainly on the strength of the 3D, which is superb. It actually borrows heavily from Terminator Salvation and The Island (and there’s an homage to the Matrix), on closer examination. So see it for the first act, and for the 3D. It was very good, if you love Milla and/or the series.
A bit more about that: They really poured all the money into the first reel, and it shows. Everything promised at the end of part 3 was fulfilled — to a point. There were SEVERAL underground lairs of the Umbrella Corp that Alice promised to bring vengence to, and we only got to see one. Possibly the others were being taken care of as well, but, no way to know for sure (unless there’s a comic book series, a la Buffy and the awakened Slayers!).
The rest of the film was good but as I say, borrowed heavily from Terminator: Salvation. Fortunately the 3D kept me enthralled the whole time. The 3D was amazing even in “ordinary” moments, like Alice walking cautiously through the airfield. It was like seeing real life, except with more clarity thanks to the perfect exposure of film making (unlike real life where reflections from the sunlight make one look away!).
About the digital removal of lines under Milla’s eyes, they did it for a few more shots in part 4 (on the real Alice), but no where near as often as in part 3, when it was ever-present.
There were moments in the 3D when I realized “this may be as close as I’ll ever get to having Milla on top of me”… She is so beautiful. Lines and all.
The music was good and not overbearing — different from the first films, though I’m not sure how exactly as I’m not a musician.
The zombie effects were the best yet, yet oddly, the zombies (or “those things” as they call them in the film) don’t play a major part in this film, surprisingly. Oh, they’re there, no mistake about it, but there’s no extended chases as there usually are. What there is, is a showdown with a big character apparently from the video game, who is 9 feet tall and carries a big axe. He is, fortunately, not a silly monster like in part 2. He’s presented as a realistic, formidable foe — not as a Frankenstein in big boots as the one in part 2 was.
The raindrops in the opening credits! The water in the bathroom! Both deserve mention for being incredible. And speaking of the opening sequence, big accolades to the filmmakers for that first three minutes of the film. I knew what was coming — everyone did. But it was done so artistically, that it really deserves special mention as being very nice. I was a bit confused that the eyes did not turn white-grey like they usually do (or did in part 1 when Michelle Rodriguez turned), but that’s ok. (They also changed what happens to Alice’s eyes, or her minions, when they use their powers — and it was a good, solid change.)
In summary, see it, sit center rows, and enjoy it. It is at least as good as part 3, meaning while part 1 comes in first place, part 3 and part 4 come in second place.
I felt the ending came rather arbitrarily, but I heard that opening week did well enough to ensure a part 5 to finish it up, so that’s ok. That said, I was in a mostly empty auditorium today (there may have been a football game in town though, not sure). I don’t know if part 5 will be in 3D or not. I don’t mind if it goes back to 2D, because I like the characters and storyline (and the actors) either way.
But don’t skip this installment. See it in 3D, because this series is after all about having fun. It adds to it.