Resident Evil: Afterlife UltraHD Blu-ray Review
By Chris Heinonen on
Summary: After a one-woman assault on the Umbrella Corporation’s fortress, Alice’s (Milla Jovovich) superhuman abilities are neutralized. Now, fleeing the Undead masses created by the T-virus, Alice reunites with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and her brother, Chris (Wentworth Miller). Together they take refuge with other survivors in an abandoned prison, where a savage zombie mob stands between them and the safety of “Arcadia.” Escaping these bloodthirsty mutants will take an arsenal. But facing off with Albert Wesker and the Umbrella Corporation will take the fight for survival to a new level of danger.
Movie Review: Let me confess that I’ve never seen the first two Harry Potter films, or read the books. They were never my thing, but I started watching the movies with the third film and was able to jump in and understand what was going on fairly easily. Resident Evil: Afterlife is nothing like that. I’ve played the first of the games, but if you haven’t seen the prior movies you’ll really have no idea what is going on. The film pretty much jumps straight into the action without much explanation at all as to what is going on. If, like me, you haven’t seen the prior ones you’re going to be pretty lost.
Leaving that aside, there isn’t much here to separate Resident Evil from your generic action movie. The opening raid sequence is an exercise in ridiculousness, where one people is seemingly able to take out an entire trained and equipped army without much challenge. I’m sure if you’ve watched the prior Resident Evil films, you’ll want to watch this one. If you haven’t, you should really start at the beginning anyway because otherwise you’ll feel like you don’t understand what is going on most of the time anyway.
Technical Review: It’s quickly becoming apparent that you can’t just look at the source materials for an UltraHD Blu-ray and be certain what the image will look like. Resident Evil: Afterlife was shot digitally on 1080p cameras, but the UltraHD version offers an uptick in detail over the included Blu-ray version. Being digital you don’t have film grain or noise present, and you can’t see the finest textures, but with better compression and higher bit-depth to store shadow details and gradients, the UHD copy is superior. There are some attempts to use HDR, and while the explosions are brighter they are also clipped at peak white as you’d expect with an older 2K transfer. What you really notice is the visual effects sticking out and showing a bit of their age because of the clarity on the UHD transfer.
The soundtrack has been redone as Dolby Atmos, and there is nothing to complain about here. From the opening raid sequence through the end of the film, all the channels are fully utilized and the end result is nothing if not reference quality. The height channels are continually in use and vocals are kept easy to hear. Many times I would be shocked by audio cues that I could pick up on before the visual cues on screen. Just a fantastic audio track.
Special Features: Special features on the Blu-ray disc include Picture-in-Picture, Audio Commentary, Deleted & Extended scenes, outtakes, and seven featurettes.
Review System: Vizio P65-C1 display, Oppo UDP-203 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, SVS SB16-Ultra Subwoofer, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver.
Improved image quality over Blu-ray, reference class Atmos soundtrack.
Very hard to understand what is going on if you haven't seen the earlier films, HDR used to add brightness but doesn't add extra detail in highlights.
If you haven't seen the earlier Resident Evil films, you should really begin there to better understand what is going on in the films. If you have seen them, the UHD version of Afterlife offers improvements in image and sound over the Blu-ray release.