It’s the 3D effects that lift this horror flick from the rather pedestrian level to “oohs” and “aahs”. They are about the best that I have seen and I include “Avatar” in that comparison. You will duck when the knives and bullets come at you. The fights are slick and good to watch.
You’ll have seen lots of this before in the “Matrix” movies and, more recently, in “Inception”. It’s based on a game, like too many movies are, but lifts the bar on that genre.
There is a plot. It’s the end of the world, which seems to start in Tokyo. A virus from the Umbrella corporation has spread and everyone’s a zombie. A small group of virus-free survivors (feel free to yawn as you read that phrase) go to find Arcadia, which is also free of the virus and in Alaska or Los Angeles.
Cue lots of stunning Canadian scenery with a few “establishing” shots of Alaska and LA. It’s absolutely full of Canadian actors and Canada’s wilderness and visually lovely with some distinctively high-tech stuff and flashes of interesting bleakness.
The other really good news is that there are truly wonderful female performances here. Oh, it’s not deep and it won’t teach you a darn thing. But Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter (the best thing about “Lost” before I gave up on following that) get all the best scenes and the best lines. They also get to handle an awesome number of weapons. This is girl power writ large.
Paul W.S. Anderson directs and writes and the pace is good. The middle bit suffers from the Canadian malaise of taking itself a little bit too seriously, but that passes in a few more zombie scenes and escapes. It ends on a note that will leave you longing to know what happens next.
Kim Coates is a compelling bad guy, playing an outplaced “Wall Street” character mixed with something from “Bladerunner”.
Ray Olubowale as the Axeman has some distinctive special effects. Wentworth Miller plays a great “is he a bad guy or a good guy” act and Boris Kodjoe is Luther, who is very, very cool to watch.
I liked it more than I thought I would. Although why quite so many at the Stratford Picture House pay money to sit and text on their mobile phones in the darkness and during a movie, I cannot imagine. Still, it’s fun to have a little reflected light and enhances some of the explosions on screen. if you are into horror and science fiction and apocalyptic yarns, do see it. It passes very quickly and pleasantly.