boris-kodjoe-resident-evil-afterlife_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

In a recent review of the movie Salt, I mentioned that Angelina Jolie takes the cake for female action stars.   In my list of female action characters, I missed one: Milla Jovovich’s Alice of the Resident Evil films.  Not only is she tough but also she’s more likable with each film.  Alice, a machine, initially, has a lot of heart and is quite smart.
Let me back-track a little bit and tell you what the latest Resident Evil is about.

Resident Evil: Afterlife is a continuation of where the last film left off; just 18 months later.  Alice is on her way to Arcadia, Ala.  She’s looking for her friends that she sent there, including K-Mart (played by Spencer Locke) and Claire (Ali Larter).  When Alice arrives in Arcadia, she finds the place deserted and no sign of the people she thought she sent to a safe haven, save for Claire.  Confused, Alice and Claire travel down the West Coast looking for survivors.  They land in Los Angeles, just in time to protect a handful of survivors trying to keep the flesh-eaters out.

I wish I could give you a detailed account of everything going on in Resident Evil but I haven’t seen the first two films.  I’ve seen the third film and enjoyed it.  What I can tell you is that Alice was injected with some kind of superhuman virus that turned her into a lean, mean, killing machine — literally.

While Alice was being cloned by the Umbrella Corp., which injected her with the virus, she escapes and goes on the run.  Within a few years, the company injects the virus into other people, who turn into flesh eaters and bite and infect others.

Fast forward to 2010. Writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, the guy responsible for all four films in the franchise, experiments with scaring the daylights out of his audience.  There are parts of Afterlife that actually made me scream in the theater.  And, when I wasn’t screaming, I was covering my eyes.  Even though I am not a fan of fright films, I was still thoroughly engrossed with Afterlife.

But, it wasn’t just Anderson who made this film great; it was a few of the actors, as well. One of them is Jovovich herself.  I liked that she didn’t need to rely on a man to come and save her.  It’s female empowerment at its best.

Likewise, Jovovich and Larter bring their own sexiness to the screen for those guys in the audience who like to see a hot blooded woman, without showing too much skin.  Larter is also good at being angry.  I have not seen her play this type of character before, but it suits her well. Not to mention Larter and Jovovich make a good duo.

I’m hoping that I get to see Larter and Jovovich in more action roles, so they can give the guys a break and show them how it’s done.

Speaking of the guys, Boris Kodjoe makes a very welcome appearance as Luther West, a former model and basketball star.  Kodjoe hasn’t really done much action, which is a shame because he’s so good at it.  He also gets to flex his action muscles in the NBC spy/action TV series, “Undercovers” which premiers on Sept. 22.

Kodjoe’s Luther is very lovable from the time he comes onto the screen.  He obviously has a good-natured disposition and it shows.  This might explain why his character wasn’t one of the first to be killed off in the film.

Other actors of note are Kim Coates as Bennett, an ex-Hollywood film producer who still thinks the world revolves around him, even though there’s not much world left.  Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker is as sinister as he is handsome, which is a dangerous combination.  And Wentworth Miller plays Chris, Claire’s brother, who reminds me that he’s still a good actor despite not having any significant roles since the television series “Prison Break.”

Resident Evil: Afterlife is a good time at the theaters.  But if you have upchuck reflex problems, heart problems or scare easily, you should probably pass.  If you can get past that stuff and love to see women save the day, this is the movie for you.

Kimberly Grant may be reached at