Reel Critic: No gore left undone in 'Resident Evil'

The weekends after Labor Day are financial dead zones for Hollywood. The distributors of the "Resident Evil" franchise wisely choose this time period to release their popular action/horror films. With no competition from any major studios, they maximize the appearance of their fans in theaters.

Of course, any video game series that sells 40 million copies has a guaranteed audience waiting to see each movie version. The game's PlayStation popularity has been parlayed into moderate box office success five times over. The plot of "Resident Evil: Afterlife" is familiar. Humans infected with a biohazard virus become zombie-like creatures deserving to be destroyed in wholesale slaughter.

Milla Jovovich plays the beautiful and buffed heroine. Directed by her husband, Paul Anderson, she is the central focus throughout. Stunning and athletic, she leads a ragged band of survivors trying to make their way to safety.

Along the way they shoot, stab, crush, slice and dice thousands of zombies. The top-notch special effects utilize all the required R-rated gore. There's no cerebral message here. It's mindless annihilation of an endless parade of bad guys getting quickly knocked off. If you like that sort of thing, you'll like this one.

JOHN DEPKO is a Costa Mesa resident and a senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office.

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