Milla Jovovich reprises her role as Alice the unstoppable killing machine heroine and she's perfect as the character who can still kick some serious ass while looking beautiful doing it. I just wish they had given her more to do -acting wise- than just killing countless undead zombies and various monsters (includine one with a giant axe) most likely created by the Umbrella Corporation.
Ali Larter also returns as Claire Redfield from the third film who joins Alice once again in her quest to find survivors. Larter does what her role requires and she gets a decent action scene near the end.
Wentworth Miller plays Claire's brother Chris who unfortunately doesn't really serve any real purpose except as a nod to die Resident Evil game fans. Miller's performance isn't that bad it's just his character isn't really developed or his relationship with Claire.
Shawn Roberts seemed to be doing his best Agent Smith from the Matrix impression as the villain Albert Wesker unless thats how his character acts in the games. He gets two scenes the beginning and the end so for somebody who's supposed to be the main villain he's not in that much at all. His fight at the end between Claire and Chris felt anti-climatic. Not to mention it doesn't last very long either. A third act that had the same problem some other films (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Transformers 2 to name a few) did as well when the main bad guy is easily defeated within a few minutes.
The rest of the cast including Kim Coates, Boris Kodjoe, and a brief cameo by Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine are okay but none of them are given any development, substance, or depth.
The action sequences are okay but nothing we haven't seen before and there's no tension or suspense. The fact that there's no humor didn't help either. The zombies are all right despite not getting half as much screen time as they did in the previous three films. The monster with the huge Axe was decent despite just showing up with no explanation something a lot of the creatures do.
And what was the purpose of taking away Alice's powers early on if it doesn't have any effect at all besides turning her human again? Because a minute later she somehow survives a plane crash in the mountains and apparently walks away without a scratch. This just didn't make a whole lot of sense like many other things. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief when it comes to movies but only to a point.
The ending was predictable and a cameo by a certain character during the credits seemed a little pointless expect to set up for another sequel. At 97 minutes Resident Evil Afterlife wasn't that bad it just suffers from the sequel curse by cramming too much into one movie. The film seemed to be made purely for the action which may please some but I like to have a compelling story with well developed character, drama, emotion, suspense, and humor to go along with the spectacle.
Don Cheadle is all right as Jim Rhodes and War Machine who's involved in the action more than the previous one. Scarlet Johannson is decent as Natalie Rushman/The Black Widow who like Paltrow doesn't have much to do except for a third act action sequence which is okay while it lasts. Sam Rockwell is a good actor (Moon, and Machstick Men) but I actually found him to be rather annoying as Justin Hammer one of the villains if you want to call the role that. I think it was more the character than him who I thought is annoying. He wasn't menacing or threatening to Tony at all. Rockwell did however a bring some comic relief to the movie.
Mickey Rourke's underused as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash who is intimidating even with very little dialog and screen time. They could've done a lot more with his character who after an impressive display of destruction at the race track he takes a back seat for a large part of the movie particularly the second half. He shows up briefly near the end only to be dispatched as quickly as he appears. Whiplash didn't turn to be as much of a threat to Tony as he could've been.
Samuel L Jackson does his usual thing as Nick Fury in a small role considering he has only two scenes with Downey Jr. He's in it for five minutes tops to set up the upcoming Avengers movie and Kate Mara is wasted in an early cameo appearance. The story itself was kind of predictable, and the few action sequences were so-so but they missing that wow factor. Most of the action happens in the third act which turns out to be a bit of a letdown because it's over too fast. The only one that had any real intensity to it was at the race track when Rourke's Whiplash confronts Tony for the first time.
There's a lot of talking in the second half and almost no action except for a fight between a drunk Tony and Rhodes in Iron Man suits which weighed it down a bit. Not that there has to be constant explosions, fist fights, and violence every 10 minutes but some more spectacle would've made it better. And for a movie called Iron Man I was surprised about how little we actually see Stark in the suit. This movie suffered the same problem that Spider-man 3 had of trying to put too much into one film with mixed results. Actor/Director Jon Favreau is admirable in making this sequel despite it's flaws that further develops Downey's Tony Stark which isn't necessarily a bad thing but certain key characters (Potts, Rhodes, Black Widow, and Whisplash) unfortunately aren't given much development and lack screen time.
The fight at the end with Downey's Iron Man and Cheadler's War Machine facing off against Rourke's Wiplash is over in like 30 seconds was a big disappointment because it felt rushed. What was the point of him showing up after the drones were killed if he's just going to get killed off thirty seconds later. There wasn't any danger or suspense to speak of and dispatching the main villain in such a short battle at the end seemed like a wasted opportunity to show how dangerous he could be. Overall this movie really isn't that bad. Iron Man 2 has some action, drama, a little humor, and solid performances by the cast (Robert Downey Jr) for the most part it just could've been better.
The part with a drunk Tony in an Iron Man suit wasn't all that funny either. I prefer The Dark Knight over this sequel as far as comic book movies go because it delivered everything you could want or expect from one of those films. Iron Man 2 on the other hand wasn't as good as the original which is shame because I really wanted to like this movie but I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed after watching it.