Milla Jovovich in the Yak-52 Cockpit
Have you seen Resident Evil: Afterlife?
Milla Jovovich (Alice) and Ali Larter (Claire Redfield) fly around in a vintage Yak-52 airplane as they battle deadly Zombies and the corrupt Umbrella Corporation. As the tyrant Zombie Virus spreads around the globe, Alice and Claire must fly from Tokyo to Alaska in their beautiful, red Yak-52 airplane in search of a safe haven (Arcadia) for un-infected humans.
Pilots – Don’t miss this Movie!
The Yak-52 aircraft is one of the biggest stars of this latest Resident Evil movie. Pilots of all ages will want to see this incredible airplane in action! In one scene, the Yak-52 even lands on a building roof-top as the attacking Zombies surround the building. The Yak-52 used in the filming is a 1983, soviet trainer that is fully aerobatic and boasts a top speed of 400 kmh.
Martin Mattes of Bandit Airshows
LearnToFly.ca Editors, Geoff McKay and Greg McKay met up with Yak-52 owner and Pilot, Martin Mattes of Bandit Airshows at the Brantford, Ontario airport. Martin told us all about his recent experience as the Yak-52 Pilot during filming of Resident Evil: Afterlife at the Oshawa, Ontario airport. Martin Mattes’ vintage Yak-52 was the actual aircraft you see Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter fly. For the flight scenes, Martin was dressed as Milla Jovovich, and Martin was the Stunt Pilot who actually flew the Yak-52 for the camera. Believe it or not, it’s Martin Mattes, dressed as the beautiful Milla Jovovich, who stars in the amazing Yak-52 flight scenes.
Pilot Interview with Martin Mattes and his Yak-52
Yak-52 Owner Martin Mattes A.K.A. Milla Jovovich as Alice in Resident Evil: Afterlife
Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D
Directed by Paul Anderson, this is the fourth movie in the very successful Resident Evil Film Franchise. BTW, Director Paul Anderson and star Milla Jovovich are married in real life. They met during the filming of the first Resident Evil movie in 2002, and were married in 2009.
Paul W. S. Anderson wrote and directed his first Resident Evil movie back in 2002, and his success continues with “Resident Evil: Afterlife”, the fourth movie in the series. Based on the popular Resident Evil video game, these science fiction horror films are filled with evil zombies trying to infect the remaining humans with the globally spreading Zombie Virus accidentally released by the Umbrella Corporation.
Resident Evil Movie Franchise
- Resident Evil (2002)
- Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
- Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
- Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
During filming, Martin Mattes helped the actors to familiarize themselves with the Yak-52, and he assisted them with getting into the cockpit. During this scene, Milla (Alice) and Ali (Claire) prepare to fly the Yak-52 as they follow the radio broadcasts in search of Arcadia.
There are some amazing flight scenes as the Yak-52 is piloted across the globe, skimming above the Zombie infected masses.
Watch for the Flashing Red Light
In the movie, you will see a Flashing Red Light prominently displayed in the cockpit. For all the non-pilots out there, I guess the flashing red light means: Crash Landing on Building Imminent!
Don’t worry, the Flashing Red Light was a cockpit Add-On used for the movie only. The standard soviet trainer Yak-52 airplane is not equipped with such sophisticated and advanced technology!
The Yak-52 was featured in various action scenes and also some static scenes including the Airplane Graveyard Scene with many abandoned aircraft.
3D Flight Scenes
The many flight scenes were produced using a combination of techniques including up close filming, Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), and 3D Special Effects.
Resident Evil: Afterlife is an incredible 3D movie using the latest special effects technology. The 3D Special Effects are truly stunning, and the YAK-52 flight scenes work extremely well in realistic 3D.
8 Foot Propeller
This Yak-52 has a custom, eight foot, black propeller with bright yellow painted tips. The propeller is imported from the U.K. and it provides fantastic performance for the airplane. During filming, Martin Mattes was asked to taxi the airplane, with the engine running, directly up to the special 3D Camera valued at over $500,000. Martin had to stop just short of the camera, to avoid destroying the advanced 3D camera and other video equipment. Martin explained the Yak-52 does not have the best brakes, but the director (Paul Anderson) wanted a really incredible shot for the 3D special effects. When you see the movie, you can feel how close Martin was able to bring the front of the roaring engine up to the stack of video equipment. Imagine almost $1 Million worth of video equipment carefully positioned just barely one metre away from the massive, powerful, spinning, propeller.
In the Director’s Tent
During filming of Resident Evil: Afterlife, you can see the activity in the Director’s Tent as the Yak-52 Action sequences are filmed and reviewed. The scenes are repeated over and over, until the director is satisfied he has captured just the right shot for the movie.
It was overcast in Oshawa during filming, and the Yak flight manoeuvres were very restricted due to the weather. However, Martin said he worked with the director, and also within legal flying limits, to get the best flight scenes possible. When you see the movie, you will be absolutely amazed with the final cut!
The Yak-52 is a Soviet trainer aerobatic aircraft. The Soviet military uses the Yak-52 as the primary flight trainer for pilots. The natural progression for the pilots is to graduate from the Yak-52 to the incredible Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfin Jet Trainer. Following a tour in the L-29, the Soviet military pilots will then be introduced to the top end Russian MiG Jet.
Yak-52 and L-29
It just so happens, that Martin Mattes of Bandit Airshows owns both a Yak-52, and also an L-29. You see both of these fantastic Soviet aircraft in Martin’s hangar during his video interview with Geoff about the making of Resident Evil: Afterlife.
$7,000 “Milla” Wig
Here you can see Martin Mattes dressed in a $7,000 Wig as Milla Jovovich. Martin jokes that they did not have enough money in the budget to make him look exactly like Milla. However, they sprayed out the grey hairs, and fitted him with a $7,000 “Milla” wig and fitted him with the same Jacket that Milla wears in the movie.
After the make-up, wig, and costume, Martin was a “Milla Look-A-Like”, and ready to film the flight scenes in the Yak-52. At one point during filming, one of the crew had to smear some white paint on the cockpit glass to partially obscure or blur the view of Martin’s face. I guess the director Paul Anderson was not entirely convinced that Martin was a dead ringer for his beautiful wife Milla!
Martin joked with Milla during filming that he thought he looked more like George Clooney instead of her. Milla howled with laughter, and she really enjoyed filming the scenes with both Martin and his fantastic YAK-52.
Thousands of still photos of the Yak-52 were also taken by the film crew. These photos of the Yak were taken from all angles, and they were then used for generating much of the CGI work needed to complete the flight action scenes. Even the Aircraft Graveyard Scene, showing many aircraft scattered around, was a composite of both CGI work and other special effects.
Fake Painted Red
For the movie, Martin’s Yak-52 had to be Red. During production, it was decided to “Fake Paint” the Yak using a temporary paint that would come off after a while. We see the Yak here being prepared for it’s beautiful Red appearance.
The Red colour scheme is particularly important in the movie. For fans of the very first Resident Evil movie, you will remember that Milla Jovovich (Alice) wore an Iconic Red Dress throughout the movie, and the matching Yak-52 colour fits perfect!
Since filming the movie, Martin had his Yak-52 painted for real, and it is now wearing a permanent red colour scheme to match its famous paint scheme from the movie.
Pitot Tube Optional?
The director even asked if the Pitot Tube could be removed to make the Yak look better, but Martin insisted the Pitot Tube was not an optional item on the airplane. As most pilots know, the Pitot Tube is a vital part of the aircraft, and absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of the critical flight instruments.
Learn To Fly!
After interviewing Martin Mattes, we were joined by Martin’s pilot friend Danny Richer. The editors of LearnToFly.ca and Martin and Danny had lunch together at the Brantford Airport, and there was one common theme. Martin and Danny encourage everyone to fly.
Both Martin and Danny are experienced aerobatic pilots, and they understand the excitement, fun and discipline of being a pilot. If you are looking for an exciting pursuit, get your Pilot’s license.
Editor, Geoff McKay
Pictured here, LearnToFly.ca Editor Geoff McKay takes to the cockpit of the Yak-52 Soviet Trainer.
The YAK is an incredible aircraft, and this specific Yak-52 is now a movie star. You can see this incredible aircraft in the Zombie Thriller “Resident Evil: Afterlife” starring Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter, and directed by Paul Anderson.
Will the Yak be Back?
Hopefully the Resident Evil movie franchise will continue to be a huge success. When the next Resident Evil movie is filmed, hopefully Milla (Alice) and Ali (Claire Redfield) will need the Yak again to save the Human race from the Zombies in another flying mission.
Martin Mattes of Bandit Airshows
When Martin Mattes of Bandit Airshows isn’t flying around fighting Zombies and imitating Milla Jovovich, he can be found at local Air Shows performing aerobatics in his Soviet Yak-52 Trainer and L-29 Delfin Jet.