Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) / Action-Horror
MPAA Rated: R for strong violence, gore, language and sexuality/nudity
Running time: 95 min.
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Mike Epps, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke, Matthew Marsden, Linden Ashby, Jason O'Mara,
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Screenplay: Paul W.S. Anderson
Review published September 24, 2007
This third entry in the Resident Evil storyline follows the pattern of the second film by picking right up where the previous one leaves off. The always dangerous Alice (Jovovich, Ultraviolet) is out of the city, as the epidemic has turned into a global pandemic, The world has turned almost completely to desert (somehow the virus is responsible for the lakes and rivers drying up?) with the usual motley gang of nomads assisting traveling around Nevada.
Continuing the trend of knocking off better films in the genre, Resident Evil: Extinction rips a page out of the Mad Max films by going for a post-apocalyptic vibe (fittingly, considering this follows Apocalypse in the series) with plenty of eccentric baddies and vehicular mayhem in a desert terrain.
I suppose that if you were someone who actually enjoyed the first two entries in the Resident Evil saga, you'll most likely enjoy this continuation of the story. It offers a new setting, a return to familiar characters, the same action and bloody carnage you've come to know and love. Those who remain unimpressed will probably continue to be so, as the weaknesses are still not addressed, primarily because Paul W.S. Anderson just doesn't know how to write a story properly, with a script that barely does anything more than to set up comic book scenarios where we'll see more stylish fighting among the characters.
Russell Mulcahy (Swimming Upstream, The Shadow) is the third director in as many films, and if you know his track record, you'll know that he thrives on hyperkinetic incoherence. The film looks good, but the strange need for every character to kill off enemies by trying for as many style points as possible just shows that they are as bored with dispatching their victims about as much as we are in watching them. How many ways are there to kill a zombie? That's really all there is left to explore these days.
Resident Evil: Extinction delivers the goods for the fans of the films, but at this point, it's separating quite a bit from the video games from which it draws inspiration. There are a few new wrinkles in the story, mostly involving some sort of clone farm for Alice that completely confounded me as to its intended purpose. In fact, by the end of the film, I couldn't tell you if Alice was Alice, an android, or a clone of herself. I'm sure the filmmakers know, but they just weren't able to properly explain it in a way that made any sense on the screen. I will concede that my attention span with this sort of movie is almost as nonexistent as the expository information.
Nevertheless, none of it matters in a film like this, which never asks you to delve any deeper into the storyline or characters than necessary, barely holding itself together in order to give us what we pay our money to see -- wanton carnage and cheesecake shots of hot women who somehow find it necessary to look their sexiest in this ghetto world where they are killing zombies and bad guys on a continuous basis. Surface pleasures meant strictly for those who think that going to the movies consists of sitting in a chair for 90+ minutes and watching displays of violence and titillation with no real meaning or explanation.
The end of the film insists on the inevitability of at least one more chapter, which can bee seen as a promise or a threat, depending on your tolerance for such fare. The secondary title is "Extinction", which has connotations of a bleak future for humanity for the few who actually care. For the rest of us, only the second syllable need apply.
-- Folowed by Resident Evil: Afterlife and Resident Evil: Retribution.
©2007 Vince Leo