Film Review: Resident Evil - Extinction (2007)

Directed by Russell Mulcahy, written by Paul W.S. Anderson, and starring Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Ashanti Douglas, Iain Glen, Matthew Marsden, Chris Egan, Spencer Locke, Jason O'Mara, and Mike Epps.

"After the outbreak of the T-virus initiated in Raccoon City, the whole world is destroyed and crowded of flesh-eating zombies, and the humans keep moving fighting to survive. Alice travels alone in her motorcycle through the Nevada Desert, where she meets a convoy of survivors leaded by Claire Redfield with Carlos Olivera and helps them to fight against a bunch of zombie-crows. The group decides to travel to Las Vegas first to get fuel and supplies and then head to the decontaminated Alaska. Meanwhile, in an underground facility of the Umbrella Corporation, the evil Dr. Isaacs is researching an anti-virus to domesticate the zombies and cure people using clones of Alice. When Dr. Isaacs locates Alice through the satellite, he forges an order from the president and the troops chase Alice, while the group of survivors fight against a horde of zombies in Las Vegas."

The third feature in the series based off of the Capcom video games, Extinction, is now practically unassociated with the games entirely. For instance, there is yet another game character, Claire Redfield, thrown into the mix, but with absolutely nothing resembling the iconic heroine in actress Ali Larter's movie representation: "Claire Redfield's role in the movie is different than in the games. She leads a convoy of survivors across the dead desert, but in the games, she on a mission to find her lost brother Chris Redfield." We also see writer Paul Anderson taking the easy way out again, turning the script over to director Russell Mulcahy, known for directing the first two Highlander films. Just as with its predecessor, and less like the first movie in the series, this film is an action oriented popcorn flick. Not that the first one didn't have its moments though. But what we're left with here is a CGI-laden, non-stop free-for-all shoot-out and ass kicking film that is now so far from its source material that one wonders why it's called Resident Evil at all. There's no one residing anywhere in a barren wasteland on the run with a full convoy in tow.
Despite its lacking an intelligent plot (which is really nothing new) and its constant foray on our senses with clown car-like zombies in boxes, the third in the series does a few things right. The Resident Evil series has had two great scores already, and the third is no exception. This time the music is composed by none other than Charlie Clouser, better known for the music behind such films as the Saw series, Death Sentence, Natural Born Killers, Lost Highway, and Collateral, and for remixing songs by artists such as Rob Zombie, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, and Type O Negative, just to name a few. Also, the action, while sometimes overdone, is still quite incredible and entertaining. I miss the old Alice, who wasn't some kind of super soldier with telekinesis and extraordinary strength, but it does make for some adrenaline-fueled and fire-filled sky scenes. It's also nice to see some other returning characters for a change. Yet no explanation is given to what ever happened to Jill and Angela. Of course, the film also features a swarming mass of zombie crows, which can't go unmentioned, because who doesn't appreciate zombie crows?

There are some things that may work in the film's favor to a certain group of people and may leave others with an almost displeasure. Whether you consider it homage or just straight rip-off, Extinction features many scenes obviously inspired by well-known horror and post-apocalyptic genre staples, such as the likes of The Birds, Mad Max, Day of the Dead, and even the Fallout video games. But don't let those comparisons entice you, because the film doesn't truly achieve the level of greatness of any of its inspirations or comparisons. Where the film fails, though, is once again the stale and uninspired dialog and only passing acting. It's sad to see a decent actress like Ali Larter given such a boring and mundane role, and one can't help but feel her talents where wasted. The plot is lacking and unstructured, and haven't we all truly had enough of these damn clones popping up in movies these days? I, for one, know that I'm sick of the plot device so much so that I wish it was stricken from use in Hollywood for at least the next ten years. At least it's a small element to the overall film. But probably one of my least favorite things about the movie is the downright stupidity of the people in the convoy. What compels these people to all get out right away at every stop, long before the area is scouted and secure? Don't they ever learn, or do they just love dying?
Despite all of the factors weighing against it, what Extinction does right is enough for me to enjoy watching the film (on nothing resembling a regular basis). Most fans considered this one to be the same as or marginally better than Apocalypse, but critics remained constant on the series. As an anticipatory move, "the film was not screened for critics, most likely due to the overwhelmingly-negative reviews from critics for the first two films." If you made it through the first two films, then I see no reason as to why you wouldn't be able to enjoy Extinction with about the same measure of enjoyment. As with Apocalypse, it's nothing special or abysmal, just average. Also, as I've reported earlier, the fourth in the series, Afterlife, is already in casting mode with a script again penned by Paul Anderson, which will take place in Alaska and Tokyo. Unfortunately, it's also being thrown around that the film is going to be in 3-D, which I'm quite sick of seeing (and hearing about associated with other new horror movies).

Best quote: "Yeah, I know what you are. I knew your sister. She was a homicidal bitch."

1 comment:

best scary movies said...

Cool flick. Liked all the action.