I admit it: I liked the first Resident Evil movie. I have seen it more than once. By choice. However, I am not a big fan of the sequel and I assumed that this videogame franchise would simply be circling the bowl by the time part three was dumped in the post-summer movie mash-up.
While I am not saying that Resident Evil: Extinction is going to win any awards — and the ending did make me laugh out loud when I first saw it on the big screen — it's far from awful.
This action-oriented horror exploits the further mutating misadventures of Alice (Milla Jovovich), a genetically enhanced, muscular hottie with a head for fighting and aim to die for. She dispenses with everything from zombies to crows to evil scientists here, and she never turns a hair! It's obvious, judging by her reduced role, that Alice will be stepping down having paved the way for other strong Resident Evil ladies to take center stage (most probable is Claire Redfield, introduced here on the big screen for the first time, embodied by a feisty Ali Larter).
The movie picks up in a post-apocalyptic desert-world, in which the T-Virus has escaped and turned most of the population into dried-out, leathery zombies. A small band of survivors have left Raccoon City and are now traveling caravan-style through the Nevada desert in hopes of finding sanctuary in Las Vegas. Or Alaska. Whatever. Meanwhile, the nasty, greedy, evil scientists of the Umbrella Corporation are planning on using clones of Alice to contain their boo-boo, and hopefully eventually rule the world while they're at it.
More than any of the other Resident Evil films, this one — directed by Russell Mulcahy and penned by Paul W.S. Anderson — is an ensemble. They are mostly new characters, but the always elegant and understated Oded Fehr returns as Carlos Olivera, a former Umbrella Corporation drone who's now fighting on the side of right. He puts in a gritty yet poignant performance.
The look of Resident Evil is glorious, thanks to the return of the first flick's DP, David Johnson, and the cinematic sensibilities of Mulcahy — kudos to the heavens there's still a director out there who believes in making a movie that looks like a movie and not a shaky home video.
The real desert locations are used to their best advantage, and everything from the carriage of the undead blackbirds to the scuffs on Alice's boots were obviously obsessed over. It really looks marvelous. It sounds good, too — how can you not embrace a movie that sets its first bone-crunching zombie-killing to Iron Butterfly's heavy metal head-pounder, Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida?
If that's not enough, somebody gets stabbed in the head.
11 Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary with Producer/Writer Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt
Beyond Raccoon City: Unearthing Resident Evil: Extinction Featurette
Resident Evil: Degeneration Sneak Peek
Devil May Cry 4 Video Game
= = =Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson