RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 11, 2010
“Resident Evil: Extinction” appears to be the final nail in the coffin of the franchise (until the disaster of “Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D” was announced for September 10, 2010). Milla Jovovich reprises her role as Alice and proves she deserves far better. The graphics continue to improve while the number of zombies declines.
Where are the zombies in the third film? Surrounding the perimeter of the Umbrella corporation’s final underground facility led by Dr. Sam Isaacs (Iain Glen), the scientist behind the Nemesis program from the second film. This time Isaacs is taking orders from Albert Wesker (Jason O’Mara), the Chairman of Umbrella. In an attempt to keep the chairman at bay, Isaacs creates a super-zombie that he connives to unleash on Alice and the remaining S.T.A.R.S. members. The zombies disappear once again, taking any credibility the films had left.
Ali Larter is added to the cast, playing the popular character from the video games, Claire Redfield, taking a convoy of survivors through the desert wasteland of North America towards the “promised land” in Alaska. Larter proves superior in her macho role, shooting a gun with ease, and playing alongside Milla Jovovich in true femme fatale fashion. Working closely with them and reprising their roles from “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” is Oded Fehr as Carlos and Mike Epps as L.J. Among the new cast members include worthless Ashanti, playing Nurse Betty and beautiful Spencer Locke, portraying K-Mart. Most of the cast is expendable throughout the film, leaving little to grasp and hold onto throughout the course of the film.
The special effects take a huge leap forward in quality for “Resident Evil: Extinction.” The zombie crows, though comical, are quite entertaining and horrifying all at the same time. The fire engulfed clouds in the sky conjured by Alice are one of the most memorable portions of the film. The scientist-turned-superhuman-zombie called Tyrant is the worst villain of the films since the “Lickers.” The satellite in orbit gimmick is overdone and unappreciated while the deserted desert town of Las Vegas is worth viewing the film for. The fight scenes, once again, lack any “wow” factor and come off unconvincing.
The throwback to the original film openly displays the creator’s wish to return to the first film. The first five minutes match back to the exact first five minutes of the original “Resident Evil” film. They also return to the memorable moments of the killer laser hallway and the newer version of the Hive, this time directed by the British security system named The White Queen (as compared to the original Red Queen).
In a water-downed version of “The Terminator” meets “Dawn of the Dead,” “Resident Evil: Extinction” loses all the hope that is left in the franchise. Larter and Jovovich would normally make a great duo, but the lack of compelling characters and plot strands them in a lackluster position. Had the screenwriters followed the formula of the video games and jammed the films full of zombies, that small tweak would make a world of difference. In one of the only zombie infested scenes, where Alice and Carlos look out over the Umbrella facility entrance surrounded by a zombie-ravaged chain link fence, the imagery brings chills to the spine and a well-deserved slow clap. The “Resident Evil” producers need to realize that when it comes to zombie flicks, more is better… extremely more is extremely better. Give me my zombie fix and I will enjoy your films immensely.
September 21, 2007
Paul W. S. Anderson
(for strong horror violence throughout and some nudity)
Paul W. S. Anderson