Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Extinction.
The previous two Resident Evil movies (based on the video games of the same name) were both mildly entertaining B-movies. This latest go-round is simply more of the same. There are some cheap thrills to be had, but nothing spectacular or even truly memorable happens. Milla Jovovich returns as Alice the physically and psychically augmented super-woman/zombie killer. We learn as the movie opens that the evil Umbrella corporations T-Virus has spread across the globe and brought about an end of the world apocalypse. Almost the entire population are now zombies, with very few survivors. The Umbrella corporation has survived, of course. They've gone literally underground, plotting to reverse the zombification of the world, but for their own ends of course.
Meanwhile Alice, along with a handful of other, mostly young and attractive, survivors are making their way across the wasteland, trying to stay one step ahead of the zombies. They face the usual bunch of flesh eaters and even have to fend off some zombie birds. While the action is fast paced enough to keep you entertained on a visceral level, none of the motley crew has enough of a personality to make you feel anything emotionally.
The plot skips along, leading to the inevitable showdown between Alice and Umbrella. While I'm sure you can guess which one is the winner, rest assured that the resolution isn't final enough to rule out another sequel in the franchise.
One major disappointment in the film is the limited amount of time in the ruined Las Vegas. If you went by the previews you'd believe a major portion of the story takes place there, when in reality, that scene they've shown in the previews so many times, is pretty much the entire scene. And let's face it, half the fun of watch post-apocalyptic movies is seeing current landmarks and cities in a deserted/ruined state. Apparently doing to much of that here though, was beyond this movie's budget.
Amazingly enough, this movie had a pretty good opening weekend. I say amazingly because it's hard to believe it's building an audience. I figured it would pretty much be a series of diminishing returns. But perhaps its early success is just more of a testimony to the weaknesses of the other films in wide-release right now, rather than a desire to see this one.
Ali Larter and Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Extinction.
Resident Evil: Extinction is what it is; a sci-fi, action film. As Scott noted, there are no characters, just people who look good and shoot guns. If all you are looking for is that, then this is the movie for you.
The biggest problem I have always had with the Resident Evil movies is that they are merely clones of other films. This third installment is just another end of the world zombie movie. George A. Romero single handedly created a genre of horror movies back in 1968, with Night of the Living Dead. The zombies taking over the world plot, for some reason, has recently caught back on. 28 Days Later, I am Legend and Resident Evil: Extinction are all indebted to him.
Jovovich is the best thing about this movie and the series. She is hot without looking slutty. The movie opens and closes with her doing near nude scenes. She is tough without looking like a bull dyke. The scene in Vegas where she breaks away from Umbrella’s control and slices up some zombies is her best moment. She is the only thing worth remembering about the Resident Evil films.
Photos © Copyright Screen Gems (2007)