Resident Evil: Extinction Review

The first two were rubbish – no reason to change things now….

Existing for no reason other than the fact that people are dumb enough to pay to go and see it, Resident Evil: Extinction is the third film in the inexplicably popular series based on the hugely successful video game. Milla Jovovich once again stars as Alice, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world consisting almost totally of desert, the result of a deadly virus unleashed by the shady Umbrella Corporation which has turned most of the earth’s population into flesh-crazed zombies.

Incomprehensible even if you’ve seen the first two films, Resident Evil: Extinction is, in a nutshell, abysmal. But there’s some perverse fun to be had from its inanities and from its, well, perversions. All too aware that Jovovich in thigh-highs is the number one selling point to the key demographic (i.e. males), the filmmakers signal their intent from the outset, poor Alice beginning this film as she did the first, her modesty protected only by a shower curtain, while no opportunity is wasted to parade her in snug khaki shorts. Dialogue also provides unintentional comedic gold: “Are you sure it’s her?” asks an Umbrella director of Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen). “62% sure”, comes the deadpan reply. And for someone supposedly living in the desert, her skin looks like she’s just spent a week at Laboratoires Garnier.

Warning bells should sound when one of the few worthwhile scenes from the original film, involving negotiating a deadly laser infested corridor, is rehashed not once, but twice, while an early action scene involving mutant dogs is rendered incoherent by a juddering camera and spastic editing. Director Russell Mulcahy rips off numerous better films with glee, the most obvious being Mad Max. Its influence looms large as a group of nameless new characters are introduced with the sole purpose of being dispatched later, while a thoroughly graceless plundering of The Birds just annoys.

Where it does manage to improve on its predecessors is in its scenes of zombie extermination. While the first film was strangely coy in its depiction of decapitations and ruptured jugulars, here Mulcahy, possibly bolstered by the resurgence of George Romero’s undead offerings, revels in Alice’s bloodlust. An extended scene of carnage in a (literally) deserted Las Vegas sees a seemingly endless barrage of mutants sliced and slashed and generally blown to bits. In that regard, Extinction does at least fulfil the two basic, fundamental requirements of zombie movies: zombies munching people real good and people hacking up zombies even gooder.

Paul Greenwood

Updated: Oct 23, 2007

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