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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Resident Evil: Extinction (review)

Apocalypse Now

The apocalypse has been done to death. And the zombie apocalypse has been done to undeath. Can we please just give it a rest now, at least until someone has something new to add to the genre?

Cuz there ain’t nothing new here. There’s bands of survivors decked out in the stylish Mad Max collection for Spring, Zombie Year 5; there’s the one poor sap with his secret zombie bite that will flare up into full zombieism just when it’s most convenient to the plot; there’s guys saying things like “lock and load” when on approach to presumed zombie nests; there’s a whole ton of blood and gore and undead flesheaters suckin’ down on the meaty limbs of what regular folk are left scrounging for survival after the world’s gone quite literally to hell. But there ain’t anything more. This is a video-game movie that can’t even approach the video-game thrill of killing SF monsters for fun.
Ninety-five minutes of time-wasting, zombie-slaughtering blandness, and what do we have to show for it? Milla Jovovich’s (Ultraviolet, Resident Evil) pseudo-Ripley and her meticulously plucked eyebrows and her lovely, supernaturally white teeth. I suppose it’s nice to see that people aren’t letting themselves go after the zombie apocalypse, but it does seem unlikely that half a decade after the Umbrella Corporation unleashed the zombiefying virus that turned most of the population into mindless critters craving human flesh and — however even more likely this seems — turned the planet into a desert by killing off most plant and animal life, the asphalt roads are still well maintained and sport freshly painted lines down their middles. But that’s giving too much thought to a movie that doesn’t deserve it.

This third installment in the Resident Evil anti-saga treads a lot of water, spinning its wheels to end up pretty much where it starts. Jovovich’s Alice continues her forever-crusade against the Umbrella Corporation and scientist Dr. Isaacs (respected and acclaimed Scottish actor of stage and screen Iain Glen [The Last Legion, Kingdom of Heaven], who nevertheless occasionally appears in crap like this; I hope they pay him well enough to compensate for the resulting stain on his creative soul). This time out, he thinks he has a way to domesticate the zombies, remove their hunger for flesh and transform them into a tractable slave force for, presumably, rebuilding civilization — his plan involves the use of multiple Alice clones; she’s a genetically engineered project of his, too. His chances seem slim — Isaacs is dumb enough to let zombies kill two of the actual trained technicians left in a not-undead state on the planet, which seems like a waste of important resources. When postapocalypse movies like this one seem to be striving to advance the idea that the human race is too stupid to survive, why not just let us die already?

Look: the gas is running out, the canned food is running out, and director Russell Mulcahy (On the Beach, Highlander) a hacktacular music-video vet, and writer Paul W.S. Anderson (Alien vs. Predator, Soldier), a hacktacular filmmaker in his own right, seem to believe that the zombie apocalypse means we’ll be in for regular Hitchcockian attacks by zombie birds. Maybe it’s time to give it all up already. Preferably before we have to suffer Resident Evil 4, the stage for which this dull flick is doing nothing but setting the stage.

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MPAA: rated R for strong horror violence throughout and some nudity

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb
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  • The first one was sorta kinda entertaining, but the second was downright painful to sit through. It’s amazing how the games managed to be so much more fun, with their kooky cheesy stories and bad acting. Hell, they had far more tension, scares and excitement to boot!

    This looks pretty terrible judging from the trailer alone, but does it have a so bad it’s funny mano a mano fight between Milla and a giant mutant zombie in its climax?

  • MaryAnn

    There is a giant fight, but it’s not so bad it’s funny — it’s just bad.

  • Julian C

    “Preferably before we have to suffer Resident Evil 4, the stage for which this dull flick is doing nothing but setting the stage for.”

    As much as I don’t care whether or not prepositions belong at the end of sentences, I don’t think it’s necessary to repeat it. Surely it’s not such a bad flick that it makes you write badly. :P

  • joe

    ok…. negative a bit

  • I kind of liked it…

    I’ll just just go sit in the corner now.

  • MaryAnn

    Surely it’s not such a bad flick that it makes you write badly. :P

    Yeah, it kinda is. But I fixed my error. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • me

    i loved it, it is the best movie ever ever. i am going to watch it again next weekend

  • “i loved it, it is the best movie ever ever. i am going to watch it again next weekend”

    The above totally reminded me of this gem:

    “I loved it. It was much better than Cats. I’m going to see it again and again.”

  • noor al ayn

    They should have kept Michelle Rodriguez in this series. She may play the tough and unreasonably antagonistic female role in a stereotypical way, but mostly in movies that are made up entirely of stereotypes. Her roles in Blue Crush, Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil, and SWAT- add them up and she should win an Oscar. She can have Rachel Weisz’s.

  • Hasimir Fenring

    …he thinks he has a way to domesticate the zombies, remove their hunger for flesh and transform them into a tractable slave force for, presumably, rebuilding civilization…

    Ah so, not content merely to rip off the basic premise of Romero’s Dead films, they’re actually nakedly stealing plotlines now. Oh wait, in Day of the Dead this was only a subplot, while here it’s the main plot, so they’re, like, expanding on the idea.

    Point withdrawn.

  • MBI

    Keep Michelle Rodriguez? That’s ridiculous. And that’s no slam against her acting abilities, it’s just, that’s redundant casting. The films already star Milla Jovovich. You don’t see Vin Diesel and The Rock in the same movie, you don’t see Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal occupying the same space. If you’ve got one, you don’t need the other.

    This was even worse in the second movie, where both Milla and Jill Valentine were on the same team, and they both played basically the same character.

  • noor al ayn

    I don’t think they fill the same role. Jovovich’s characters have a very inhuman quality to them (as in The Fifth Element) that sort of blends into the context of the movie while Rodriguez plays her characters usually as a pretty much static supporting character. Lots of movies have this set up and Rodriguez is not usually in a lead role.

    By the way, are the Resident Evil movies following the games in any way? If they were I think that RE4 would have to drop Jovovich unless she wanted to be the president’s daughter.

  • acmike

    The RE movies are not following the games. I played up to RE3, the Nemesis, which they crammed into the RE2 movie. However, the first movie DID follow the game somewhat, although Jill Redfield (played by that hot brunette I can’t remember) and Chris from the S.T.A.R.S “special police” were the playable characters. There was no super badass “Alice” in the games. The games were excellent, and I really liked playing RE1 in the dark on the old PS1, it was the first game that I could actually call “scary”.

    So while there were many cool references and similarities to the movie, RE1, and the game, RE1, alas, the two parted ways in RE2, although they both start out the same with Racoon City having been destroyed. But then the film makers said “fuck it” and went with something completely different.

    I never played RE4, as it was released on the Nintendo Gamecube only, but RE5 is about to be released on the next gen systems, and takes place in africa or haiti judging by the looks, and looks way better then the movies. Unfortunately that’s how video games to movies usually go.

    So there’s everything you wanted to know (or didn’t want to know about the RE games. Oh yeah, and the crows are from the first game. They were cool and creepy in the first game where you were in a dark and Dracula-like castle, but seem strange and unscary in a desert wasteland.

  • MBI

    I actually enjoyed this movie.

    Now, before everyone starts ganging up on me, let’s stop and ask if that really means that I have no critical faculties.

    The answer is yes. Yes it does. This movie is on any objective level stupid and unimpressive. But dammit, I Love Zombie Movies. I like seeing zombies shot in the head, I like the guy that doesn’t tell his friends he’s infected, I like the doomed guy who goes on a suicide run, and I’ll like it every time I see it. I Love Zombie Movies, even D-grade crap like this, where the action isn’t good, the acting is lame, and the plot is incomprehensible.

  • The first RE was played as a prequel to the games. The second could have been concurrent with RE2, save for the fact that game characters showed up. I guess now they’ve given up entirely.

    Oh, and acmike, I hope you know that RE4 was eventually released on the PS2

  • MaryAnn

    I like the guy that doesn’t tell his friends he’s infected

    But that happens in EVERY DAMN ONE of these movies. Can’t anyone come up with something fresh and new?

  • “But that happens in EVERY DAMN ONE of these movies. Can’t anyone come up with something fresh and new?”

    28 Days Later (and its sequel) are the only ones I can think of. They did away with that hackneyed plot device by giving the virus an eleven second incubation time.

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