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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