Review: ‘Resident Evil: Extinction’

Alice is back. She remembers everything, mostly because we’ve seen it all before.

The Umbrella Corporation has stepped in it this time. The destruction of Raccoon City not only failed to destroy the T-Virus but allowed it to go global, destroying not only animal but plant life as well; Earth is becoming a planet-wide desert. Housed in underground hives throughout the world, their satellites look for their one hope: the original Alice (Milla Jovovich). It’s too bad for them she doesn’t want to be found, but it will be too bad for her if she decides to risk detection to help a caravan of doomed refugees to a place of safety.

The cast also includes Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, and Ashanti, not that you’d know it from the credits. This is just one of the many things that goes very wrong in Resident Evil: Extinction. From the original film, this story has always been about Alice, who she is and WHAT she is. The film (without giving anything away) opens with Alice and closes, interrupted by an almost pointless rescue of a Road Warrior style caravan with a stop off in Las Vegas. Extinction combines two interesting beginnings and goes nowhere with either one, finally ending when they run out of money shots borrowed from all-time classic horror films.

This begs the question: is there more to this film that wound up on the cutting room floor (or is being held back for an unrated edition)? One of the interesting things about Resident Evil has always been its formula: introduce a bad guy “boss,” fight your way through minions to get there, then introduce a bigger bad guy just before the “boss” goes down, add prologue about bigger bad guy, the end. This film is no exception, it’s just that the minions are getting worse because our hero has gotten too good. In fact, the only point to having the refugees seems to have been to provide a body count of victims since the Alice has become almost untouchable.

In spite of everything, Extinction is fun to watch, even if we have seen it all before. Land of the Dead world, check. Scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, check. Even Stephen King’s Firestarter gets a lick in. None of these issues are particularly bad things if it weren’t for the fact that they all feel like padding for a terribly short running time. Milla Jovovich is in top form as a one-woman show, but it seems like everything else is written or performed to be a distraction from; some of the best and most interesting scene in the finished film are just Alice doing what Alice does best, as if the “zombie” factor has simply been played out. Since it looks like another film may be in the pipeline, here’s hoping the next one is more than just filler for the one after that.

(a one and a half skull recommendation out of our)

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