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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 94: Resident Evil: Extinction

Resident Evil: Extinction
You had me at "Extinction"

I really enjoyed the first two Resident Evil movies. It's not like they were pieces of cinematic genius or had Oscar-worthy performances. They were fun zombie movies with lots of violence and a decent story. Above all else, they were entertaining and that's all I really want. A movie can be deep and existential while looking beautiful, but if it's a boring story that doesn't make sense, I'll hate it with a fiery passion (See: The Tree of Life. No, wait. DON'T SEE THE TREE OF LIFE! ALWAYS STAY ON THE BOAT! NEVER GET OFF THE BOAT!) The original Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Apocalypse stayed fairly true to it's video game and horror roots. Would Resident Evil: Extinction follow in their rotting footsteps?

Resident Evil: Extinction starts off with a serious case of deja vu as we see Alice (Milla Jovovich, The Fifth Element, Zoolander) going through the mansion from the first Resident Evil movie. She goes through various obstacles that we saw in the previous movie, but is killed by a machine gun. Her body is taken outside by scientists and dumped into a trench filled with dead Alice bodies. Dr. Sam Issacs (Iain Glenn, Gorillas In The Mist, Kingdom of Heaven) has been creating clones of Alice for the Umbrella Corporation in order to create a cure for the T-virus that has turned world into a wasteland of zombies. Unfortunately, the clones are inferior and Issacs tries to convince the Umbrella board that Alice's capture is essential. Meanwhile, Alice is traveling across the American Southwest, dealing with her new psychic powers. Her allies from the previous movie, Carlos (Oded Fehr, The Mummy, Deuce Bigelow) and LJ (Mike Epps, Next Friday, All About The Benjamins) have joined a convoy of survivors being led by Claire Redfield (Ali Larter, Final Destination, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back). The convoy is traveling across Death Valley and running low on gas and supplies. They are attacked by zombie crows and Alice appears, stopping them with her powers. Alice informs the surviving members of the convoy about a town in Alaska called Arcadia that is supposedly free of infection. The group decides to head to Alaska, but must stop in Las Vegas for fuel. It's a bad decision because Dr. Issacs has found them and sends his new, aggressive breed to Las Vegas to stop the convoy and get Alice. Many in the convoy, including LJ, are killed. Alice takes the fight directly to Issacs at his base while the surviving convoy heads to Arcadia. Will she be able to defeat the mad doctor or does he have something up his sleeve?

Zoolander 2 looks intense

The first two Resident Evil movies stuck with the basic zombie movie premise. The third movie, though, delves off into more of a science fiction/post-apocalypse genre. It pretty much comes off like Mad Max: The Zombie Warrior. When movies are set in the desert, it's usually done as a cost-saving measure. I guess all the CGI and stunts cost a pretty penny. The story itself is pretty basic in the zombie genre. You can pretty much guess what is going to happen. The movie keeps the audience interested in fun violence and some good performances. The action is solid, though it feels like director Paul W.S. Anderson is screaming “CHECK OUT HOW AWESOME THIS IS!” with extreme slow motion shots. Milla Jovovich is as great as ever. She is a great action hero, plain and simple. Fehr and Epps do well repriseing their roles and bringing a bit more of a human side to the movie.

All that being said, Resident Evil: Extinction did have it's share of problems. The previous movies took the time to explain who characters are and what is happening. Extinction assumes you've seen both movies AND the video games. We have no idea who Claire is or why she's in charge. I never really played the video games, so I was lost. Apparently, she has big roles in multiple games, but how am I supposed to know who she is? I was also dissapointed that Sienna Guillory did not reprise her role as Jill Valentine due to a commitment for the movie Eragon. Her absence was never mentioned, though. Why couldn't they just throw in a line saying she went her own way? I kept waiting for a mention that never happened. The relationship between Alice and the young girl K-Mart feels very forced and isn't given the proper amount of time to grow. Many scenes in the movie feel like it's a level in a video game. I can practically see a health bar in the top corner of the screen.

Ozzfest 2002

Resident Evil: Extinction is a zombie movie that shoots off into different genres of science fiction and post-apocalyptic action. The action is fun with plenty of cool, if not overly in-you-face scenes, and Milla Jovovich puts on a good performance once again. If you haven't seen the previous movies and played the video games, you will be very lost. You won't know who certain characters are and why things are happening. A few extra lines of explanation could have cleared a lot of things up. As far as zombie movies go, this one had some good moments, but never came close to the first two movies.


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