Resident Evil: Extinction

Of all the movies that entered theaters based on video games, the Resident Evil franchise is by far the best. However, given that most of the other movies have been horrendous, this is not saying much. The appeal of this particular series has primarily been watching Milla Jovovich (Ultraviolet, Resident Evil: Apocalypse) running around in a short skirt (or towel) and killing zombies. Not much else. Jovovich has catapulted herself into something of an action hero with this, but that's about all that has come out of these movies. Each film has had less to offer than the previous one, and Resident Evil: Extinction is an empty, vacuous ride back into the world of Alice (Jovovich) and the nefarious Umbrella Corporation.

The primary creative force behind the Resident Evil series if Paul W.S. Anderson. He directed the first movie, and wrote all three of them. He's obviously had to make some choices about where the overall story is going, yet was pretty lazy in trying to explain certain plot points. Extinction takes place months after Apocalypse, yet circumstances are very different, and Anderson explains this with one quick sentence. Many characters return from the last film, but the others are never mentioned. The director here is Russell Mulcahy (Swimming Upstream, Resurrection), who has primarily worked with music videos, and it shows. Things move quickly, and there is rapid editing for maximum effect, otherwise.

Each film takes on a grander scope. Resident Evil took place in a laboratory. Resident Evil: Apocalypse took place in Raccoon City. With Resident Evil: Extinction, the virus responsible for turning people into zombies has spread across the world, with the movie primarily set within the American Southwest. Alice is now traveling by herself, trying to rescue small pockets of humans. Others, including some of her cohorts, are riding in a convoy led by Claire (Ali Larter, A Lot Like Love, Final Destination 2). However, deep beneath Raccoon City, the Umbrella Corporation, and Alice's creator Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen, The Last Legion, Kingdom of Heaven) schemes to recapture here to unlock the secret of her DNA. See, Alice now has superpowers. Why? It's never clear. And why, when the Umbrella Corporation has an antivirus, do they focus on other things? That's never clear either.

Logic is not the strong point of this movie, which feels like it's borrowing from The Hills Have Eyes. Mulcahy and Anderson are not concerned this. Instead, they pile on scene after scene of zombie destruction. Action is great, but too much action may have the opposite affect - it makes the film boring. The ending, after a ridiculous turn in the plot, sets up a fourth movie. Will it happen? If this one makes enough money, sure. But whether it will be worth watching is another matter.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 35 minutes, Rated R for strong horror violence throughout and some nudity.

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