This is the way the world ends. Not with
a bang, but with an open-ended trilogy and a murder of zombie
crows. That, you see, would be the one thing that Resident
Evil: Extinction can add to the series, for those long-time
harbingers of death have been feeding on infected flesh
so long that they themselves have gone horribly, horribly
If you're new to Paul W.S. Anderson's daring-ish
vision of a popular frightening videogame series, no need
to worry. Though Anderson turned the directing reins over
to Russell Mulcahy, things look pretty much the same and
make no more sense than they absolutely have to if pinned
against a wall by a skinless dog.
Then again, the videogame series must work
pretty much the same way, and one of the hallmarks of Resident
Evil is how much it feels like a videogame without being
quite as insulting as an Uwe Boll film.
film opens on Alice (Milla Jovovich) awakening naked in
a shower, just as before.
Making her way through a truncated series of obstacles seen
in the first film, she gets killed in a reasonably clever
fashion then dumped in a ditch full of herselves. If you
know the mythos, you must understand that Alice has been
cloned in the Umbrella Corporation's lackadaisically desperate
efforts to find a cure for the T-Virus that has turned most
of the Earth's surface into a zombie paradise.
But in the logic of an Anderson script,
why the methods employed here are necessary never gets explained.
If Alice's blood holds the key, why clone at least 80 versions
of her and kill her over and over just so they can get a
pint of warm blood? I'm pretty sure the Red Cross could
achieve the same effect without the criss-cross lasers,
random guillotines or Frisbee machine guns. Then a few days
later, the same person still lives to give another warm
Meanwhile, the real Alice rides across
the desert on a motorcycle, Mad Maxine scouring for survivors.
After a few set pieces that have no motivation but to cause
us tension, it becomes apparent that Alice has a psychic
connection with her clones. She has also learned to channel
Yoda and/or Susan Storm at opportune moments, becoming psionically
powerful in case of an attack. Of course, this costs her
endurance, and in this post-apocalyptic world, random health
blobs have become fewer and far between.
coincidence, another group of survivors includes her companion
from the second
film, Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr). He's hooked up with
Claire Redfield's (Ali Larter) convoy, fewer than thirty
of the last Americans left alive.
you get your murderous crows, and a strange sibilance every
time a character mentions "infected fleshshshshshshshshhsh…"
(This stands in for other acting tricks like, oh, acting.)
Mulcahy allows for some really great fight scenes between
survivors and zombies, though ultimately, it doesn't add
up to much, nor particularly advance the plot. In fact,
the two major plot goals both end up unresolved, proving
that Anderson doesn't know how many films make up a trilogy.
It's goofy, but this never aspired to Romero-levels
of cleverness. It's all reasonably pretty people being imperiled
by disgusting zombie creatures, over and over, until none
are left. Except it doesn't even go there, and it stacks
the deck on Alice's prettiness levels, too.
Aside from fighting zombies in some smashing
garters, Alice also has been digitally smoothed. Whenever
the camera takes a close up, she has no pores. Whether this
is meant as a subtle visual cue to her basic inhumanity
(she is, after all, merely an Umbrella product), or just
a comment on Jovovich's time as a make-up spokesperson seems
unclear. Either way, she has fake flawless skin, all the
more delicious for a zombie to crave.
Actually, it's a good image for the movie
and Mulcahy's directing. On the surface, everything looks
like it should be great. It's just sort of strangely smooth
for a story that should be rough. But here, nothing really
goes more than skin deep, except the tentacles on the level