John’s Horror Corner: Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Milla Jovovich evolves with the T-virus in this entertaining Zombiegeddon franchise.
MY CALL: Better written than part 2 and just as fun as both its predecessors, Extinction offers a fun thrill-ride of mutant zombie action for Millaphiles as the franchise story continues to evolve with the T-virus. MORE MOVIES LIKE Resident Evil: Resident Evil (2002), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Doom (2005), the Silent Hill movies (2006, 2012) and the Underworld franchise (2003-2017) come to mind. For a fine ratings vs earnings comparison of the Resident Evil and Underworld franchises check this feisty article out.
So, as we enter the third installment in Alice’s (Milla Jovovich; The Fifth Element, Resident Evil 1-2, Ultraviolet) virus-geddon apocalypse saga, she strangely wakes up EXACTLY as she did in part 1, in the same shower, puts on the same dress, encounters the same death-laser hallway and some other high-tech boobie-traps…but wait…then…she dies!?!?!?! And then Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen; Game of Thrones, Darkness, Resident Evil: Apocalypse), in a routine tone, gives an order to dispose of the body…?
Director Russell Mulcahy (Razorback, Highlander 1-2) swings for the fences, accelerating our zombie apocalypse into the desolate wasteland phase. Alice narrates a brief flashback introduction to catch us up with the story, which picks up a bit after where it left off in 2004—with Alice wandering the apocoscape of the now Walking Dead-ified world in which people will do anything to survive. Moreover, the zombie-action feels more like a zombie movie at the times when it should (i.e., the zombie aspect doesn’t suck like it did in than parts 1-2)—even the zombie “setting” felt more zombie-appropriate. This is the first of the series to get zombies right and the swarming murder of zombie crows was a nice touch that yielded high impact.
The Resident Evil films—regardless of their lack of critical claim—consistently deliver creative shots. Here, the grand sweeping scale of the futuristic sandy Hellscape speckled with plague-swarms of undead birds crisply contrasting the sky compounds this measure powerfully. Watch this in HD or 4K if you can. As our survivors combat winged pestilence with flame-throwers the beautiful crispness smacks of a less refined Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), even if only for a minute. It is a spectacle, that fire against the sky. Comparable scenes include brilliant lighting in the laser-trap hallway (2002) and the closing scenes during Alice’s escape (2004).
New to the Zompocalypse crew, Claire (Ali Larter; House on Haunted Hill, Final Destination 1-2, Heroes) joins Carlos (Oded Fehr; The Mummy, Resident Evil: Apocalypse) and others from part 2 as a team of nomadic Zombiegeddon survivalists. And in this third installment, the Zombiegeddon world-building is in full force. We get a solid feel for the scavenging, odd skill sets, and limiting resources very quickly.
I feel like the stunts in this sequel eclipse those of parts 1-2 (in which they felt totally phoned in). I also remain grateful for the zombie dogs which are consistently done with practical effects in parts 1-3. The zombie dog gore was simple, but worked very well. And the superhuman jumps were less Crouching Tiger (as in slower) and more Blade II (i.e., more dynamic).
Alice has become something different than before. We have watched he evolve from highly trained (2002) to a virus-fueled superhuman (2004), and now develop telekinetic psychic powers worthy of the X-Men. But despite this, from her demeanor to her fight choreography, I find Alice a more credible heroine now than ever. Perhaps helping her credibility is that in this third installment she may be naked, but she affords eager viewers no nudity this time around. Although she does continue to wear thin shirts and no bra. You know, just keepin’ it classy. LOL.
Our final boss bad guy in this installment is easily the most satisfying of these first three movies. The CGI still clearly appears dated, but this creature looks far more interesting and twisted and the final fight doesn’t suck for a change. When our favorite mad scientist becomes infected and mutates, he becomes a fungus-like tentacle monster. It’s fun. In fact, the whole movie is. I’m quite surprised this one gets so much flack. I loved it. I’ve loved rewatching the series so far and I think their entertainment value holds up quite well.
Just as each movie began where the last ended and clearly indicated that a sequel was on the way, so does Alice here announce her intentions to murderously climb up the corporate ladder for the higher-up Umbrella execs who seek her blood which is apparently the key; the next evolution of the T-virus. Stay tuned to see how part 4 (Afterlife) holds up…