Jaq's Review: Resident Evil: Extinction
by Jaq Greenspon
September 23, 2007
You know, I've tried to start this review half a dozen ways. I wanted to talk about the disjointed themes or the unfulfilled promise of revenge. I wanted to look critically at the lovely set design and the interesting acting decisions made by the principles. In the end though, all I can really say is that Resident Evil: Extinction is the cinematic equivalent of blue balls… and that's never good.
The film itself is billed as the third, and final might I add, installment of a very popular series based on a video game. Like those before it, Extinction stars Milla Jovavich and Oded Fehr (as well as a number of other repeat performers) and is centered around the Umbrella Corporation's attempt to rule the world. Okay, maybe that wasn't their original intent, but it is certainly where things stand at the moment. With zombies running loose everywhere, thanks to the T-Virus created and distributed by Umbrella, the black-suited executives of the world's only corporation are locked up tight in underground bunkers awaiting the problem to either vanish or for the zombies to get tired and eat each other.
But really, what does this have to do with you going to see this movie? Not much, honestly. You are not there for a socio-political allegory about international political corporations, are you? Nope. You are there to watch some unbelievably hot people beat the crap out of the undead. And for the first 75 minutes or so, you get your wish. Alice (Jovavich) is out there in the desert, taking out zombies (and half-crazy hillbillies) with everything from guns and knives to arrows and her bare hands. She is a bad-ass killing machine with just enough humanity left (she is a genetically engineered construct, after all - see RE 1 and 2) to look for other human survivors. When she finds her old friend Carlos (Fehr), he's hooked up with a convoy and they all decide to go to Alaska, where there is rumor of a promised land free from zombie infection.
This is all well and good. And the film would be fine if this is all we were dealing with, but no, the writer (original Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson) decides that maybe you really do want to go watch Alice kick ass amidst a socio-political allegory and brings back Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) to continue his work on creating an antidote for the T-Virus. Isaacs knows the answer lies within Alice's genetic material (he's been working with clones of her for a while). When Alice discovers this (in one of the film's truly nightmarish scenes) she decides to go after the man himself. And this is where everything goes pear-shaped. Instead of just taking the bad guy out like a big boss at the end of a video game level and saving the world in the process, she decides eliminating the corporation is more important than curing the rest of the world.
So we end the film 95 minutes older than when we started, and we've gone nowhere in the story of this world, except that more people are dead now. Alice is still out there and still gunning for blood, Umbrella is still buried underground with little hope of seeing the surface and the zombies aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Like I said, it's all build up and no climax. This is one trilogy which doesn't come complete with a "happy ending."