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  • 15
  • Action, Horror
  • 2007
  • 94 mins

Resident Evil: Extinction

Resident Evil: Extinction

Synopsis

This third instalment in the video game franchise takes action horror into a post-apocalyptic terrain. Milla Jovovich returns to her role as the heroine genetically-modified to kick zombie butt

About

Rarely are returns more likely to be diminishing than for a second sequel to a film based on a video game franchise which was in turn based on the tropes of countless horror movies. Yet just as Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) improved upon the first Resident Evil movie (2002), Resident Evil: Extinction outdoes them both.

This time, the stakes are higher, the fights are faster and the vision is altogether more expansive. In its concern for environmental degradation, dwindling fuel stocks, intrusive surveillance systems, sinister multinational conspiracy and genetic experiments, Resident Evil: Extinction is a more political film than its predecessors. Perhaps the average game-playing adolescent male in the target audience is none too likely to care about such contemporary resonances, but he won't be complaining, as thanks to a cloning-focused sub-plot, he has a whole laboratory full of fleshy Alices (Jovovich).

Three years after the events of the last film, the T-virus has spread throughout the world, transforming the living into zombies and cities into wastelands. Claire (Larter) and her rag-tag group struggle to survive in the Nevada desert against undead humans and a deadly murder of infected crows. With gasoline, food, ammunition and (worst of all) cigarettes running low, there seems to be little hope for them left - until they are joined by the reclusive Alice, with her rapidly accelerating powers and rumours of a safe community in Alaska.

Alice's reemergence from years of hiding attracts the attention of her old nemesis Dr Isaacs (Glen), living and working deep below the ground in a high-tech Umbrella Corporation facility. Isaacs regards Alice as an ongoing science project and will do anything to get a sample of her blood - so as Claire's group gambles on a now buried Las Vegas as their last chance to refuel, Isaacs unleashes on them his latest illicitly engineered creations. Hell bent on vengeance, Alice will face Isaacs for a climactic showdown in his secret laboratory, but there he has one final mutation hidden up his sleeve.

If Resident Evil: Extinction strays some way from the games that have loosely inspired it, the film still remains rooted in familiar cinematic territory. The convoys racing through post-apocalyptic desertscapes are borrowed directly from Mad Max 2 (1981), the aggressive avian flocks are straight out of Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), Alice's encounter with her own experimental clones riffs on Alien: Resurrection (1997), while Isaac's attempts to domesticate zombies in an underground military compound are pure Day Of The Dead (1985).

All these different elements are recombined and mutated to produce a monstrous hybrid that ultimately, for good or ill, bears only a distant resemblance to its multiple sources. All the ingredients of Resident Evil: Extinction have been seen before, but nothing is quite like the film itself, occupying a no-man's-land between loving homage and gleeful pastiche.

If you are looking for a film with probing subtlety, honed characterisation and intellectual challenges aplenty, then Resident Evil: Extinction is to be avoided. On the other hand, if you want pacy thrills and spills, colourful action sequences (where ancient Nepalese blades are as likely to be deployed as shotguns), deformed murderous creatures, acting just straight enough to make already preposterous material even more absurd, and a good fright every five minutes, then this is the film for you. It is like watching the very finest B-grade schlock, only shot on an A-grade budget. If you are willing to leave your brains and good taste at the door, you may well find Resident Evil: Extinction to be a guilty pleasure of the purest genetic strain.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Matthew Marsden, Ali Larter, Jason O'Mara, Spencer Locke, Ashanti , Milla Jovovich, Christopher Egan, Mike Epps, Oded Fehr, Iain Glen
  • Director: Russell Mulcahy
  • Screen Writer: Paul WS Anderson
  • Producer: Samuel Hadida, Jeremy Bolt, Paul WS Anderson, Robert Kulzer
  • Photographer: David Johnson
  • Composer: Charlie Clouser

In a nutshell

Braindead it may be, but its pacy sensationalist thrills are also highly infectious.

by Anton Bitel

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