‘Resident Evil: Extinction’: Just die, already

Thu, 09/27/2007 - 4:01pm
By: Michael Boylan

“Resident Evil” was first a video game and then it made the transition from video game to movie. The first movie was a bit of a surprise. It was fun and a little scary and it came out of nowhere. It was much better than anyone was expecting.

Part II - “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” was the miserable disaster that some thought the first film was going to be. It was creaky and boring and ugly and stupid. I hated the movie.

So, why go to see Part III? Well, I have a very busy schedule and this was the film that would work best. I wish I could’ve seen “Eastern Promises” or “3:10 to Yuma” but it just isn’t working out that way. Plus, I had seen the first two installments, so I wasn’t going to be completely lost going into this installment, right?

Not so fast. There were actually several characters returning in the film and I didn’t realize it until much later. I thought they looked familiar but it wasn’t like their work in the earlier films blew me away.

The movies are about a young woman named Alice. In the first film she was infected with a virus but instead of turning into a zombie, she becomes a zombie killer. Or something like that. Her powers have increased a lot since that first film and now she can control stuff with her mind. These scientists are working with clones of Alice trying to find a cure for all the rampant zombieism, but they are also evil (I guess) and they need the real Alice to be dead for their cure to really work.

Here are the things that “Resident Evil: Extinction” has going for it - A lot of the action takes place in the desert in broad daylight. Forget the action being hidden in the shadows, the kicks, punches, gunshots, knives, and spatters of blood fly in clear view. There is also a scene where a caravan gets attacked by hundreds of crows who have become infected by the virus. It looked cool and was pretty exciting.

Here’s what doesn’t work - everything else. Milla Jovovich looks good but isn’t a great actress. You don’t have to be in a movie like this, but something a little more life-like would be nice. Ali Larter (Nikki/Jessica on “Heroes”) is also in this movie. Can anyone honestly say that she isn’t the most annoying character on that show? Well, she’s kind of annoying here too. Maybe it’s just carry-over from hating her on TV, but I just wanted to tell her to shut up at times during the movie.

What else? The scares are all of the “Boo, something behind you just jumped out at you” or “Bang, wow that was a shockingly loud noise” variety and all of the other characters are just there for a body count.

I know zombie movies are getting kind of played out, but is it too much to ask for the people making these movies to invest a little in the story and the creation of their “world.” You have a small group of people surviving in a caravan and trying to salvage things for their trip in small towns that have been destroyed by zombies. We get one moment in this movie that attempts to give a glimpse into the everyday life for these characters but for the most part they are just bland background.

If it were any more sparse, you could do “Resident Evil: Extinction,” the stage play.

This was the number one movie in America last weekend and that is just sad. I know there is an audience for it (most of the time I am willingly a part of it), but I just wish that these films were made with a little more care and creativity. This feels like a product and a very rushed and thrown together product at that.

* 1/2

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