Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Resident Evil: Extinction - review

2007 (France / Australia / Germany / UK / USA)

Contains spoilers.

Well, here we go again. In the opening scene Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes dazed, confused and once again dressed like the day she was born. Adorning her trademark red dress and black boots that are carefully laid out for, she finds herself in familiar territory faced with deadly obstacles from the past. Successfully past the crisscross laser room of doom with the reflexes of a cat, everything seems normal she's in control and ready to kick ass, then bang! She's dead. Enter two scientists and her body is tossed out onto a pile of identical doubles in the middle of a fenced up desert compound with instructions from head Umbrella scientist and all round general bad guy responsible for the previous instalments Nemesis program Dr. Sam Isaacs (Iain Glen) to take a blood sample so they can go again.

Yes we're back in writer and producer Paul W. S. Anderson's pop-corn, adrenalin fuelled mind full of zombies, apocalyptic-viruses, secret corporations, mutation and mayhem for a third instalment.

It's now five years since the t-virus outbreak and the Earth is dead, mankind are on the verge of extinction, what rag tag people that have managed to stay alive are surviving on the edge, moving from place to place seeking whatever scant resources they can. Even the Umbrella organisation, headed by Albert Wesker (taken directly from the video game franchise and played by Jason O'Mara) are struggling with dwindling food supplies and are pinning all their hopes on the good Dr. Isaacs to find a solution. However with the failure of his plan to domesticate the zombies; captured in a brilliant scene paying obvious homage to Bub from Day of the Dead, all his attention has returned to the aforementioned Project Alice.

Meanwhile the undead are everywhere; they've assumed total control of every built up area and despite five years show no sign of weakening and fading away. One such group of survivors on the verge of death from a t-virus Alfred Hitchcock-esque birds attack, and coincidently containing previous heroes Claire Redfield (Ali Larter),  Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and L.J. Wayne (Mike Epps) are saved by the now evolved tremendous psychic ability of Alice but in doing so she gives away her position to Umbrella.

Directed by Russell Mulcahy, Resident Evil: Extinction is once again highly stylised and full of spectacular and relentless action and combat sequences. Gone is the now claustrophobic feel of the first two films, the first in the tight confines of the Umbrella compound, the second in Raccoon City. Resident Evil: Extinction has our heroes traversing the vast expanses of the Mojave and Vegas now half returned to the sands of the desert. It oozes atmospheric and evokes the feeling of expanse found in films such as Mad Max.

Say what you will about Paul W. S. Anderson's approach to zombie cinema, especially when held up against more political, satirical, intelligent or funny endeavours, but it knows what it is trying to do and how to pack a punch. And while it may fail to compete with the highbrow and the lowbrow genre has to offer it excels in the pop-corn niche it has carved for itself. Anderson's zombies are relentless, quick and nasty, as is Alice's speed at dispatching them. Her constant spinning, shooting and leaping as she slashes monster after monster with unnerving control and poise is high octane stuff and if I'm honest brutally entertaining. With a big budget they also managed to capture some of the largest undead gatherings I've seen on film though I couldn't help but notice the uniformity of the zombies during several of the fight scenes as if there were only ten or so masked actors, all the same height and weight who needed do the job of fifty. Maybe I missed a point somewhere that they were zombie clones but I doubt it... But I'm nit picking.

Okay it has its daft zombie-mutant-super-monster hybrid boss fight again and the whole psychic stuff turning Alice into a bit of a Jedi is a bit daft but it's true to the video games and keeps the adrenalin pumping. I'm well aware it's not for everyone but I'm always happy for a bit of leave the brain behind entertainment now and again. Compared to the first two; it's definitely safe to say it's more of the same but that's not a bad thing in my book. Within it's own series though it has still managed to forge it's own distinct identity and voice and felt fresh. Films like this make me happy, 8/10.


1 comment:

  1. I think this one is the best of the five (so far). It has a lot more character and heart than the others, and I dig the post-apocalyptic landscape.


    Great review.