Horror / Sci-Fi / Action

Resident Evil: Extinction

Distributed By: Sony Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When the trailers for the third installment of Resident Evil hit the theaters, I became excited.  This sequel, Resident Evil: Extinction, looked like it was going to be one helluva enjoyable flick.  However, when the movie was actually released, I was undecided.  Should I go to the theaters and see it on the big screen, thus depleting my wallet of hard-earned cash, or should I wait until it hit the DVD stores, thus saving some dough?  I was definitely on the fence about this one.  I had waited to see the original Resident Evil on DVD and immediately regretted not having seen it at the theaters.  When Resident Evil: Apocalypse was released, I ran to the theaters, only to realize that I should have saved my money and waited for it to be released on DVD.  The second movie was decent, but not exactly all that noteworthy.  I hemmed and hawed and finally decided to go see Resident Evil: Extinction at the local theater, praying that I hadn’t just decided to waste my money. 

            Resident Evil: Extinction takes place five years after the T-virus was accidentally released.  The Earth was ravaged as the virus spread, affecting humans, animals, any and all living creatures, turning the earth into a barren desert wasteland.  The survivors, of which there are few and far between, manage to stay alive by moving.  One such caravan of survivors is a ragtag group led by Claire Redfield (yet another character from the video game) and Carlos Olivera (a former Umbrella soldier who was seen last in Resident Evil: Apocalypse) doing their best to keep moving and surviving.  For them, staying in one place for too long means certain death as the T-virus zombies zero in on their location.        

            Meanwhile, we find Alice, our heroine from the first two movies, roaming the desert wastelands alone.  Alice had broken off from Olivera and the other Raccoon City survivors years ago, thinking she would do them more harm than good with the Umbrella Corps. tracking her every move.  Managing to stay out of the reach of Umbrella Corps’ satellites, Alice has stayed alive using her wits, weapons and powers, monitoring the airwaves for word of survivors.  She runs across the path of the caravan, reuniting with Carlos and bringing news of a possible haven where the T-virus has not yet reached.

            But the Umbrella Corps., under the dominant and conniving Dr. Isaacs, has further plans for Project: Alice.  It would seem that Alice’s blood is the key to stopping the virus.  Attempts at using the blood to convert T-virus victims into docile beasts have progressed via the use of blood from clones of Alice.  However, Dr. Isaacs insists that his research would go much further if he had the original Alice to experiment with.  Having discovered a great deal of psionic activity in the Nevada desert, Dr. Isaacs deduces that Alice is using her heightened powers in that region.  He is more determined than ever to recover Project Alice and goes against company orders to do so.

            Will Isaacs succeed in capturing Alice once more?  Will the Raccoon City survivors find the fabled sanctuary they’ve been searching for?  What further secrets will be uncovered regarding Umbrella Corps. and the T-virus?

            Resident Evil: Extinction marks the return of Milla Jovovich as Alice.  Jovovich has definitely made her mark as an action film star, having made great strides in her performances since the days as Leelo in The Fifth Element.  The character of Alice is one of many strong female characters we see in action films today and yet, in my opinion, Alice is one helluva kickass character!  The Resident Evil series has made its mark in the strong female category.  Both the video games and the films employee strong female characters as their protagonists.  Added to this mix in Extinction is Ali Larter of Heroes fame as Claire Redfield, a well-known character from the games.  Larter’s expertise seems to be tough on the outside, tormented on the inside characters and this movie is no exception.  Her performance is on the mark. 

            Oded Fehr and Michael Epps reprise their roles as Carlos Olivera and L.J. helping Claire Redfield lead her caravan of survivors to safety.  Within the caravan are some notables such as Ashanti as the team’s paramedic Nurse Betty, Christopher Egan as the team’s technological genius Mikey, Linden Ashby as fuel truck driver Chase, and Spencer Locke as K-Mart, a teenager who adopted the name of the store from which she was rescued by Redfield’s group.  Each of the actors lent flavor to the movie.  Viewers became vested in the fates of these characters, much as they did in the fates of the soldiers who came across Alice in the very first movie of the series.  As seems to be the tradition in these films, main characters are not safe and many a groan was emitted as characters the audience had come to enjoy met their demise in rather gory ways. 

            Iain Glen reprises his role as the evil Dr. Isaacs, the “mad scientist” of the Umbrella Corps.  Glen is deliciously wicked as the man we love to hate.  Without revealing too much of the film, I can honestly say that this man gets exactly what he deserves in this sequel.

            I am delighted to say that I did not waste my money seeing this film on the big screen.  Resident Evil: Extinction is loads better than the second film of the series and quite possible contains more action than that of the first film.  There is action from start to finish in this movie, leaving you on the edge of your seat for the entire experience.  The folks in the effects department have great fun with their audience, lulling us into a false sense of security and then zapping us with a loud noise or a particularly nasty zombie.  Fans of fight movies are going to absolutely love Alice in this film as she reprises some of her earlier moves and mixes in a few new ones we haven’t seen from her before.  Shooting is aplenty in this film and our fighters use everything from crossbows to handguns, rifles to flamethrowers in their effort to sweep the path of T-virus zombies.

            Resident Evil: Extinction adds a new level of fear with a new twist on what the virus can mutate into.  Not only do we see the virus’ affects on things other than dogs and humans, but we see what happens when you try to manipulate its inherent qualities.  For the thinking man, this movie is unbelievably scary when we ponder all of the classified research conducted by our government and the possibility of an experiment gone wrong with disastrous consequences.  Of course, the concept is nothing new when you consider movies such as The Stand, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead and more.  And yet, somehow, Resident Evil seems to stand out for me as the most believable theory of such an occurrence.

            Fans of the Resident Evil video games may or may not be irked by deviations from the video game storyline.  For one thing, the premise of this movie is supposed to take place much later in the video game series.  Characters appear in differing sequences than the game.  Mysteriously missing is Jill Valentine the elite S.T.A.R.S. agent who survived the destruction of Raccoon City in Resident Evil: Apocalypse.  However, being the strong-minded individual that Valentine is, I’m fairly certain that this can be explained away in possible future films as Valentine taking another group of survivors and moving in a different direction from that of Carlos’ group.  She may turn up in future movies yet.  However, I don’t think any fan of the video game will argue when I say that, despite the deviations, Resident Evil: Extinction holds its own rather nicely.  Besides, there are some cool details in the movie that no Resident Evil game fan can miss, such as the transmitter, the journals, the “smokes”.  Watch for them – they sneak some of them in quite nicely.

            So, there you have it – money well spent!  I can’t wait to see it again!  If I can’t persuade someone else to see it with me in the theaters, I suppose I will wait until Resident Evil: Extinction turns up in DVD format.  Believe me, that DVD will earn some wear and tear as I watch it again and again.  But it will be nothing like the experience of seeing this incredible action-filled zombie-fest on the big screen! 


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