Gorily Entertaining Third Resident Evil Shows the Game is Far from Over
The world is an apocalyptic wasteland. After failing to keep the T-virus outbreak isolated to Raccoon City, The Umbrella Corporation, now under the direction of Dr. Isaacs (Ian Glen), is looking for a way to make the massive zombie population subserviently docile. He believes he needs to DNA of former security operative and test subject Alice (Milla Jovovich), the scientist’s ample supply of clones not providing the desired results.
Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) is a survivor trolling the desert roads trying to protect all who have joined her convoy. She’s aided by Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps), two survivors of the events in Raccoon City. Along with fellow leaders Nurse Betty (Ashanti), Chase (Linden Ashby) and 14-year-old K-Mart (Spencer Locke), this ragtag group is making the best of an impossible situation, but if they don’t find help soon, all of them will perish in a desolate nowhere with no one to remember any of their names.
After how bad Resident Evil: Apocalypse was I can’t say I had high hopes for this third chapter in the video game saga. The terrific trailer for Resident Evil: Extinction notwithstanding, this B-movie universe of female gun-toting superheroes and the zombie hordes trying to eat them for dinner was starting to lose my interest.
Imagine my surprise to discover that this new entry is actually a great deal of silly fun. Sure it’s all Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior rip-off gleefully melded with George A. Romero’s walking dead, Hitchcockian feathered terror and Hong Kong action theatrics, but that doesn’t make Resident Evil: Extinction any less entertaining. For roughly 90 minutes I had a massively juvenile good time, this sequel providing enough thrills, chills and gory spills to keep my interest and stop me from recognizing how idiotically routine all of this was.
There is plenty to be annoyed with. From the fact the movie revels in the odious ultimate horror cliché of relegating its Black characters to either noble sacrifice or ignoble ridicule, to the introduction of a psychokinetic plot twist that’s goofily obnoxious, to the blatant lifting of ideas straight out of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later…, plenty in Paul W.S. Anderson’s script reeks of juvenile mediocrity. The final seconds are particularly terrible, the irksome cliffhanger coming perilously close to sabotaging all of the goodwill generated by the majority of the opening 90%.
Thankfully that’s not the case. This sequel moves like lightning, has a slew of characters who are easy to like and features a smorgasbord of impressive action choreography and stunt work that’s frequently delightful. Director Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, The Shadow) manages a visually kinetic feast I eagerly devoured. This thriller is an old-fashioned, soda-slurping, popcorn-munching, R-rated good time and, the last time I checked, the laws against that sort of thing happily registered between zero and none.
Resident Evil: Extinction is satisfactorily amusing, and for the life of me I can’t remember the last time I grabbed the arm of the friend sitting next to me in shrieking schoolgirl delight like I did a couple of times here. That’s a win in my book, and if this series does continue to a fourth chapter, I’m honestly somewhat excited to see what series overseer Anderson and his creative team have in store for all of us next.
Film Rating: 2½ (out of 4)