I have to confess that until now, I’ve had the pleasure of avoiding this whole Resident Evil business; I haven’t seen either of the previous two films (Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Apocalypse) or played much of the Capcom games which, I gather, are only tangentially related to the premise at this point. So, my assessment of Resident Evil: Extinction might be hampered by a lack of familiarity. There’s only so much I’m willing to go through for research.
But I’m guessing, given what little I know, the Resident Evil franchise sucks pretty hard because 1.) It’s based, however loosely, on a video game, 2.) The reviled Paul W.S. Anderson (of AVP: Alien vs. Predator infamy) directed the first effort and produced/wrote both sequels, 3.) Milla Jovovich, the female equivalent of Dolph Lundgren, is the recurring player.
So after watching, my first impression is to say Resident Evil: Extinction sucked ass, even though, as far as “game-based-movies” go, I thought that the approach that they took was refreshing. It seemed that they placed a higher priority on the story, feel, and character development than most directors of the genre normally do (which isn’t saying much). I had expectations of walking in and seeing an hour and a half of barely-there-underwear wearing super chicks tearing through hordes of zombies while rattling off 1000+ rounds of ammunition (clearly no thoughts of Oscar nominations were prancing around in my head).
Well, whatever the hell was going on in Resident Evils one and two, this third installment veers the franchise heavily into Mad Max territory; superhuman clone/warrior/whatever Alice (Jovovich, who admittedly looks quite fetching in her soldierly hot-pants and chaps) is wandering around the post-apocalyptic America rendered by the first two films — some evil corporation unleashes a virus that turns everyone into zombies, right? If some extant plot explains what Alice is doing, I’m not aware of it — she’s presented merely roving around the Southwest, which has become more desert-like since the zombie scourge, occasionally doing battle with some inbred bandits and a few skinless Dobermans.
The biggest letdown was, that for an action movie, Resident Evil: Extinction contains only 3 major fight scenes. The first consists of the convoy being attacked by thousands of infected crows. Alice comes to the rescue with her psychic powers and torches the hungry, homicidal birds. The second scene happens in Vegas where the remaining people of the convoy and Alice are attacked by an endless stream of extra-strong zombies from a commercial container. More blood is spilled and Alice kicks zombie-butt. The last and final action scene is the most disappointing of the set. Alice returns to The Hive where Dr. Issac (Iain Glen), the rogue scientist developing a cure, has been infected and has had major mutations causing regeneration, extendable tentacles, and even-stronger psychic powers. I expected a kick-ass battle and instead was left wanting a whole hell of a lot more.
Anyway, both Milla and director Russell Mulcahy make the whole fiasco semi-watchable, even when the story becomes almost irredeemably stupid. I may not have been particularly interested in Resident Evil: Extinction at the onset, but I was relatively entertained by the end. I suppose this is a good thing.