Resident Evil: Extinction Review

Resident Evil Extinction

Wow, things sure as hell escalated quickly! I paid so little attention to these films that I had no idea Extinction was so literal and that the Resi films departed from the games so much. So yeah, we’re in a complete zombie apocalypse world now, with small bands of survivors. Thankfully most of my criticisms of the previous entry are not present in this one, leaving a much more pleasant watching experience… though it still wasn’t exactly great or anything. Want more info? Read on!

Synopsis:

The virus outbreak in Raccoon City wasn’t contained, and instead it had spread worldwide, leading to a full-on global apocalypse. Alice, the super-powered Umbrella experiment gone rogue, is travelling alone, mostly due to her new psionic powers being so unstable. Soon though, she meets her old friend Carlos, as well as his new allies (including Claire Redfield) and together they head for one of the last known safe zones in Alaska…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Resident Evil Extinction 2

“So… Do you still have super powers, or…?”   “Yep… I can do crazy mind stuff now as well.”  “Oh… cool.”

While “The Good” may be pushing it, it’s more like “the perfectly acceptable”, the story and film as a whole was … fine. Much like the first it picked a genre, did a very basic job of it, and then left. The post apocalyptic setting and the band of survivors were all very cliché, but they did the job well enough. Thankfully Clair Redfield (Ali Larter) was actually a good character that wasn’t constantly made to look stupid for the sake of Alice, able to hold her own and lead a group of survivors, while Oded Fehr’s Carlos Oliveira continued to be a cheesy, but funny character… ish.

Milla Jovovich’s Alice is more powerful than ever, but thankfully was a lot more reserved and “posed for the camera in fourth-wall-breaking action segments” far less. Plus this time for a final fight we actually got a mutated enemy in the form of scientist Alexander Isaacs (played by Iain “Jorah Mormont” Glen) who after failing to make a proper working clone of Alice, gets infected trying to recapture the original and ends up over-dosing on T-Virus cure, turning him into a weird Tyrant-looking thing with a stretchy tentacle arm. It led to a silly final fight, including both using mind powers to launch each other through walls, but at least they weren’t trying to have a martial arts fight…

A scene with a large murder of crows (finally making an appearance!) and a tense battle with a bunch of “super zombies” in the ruins of Las Vegas made the film in general far more entraining, and better shot, than the frankly awful Apocalypse. I also have to mention the cliffhanger, where Alice tells Wesker (yes, a real life version of Wesker!) that she’s going to come after him, and that she’s not alone before panning to a large cloning facility full of Alice clones, was so weird and unexpected that I had a good laugh. Sure, why not? First she gets super-powers, then she get mental powers, now she has a clone army. Great! Let’s keep going more and more absurd, let’s face it, it’s long since dropped any hint of the game series, may as well have a laugh.

The Bad:

Resident Evil Extinction 1

Alice ignites a whole sky full of crows… just because.

There were some serious dialogue issues, particularly a really weird and immature focus on smoking being a cool thing cool people talk about, complete with Claire trying to find a packet in ruins, and Carlos’ death scene (which was at least going out with a literal bang) was all about him lighting up and smiling as he made the sacrifice. I don’t know, it was just… so old fashioned, and the way it was written into “funny banter” dialogue felt really forced and… not very good.

The opening, which sees Alice get captured by a stereotypical hillbilly gang, was not only tired and dare I say cliché (I’ve using that word far too often in these reviews…) but the whole time I wondered why she wasn’t using her super strength and speed to just kill them all. They were luring people to them just to feed them to their zombie dogs (or rape them, seemingly) so I don’t think the post-apocalyptic world will miss them. Alice eventually escapes the zombie dogs and uses them to bring down the ceiling, killing the hicks and giving her an escape route, but again I’m pretty sure she could have just punched the pillars over, no need to put yourself in such danger. If you’re going to give her super powers, at least let her use them…

Resident Evil Extinction 4

It’s a live action Tyrant! … Weird that it took three films to do this, really…

Remember the really unfunny and frankly insultingly bad “comedy black guy” from Apocalypse that survived? Well, he’s actually back for some reason, though thankfully he’s written and directed like an actual real person this time. Sadly he gets bitten, and then tells nobody and just continues to live in the convoy of innocent people until he turns and nearly kills an innocent teenager they were travelling with… What an idiot. Made me hate him in an entirely different way.

As much as I enjoyed Dr. Alexander Isaacs in his predictable frustrated scientist way (and I liked his interactions with the film version of Wesker, too) I do have to wonder why they didn’t just call the character William Birkin and be done with it? Maybe they were afraid of a fan backlash if his mutated form didn’t match the game forms? I don’t know, it’s a minor thing, but after getting a live action Claire Redfield and Wesker that I didn’t mind watching, it seemed like an easy way to go three-one on game-to-film characters (poor Jill from Apocalypse…)

Overall Thoughts:

Resident Evil Extinction 3

Live action Claire! … Though beyond the hair colour, she doesn’t resemble the game Claire much…

Resident Evil: Extinction was a pleasant surprise. I had no idea of the post-apocalyptic setting (though given this happens right after a film called Apocalypse, maybe I should have seen it coming?) and while I’ve seen it realised better and with more drama and fleshed out characters in other franchises, it was at least something different. The characters were less annoying, the game characters were actually well served, and the some of the big scenes and final battle were actually entertaining. I’m not going to shout this film from the rooftops as being great, but after Apocalypse I’m suddenly not dreading the rest of this marathon like I was going into this film…

3 Star Watch

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