Land of the Dead
The dull way Resident Evil: Extinction plays out is a big indicator of how its RE predecessors gave movie fans too much, too soon. This series played its hand way too early, going from a creepy and claustrophobic gorefest into an overblown, apocalyptic blockbuster in the span of two movies. Resident Evil: Extinction isn't so much bad as it is boring, a stillborn sequel giving viewers more of the same without providing any reason for its own existence.
Set some number of years after Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Extinction picks up as most of the planet has been ravaged by the Umbrella Corporation's T-Virus, turning those exposed to it into the walking dead. Still fighting the good fight against these flesh-eating ghouls is Alice (Milla Jovovich), the series principal heroine and zombie killer extraordinaire. Traveling through the desert wasteland the U.S. has now become, Alice encounters a convoy of survivors led by Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and comprised of some old friends from her past.
Unbeknownst to Alice, Umbrella is still on the hunt for her. The nefarious Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) has been tasked with capturing Alice and using her genetically-modified structure to find a cure for the T-Virus. But after discovering signs of life and presumed safety awaiting in Alaska, Alice must decide whether to help lead Claire's crew to salvation or put an end to Umbrella's tinkering once and for all.
Filmmakers of Resident Evil: Extinction should have known their idea well was running dry when, after cranking out two movies about the undead and other ghastly monsters, the best new villains they could come up with were evil crows and bald zombies wearing jumpsuits. Seriously! Although George Romero did very well for himself, building up his four Living Dead features with your average, meat-and-potatoes zombies, this series sputtered out with movie number two. Extinction's failure to scare horror hounds or energize action junkies comes down to a matter of repetition and poor plotting.
The biggest problem here, however, involves the setting; there's hardly anywhere to go with the story when the zombie apocalypse has already swept through everywhere, and Extinction doesn't even bother trying to find a clever way out. It just brings the carnage to the desert, where the female survivors have, of course, somehow managed to maintain flawless complexions while living through an undead holocaust, and little is done to deviate from the slice-and-dice attitudes of the previous two movies.
I've been a Milla Jovovich defender over the years, ever since she became my first movie crush with The Fifth Element. But I have to question her willingness to slay the same slew of zombies for the third time in a row. When an actress' latest production manages to be bested by the likes of Ultraviolet, that says a lot. Larter is brought in to inject some new blood into the franchise, although she, like most of the cast, is relegated to just shooting and screaming her way to the credits. Not only are Apocalypse actors Oded Fehr and Mike Epps brought into the fray once again, but other video game-to-movie veterans get in on the act as well; Glen played the villain in Tomb Raider, Matthew Marsden was seen in this past summer's DOA: Dead or Alive, and Linden Ashby's most famous role was as Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat. Those weren't exactly the best movies ever made, but these actors certainly look like they'd rather be doing them all over again than appearing in Extinction.
I saw this film with my dad, and he put it best when, on the way to the parking lot, he said, "Those had to be the most un-frightening zombies I've ever seen." The only scary aspect of Resident Evil: Extinction is how much money it will pull in over the opening weekend.
MY RATING: * 1/2 (out of ****)
(Released by Screen Gems and rated "R" for strong horror violence throughout and some nudity.)