Milla Jovovich returns to her role of Alice in Resident Evil: Extinction, and she’s brought a lot of kick-butt skills with her. This is the third outing in the movie franchise. As players of the game know, Alice was never part of the video games. She was created wholly for the theater crowd. However, Alice has been paired up with characters featured in the video games.
This time Alice co-stars with two characters from the videogames, Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) and Claire Redfield (Heroes’ Ali Larter). Both game characters are given a large share of the screen time. The villain, Albert Wesker (Jason O'Mara), is also from the games.
I pushed the DVD in with no real expectations other than to have a rollicking good time with special effects, martial arts, gunplay, and mindless violence. You just don’t walk into one of these films wanting any kind of serious message. There are no serious messages in the games, unless you count, “Don’t get bitten by zombies.”
I had a great time with the film. The action started out early and maintained terrific forward momentum. Some of the characters lived and some of them died, which I expected. And some of the dead were even ones I didn't expect to end up that way.
Jovovich’s martial arts sequences are some of the best she’s ever done. Ali Larter was outstanding as the leader of a convoy of survivors trying to head for safety. There’s not a lot of character to put on display in a film like this, and everyone connected to the production wisely allowed the violence and special effects take the lead.
One of the best – and most chilling parts of the film – was the opening. I watched breathlessly as Alice awakes and tries to get out of some kind of institution. She barely escapes death trap after death trap and ends up (surprise!) getting killed. Then our villain orders her body dumped and we see her corpse get thrown into a trench outside the facility. The trench is filled with other dead “Alices” and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand they’re clones.
The facility is an underground complex. The visual representation showing that facility is one of the movie’s coolest graphics. I also loved the way the zombies were kept outside of the aboveground facility by a tall fence. But the image jarred me a lot too because it’s too much like comics scribe Robert Kirkman’s zombie title The Walking Dead.
After the opening, the action shifts over to the real Alice and she’s immediately in danger from survivors who try to kill her. I was a little troubled by the fact that the killers didn’t seem to be properly motivated, but when they set the zombie dogs on Alice, I promptly pushed that out of my mind and simply enjoyed the action sequences.
The zombie crows later in the film were terrifying. Kind of like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds on steroids. The huge cloud of them attacking the convoy was totally amazing visually, as was Alice’s attack on them with the mind-controlled fireblast spewed by the flamethrower.
Resident Evil: Extinction got an R rating, but there wasn’t a single F-bomb I remember hearing, nor any other egregious language. The rating seems to be totally derived from the violence and the appearance of the zombies. Personally, I think a PG-13 rating would have sufficed. You can freely watch this one with your older kids. I watched it with my ten year old and he had a good time with it.
The Resident Evil video game franchise continues to pump out new entries. Extinction is rumored to be the last live-action movie, but I hope that’s not true. A motion-capture film called, for the moment, Resident Evil: Degeneration is already in the works.
The two-disc set and Blu-ray edition carries a lot of extras that fans will want to have. The audio commentary, the making-of featurette, and the sneak peek at Resident Evil: Degeneration are all worth making time for.