Video Game Adaptations: Resident Evil Extinction.
I did already know this before I started this review, but of the 3 Resident Evil films that I’ve seen, this is the one with the least to do with the games, and despite basically not being a Resident Evil adaptation, the only one that stands watching once. I’m not sure about rewatchings, as there was years between me seeing this film twice, but having watched it again, I am surprised to say that it manages to scale heights that this series otherwise gets nowhere near by being deeply, deeply mediocre. Funnily enough, almost all the problems it has are directly as a result of that steaming sack of excrement Apocalypse, in that Extinction goes miles out of its way to tie up the loose ends from part 2, and clean out the extraneous and aggravating characters that added nothing to the story. There are other problems, sure enough, but in comparison to the other two films in this dismal soul-destroying series (that is trying its damndest to make me hate cinema, Paul W.S. Anderson, and Resident Evil games) that I’ve seen to date it’s really not that awful.
This time round, Resident Evil opens with *yawn* Milla Jovovich in the fucking shower room again. She’s navigating a series of death traps, before one eventually kills her. Except it’s not Milla, it’s clone of Milla. It turns out that Umbrella (those dastardly lot) are experimenting on Alice to try to find out what makes her special. The rest of the film deals with Alice in the post apocalyptic wasteland, hooking up with a group of survivors (led by Claire Redfield, played by Ali Larter) that includes Carlos (Oded Fehr) and LJ (That poor cunt Mike Epps, still at least he’s not trying to be funny this time). She’s also struggling to deal with her superpowers, and Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) is arseholing around with something or other in an Underground bunker. Film ends with survivors v Zombies in desert covered Vegas, before Alice takes on a grossly mutated Isaacs in the facility.
The writing in this is, once again, shit. It is, however, better than the script for Resident Evil Apocalypse by a long way. Sadly, someone clearly failed to take Anderson’s crayons and loo roll off him, so it’s his fault, but at least he has learned his lesson and eliminated the terrible comedy. Unfortunately, he didn’t learn his other lesson, which was to eliminate the crap cliché that blights these films. This time round, the cliché is my pet hate in zombie films and in my all time cinema loathings it probably comes in the top 3: bitten character hides wound from friends before turning at most inconvenient point in the film. I want this cliché retired so, so badly- it’s a failure on every level- it’s overplayed, predictable, irritating and usually used as a real crutch for struggling
hacks writers such as Anderson. This isn’t the only cliché, but it’s certainly the most aggravating. Furthermore, Anderson, has clearly seen 28 Days Later and Zack “Fuck you” Snyder’s piss poor Dawn of the Dead, and has decided that running zombies are cool, so produces a quite outrageous Deus Ex Machina to shoe horn some into the plot. Terrible.
The acting, on the other hand, is highly variable. Glen does a good job on the scenery chewing front, and Milla can sleepwalk her way through this kind of role. Epps is dramatically better this time out (he doesn’t have the hideous comedy. In fact, it’s very hard to believe that he’s the same character). Fehr is stoic as Carlos, but the character really has very little to do. Unfortunately, Ali Larter is completely miscast as Claire Redfield, and worse than that is actively bad in the role. She’s got no charisma at all, can’t play badass at all, and yet she’s meant to be leading the convoy to safety? It’s a bad performance in a terribly written part. Still, I’m sure she paid her mortgage or something from it, because I’d like to think she got something for killing her career. (I do accept that this may be wish-fulfillment on my behalf).
I can’t really be arsed to go into this film any more. For all intents and purposes it isn’t Resident Evil, and it’s completely and utterly competent. Furthermore, it’s obvious who is to blame for the pretty heavy flaws of the film. So, to be absolutely fair, I’m going to give credit to the director, Russell Mulcahy, who manages to turn in something that is thoroughly adequate in every single way; one that manages to tie up all the loose ends left by Apocalypse and also one that, compared to the other films, passes the time in a deeply average and non-irritating kind of way.
Overall, this is a totally forgettable and thoroughly average film. So, by the standards of this series, well, it’s fucking BRILLIANT. Nevertheless, I don’t recommend it. Resident Evil Extinction is a post-apocalyptic zombie film, and a totally average one at that. There is literally NO reason at all to watch this film, and I can’t in all honesty recommend it on its own basis and the big credit in it- being better than it’s two predecessors- doesn’t work when it comes to devoting 2 hours of your life to something, simply because to appreciate the mundane second sequel in the series you would have to have watched the hideous and totally worthless previous entries.
Therefore, to conclude, Resident Evil Extinction is average and can have 2 Changs, but for fuck’s sake, don’t bother with it.
Damned if I know where I’m going from here on this terrible review series, but it’ll be a while until RE4 takes a poop on my screen due to the fact that the PS3 refuses to play a pirated version. This is something that I am extremely grateful to the excellent taste of those kind people at Sony for.
Until next time,