Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Resident Evil: Extinction wasn't at all like I imagined it would be. Considering the end of Apocalypse, I figured Extinction would be about Alice's trying to overcome her Umbrella programming in order to avoid betraying her friends. Once she'd done that, I anticipated some cool guerilla tactics as Alice and company finally took the fight to Umbrella's door. I got none of that.

Not that it's a bad movie; it's just completely different than I expected. Alice does overcome her programming, but she does it between movies. Extinction opens with her having left her pals in order to keep herself from harming them, but her will is already her own and she's never rejoined them. She does rejoin some of them in Extinction, but I wanted to be able to see her break free of Umbrella's control, so I'm disappointed. We get a taste of that as Umbrella momentarily regains control of her and she breaks free again, but it's not enough.

And as for her taking the fight to Umbrella's door... it looks like that's what the next movie'll be about.

What Extinction is is a post-apocalyptic horror flick. I compared Resident Evil to Aliens and Apocalypse to Escape from New York; Extinction is The Road Warrior. Some time between Apocalypse and Extinction the zombie virus got out of Umbrella's control and took over the world. Plants, animals, and humans are all affected and the last living humans have taken to roving the resulting desert in caravans. Meanwhile, Umbrella has been driven completely underground and is desperately looking for a cure. Their best hope is with Dr. Isaacs, the evil scientist from the end of Apocalypse. In order for Isaacs' cure to work though, he needs Alice, so Umbrella is scouring the globe looking for her.

Eventually, like I said before, Alice reconnects with her pals from Apocalypse who've joined one of those caravans and convinces them that a zombie-free haven exists in the Alaskan wilderness. The problem is that they'll have to caravan through zombies and Umbrella soldiers alike to get there.

There's a great scene where Alice is trying to convince the caravan's leader Claire (Ali Larter) to take the risk and go to Alaska. Claire disagrees at first, looking at her ragtag followers and saying that they don't need to get their hopes up. I love Carlos' (Oded Fehr) response, which is something like, "That's exactly what they do need." It's a simple truism, but it's also profound when you really consider it.

Anyway, "Road Warrior with zombies" isn't exactly what I was hoping for, but Extinction is still a good action movie and -- as I predicted -- it ends in a way that makes me anxious to see the next one. Please tell me I don't have to wait until 2010 for it.

Three out of five zombie ravens.

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