I’ll never claim the Resident Evil movies are pieces of high-end cinema. Then again, I don’t even think the cast and crew would say the same thing. The third movie, Resident Evil: Extinction, offers the same formula as before. We get zombies, some confusion, more zombies, fighting, and then the battle with the big bad guy of the flick. It’s harmless fun at the end of the day and pretty enjoyable. There’s nothing high-brow here, just your typical action flick with a nice amount of carnage, some nifty special effects, and a big ol’ tussle at the end.
Hiding in the Nevada desert, Alice (Milla Jovovich), Carlos Oliver (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps) join forces with new survivors of the Raccoon City disaster – Nurse Betty (Ashanti), K-Mart (Spencer Locke) and Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) – to create a formidable force ready to defeat flesh-hungry zombies and save Earth before time runs out. Trekking though the desert and ruins of Las Vegas, the group must elude the sinister minds of the Umbrella Corporation, who are tracking their every move from the corporation’s sleek research facilities below the very ground Alice and her team are traversing. With hordes of zombies, killer crows and gruesomely-mutated creatures in their path, the survivors are up against menacing odds. And Alice having been subjected to a biogenic experimentation has become genetically altered with super-human strengths, now must employ these skills as never before to ensure that the last of the human race survives.
So, where to begin? Well, like I said, these movies aren’t exactly high-class. They’re essentially dumb action movies with a fair amount of fighting, wire-fu, and gore, and the occasional boob. Nothing more. The intelligent dialogue is minimal at best and the actual character development is few and far inbetween. In short, it’s you’re typical Hollywood action movie. But, as an added bonus here, this franchise is based off the popular Resident Evil video games, which, I have to admit, are pretty damn fun. But the movies, however, haven’t lived up to what the games have created. Now, the first movie was mediocre and the second was an abomination upon mankind, but the third is actually pretty okay.
We get the usual assortment of action sequences here, the usual high death-count, and the final show-off with the big bad guy of the movie. It’s all rather predictable and the main characters are, naturally, safe from any danger. Sure, they may be put in dangerous situations, but you know that, at the end of the movie, they’ll be fine. Then again, since this is the supposed end of the trilogy, you have a few characters bumped off just to raise the stakes but, really, the main character is absolutely safe. And speaking of the whole trilogy aspect, with this being the third film of the series, you may be a bit confused with the events here if you haven’t seen the first two. There’s not much of an actual story to begin with, so there’s nothing really to worry about, and I highly doubt anyone is going into this film looking for a complex storyline. The action starts up pretty quickly, so, like I said, there’s nothing really to worry about.
Still, watching Alice’s journey is still worth the trip, and this movie does throw a few neat twists in. One thing I really enjoyed was how the movie opened. We see Alice walking through what seems to be an obstacle course. Surprisingly, she doesn’t make it to the end. The surprise comes when the scientists come to retrieve her body, and then throw is on a huge stack of Alice clones outside of the facility. I thought that was actually pretty neat, and does lead into a nice surprise at the end. And speaking of the end, I’m a bit disappointed that the end leaves the series open for a fourth installment. Personally, I would have rather the movie provided us with a solid ending, but I suppose the ending does sort of whet the appetite for a fourth if they ever opt to do so.
However, for now, this is the last installment of the Resident Evil trilogy and it’s fun, has a couple great sequences, a couple underdeveloped ideas (like the crows who have been feasting off the zombies), and the big showdown at the end. The actors bring nothing new to the table, simply bringing more of what they brought in the first two flicks. Resident Evil: Extinction offers the same as the two previous films, only slightly tweaking the formula to make things appear fresh. But for those going in looking specifically for zombie action and hot girls in actions, then look no further. This installment continues to do what the franchise has done so well to date, but it doesn’t offer anything new nor will it be mistaken for anything intelligent. These are popcorn movies at the core, and are in a category all their own. Like I said, if you’re looking for intelligent cinema, look elsewhere. If you just want to see some action, special effects, and zombies, you could do a lot worse.
The DVD itself fairs well. Sony has plopped on a nice collection of extras, including a sneak peek at Resident Evil: Degeneration, the first Resident Evil CGI film. And, I have to say, it looks pretty awesome. While I found the Resident Evil films to be your typical brainless action fare, this CGI flick actually looks to feature some stunning animation and great action sequences. There’s also a commentary track from director Russell Mulcahy, producer Jeremy Bolt and writer/producer Paul W. S. Anderson, about eight minutes of Deleted Scenes and a host of featurettes covering the production of the movie. The featurettes include “Alice Vision: Preproduction,” “The Big Bang: Shooting Resident Evil: Extinction,” “Bigger, Faster, Stronger: The Undead Evolve,” and “Vegas Visual Effects: Miniatures.” Nothing ground-breaking, but a nice way to kill roughly an hour if you’re interested in the movie’s production history. The movie and all these goodies are stored in a regular keepcase covered with a cardboard slipcase.
Just a note, however, that the Blu-Ray releases has a couple of exclusive extras. The first is an extra entitled “Picture-in-Picture,” offering interviews, storyboards and other items that play simultaneously with the feature, in a separate window. The Blu-Ray disc also offers the Blu-wizard 2.0, which allows viewers to create a playlist to customize the special features available. Worth noting for fans with hi-def capabilities.
Now, for fans of the trilogy, this DVD is worth picking up to add to the collection. It wraps everything and offers the possibilities of a fourth installment. However, for those new to the trilogy, you may want to rent it, or view the first two, before checking this flick out. The DVD itself offers a great audio/video transfer and a nice assortment of extras, so you won’t be losing any money on a weak disc. I’d have to recommend the disc for at least a Rental, possibly a purchase. It’s a fun action movie, and nothing more. With a story thinner than the plot for Super Mario Bros. 3 and the actors doing nothing more than essentially posing, there’s not much here to engage the viewer in any real way. However, the action is fun, there’s a cavalcade of zombies, and it’s a fine way to waste an evening.
Resident Evil: Extinction hits DVD and Blu-Ray on January 2nd, 2008.