Resident Evil: Extinction
This is movie No. 3 in a painfully predictable and gruesomely bloody (video game-inspired) zombie series.
At the end of the Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the second installment in a series of movies based on a series of video games, a zombie-making virus created by Umbrella Corp. spread to the whole of Raccoon City. The authorities decided to contain the epidemic by bombing the place and its creepy inhabitants off the face of the earth.
But in this, the third big-screen Resident Evil, we find that their plan failed. The virus has seeped out to the rest of the world and infected millions if not billions of people, even sucking the life out of the earth itself and turning everything into a zombie-filled desert wasteland. The few human survivors gather in one of two camps: Elite executives of the sinister genetics company find refuge in high-tech underground bunkers. And the unfortunate surface dwellers gather together and try to stay ahead of the zombie hordes by traveling in Mad Max-style caravans.
Umbrella's Dr. Isaacs heads up research to ostensibly find an answer to the zombie plague. He determines that Alice—the single successful example of the genetics-modifying experiments—is the key to a cure. Her blood alone can lead to an anti-zombie serum and turn the marauding hordes into docile day laborers. But she's escaped, so the mad (and getting madder) scientist turns his attention to darker schemes.
Alice herself roams the wilderness, believing that it's safer for people if she keeps her telekinetic and otherwise super abilities away from them. She only briefly joins up with a refugee convoy led by Claire and her old friend Carlos when they're in desperate need of a little bit of genetically modified help. Isaacs eventually pinpoints Alice's location by satellite, and an intermediate showdown shapes up in and near a dune-buried Las Vegas. Why intermediate? Because there's always room for one more zombie sequel.
Alice and all of the people in Claire's caravan repeatedly put their lives on the line to protect each other from the deadly creatures that roam the land. When Carlos is bitten and realizes that he's hopelessly infected, he runs (drives) headlong toward certain death in order to give the others a chance to escape. Claire speaks of wanting to protect her people and not lead them astray.
The film points to the foolhardy corporate greed that caused the catastrophe in the first place. And by presenting a worst-case scenario, it indirectly condemns reckless—genetic—scientific expansion.
After being attacked by zombie crows, the surviving members of the caravan gather at the cross-bearing gravesites of their fallen friends. One kneels by a loved-one's grave and crosses himself.
Clone warning: All references to Alice in this and the following sections may be about her or her numerous clones. When we first see Alice she is naked on the floor of a shower stall. A plastic curtain conceals her midsection and her breasts. Many Alices are seen floating fully nude in large bubbles of fluid. The first few times we see them, slightly raised legs and crossed arms obscure sexual body parts. But in a final long-shot scene, several of them move to reveal indistinct full-frontal nudity.
Alice wears very brief and low-cut dresses that expose cleavage and lots of leg. She also wears a form-fitting undershirt that leaves little to the imagination. Claire shows a little cleavage in a tight T. A zombie woman walks toward the camera with an exposed breast.
One of the guys in the caravan ogles a woman's backside as she walks away. When the caravan members explore an empty hotel, one of the guys jokes that he's going to "rent me a porno." As an attacker runs a knife down toward Alice's crotch, he makes a couple of sexual remarks.
Zombie movies are never quiet, reflective affairs. And while Extinction may not be the loudest, most explosive gore-fest ever made, it's certainly not shy about chopping, mashing, crushing, blasting and pureeing the living and the undead with handguns, automatic rifles, shotguns, axes, foot-long knives, flamethrowers, crossbows, snowplows and exploding fuel trucks.
A few examples of close-up violence includes views of huge holes being shot through zombie heads and an arrow ramming through a zombie's face and pinning it to a wall. Crisscrossed lasers cut a monster's body into diamond-shaped pieces (which we see slowly sliding apart. Birds rip at a woman's face. Zombie tentacles are jammed into a man's eyes, leaving black and bloodied holes behind. Mutant inside-out-looking dogs tear at people's throats. And dozens of zombies sink their blood-smeared choppers into various body parts.
One particularly gory scene involves a single zombie munching on a dead man's torso in the middle of the road. Out of nowhere a truck with a pointed plow in front smashes into the creature at full speed, mangling it beneath its huge tires. The creature begins to struggle to its feet and our view shifts to behind a spinning blade protruding from the wheel of another rushing vehicle that closes in and obliterates the zombie's head. Blood splatters up on the vehicle's window and surprises several children who were watching attentively—and appreciatively.
Alice is killed in a host of bloody ways and her various corpses are thrown and piled up in an open pit. Men are seen dangling from what appears to be meat hooks suspended from the ceiling.
Crude or Profane Language
One cut-short f-word and four or five s-words. Milder crudities ("d--n," "h---," "a--" and "b--ch") bring the tally to about 25. Jesus' name is blasphemed once, and God's name is misused a half-dozen times.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Dr. Isaacs injects himself and a zombie with vials of antidote serum. Carlos and Claire both speak of wanting a cigarette. Claire searches an old cigarette machine for her fix. And as Carlos drives to his doom, his only stated regret is that he hasn't been able to drum up a final smoke. Then, with only seconds to spare, he finds and lights what is either a hand-rolled cigarette or a marijuana joint.
Other Negative Elements
Dr. Isaacs inhumanely experiments on healthy people and zombies alike, even callously disregarding the bloody deaths of his fellow scientists, in the pursuit of his power-mad goals.
The gang of twentysomething video gamers and comic book aficionados who joined me for the midnight Denver premiere of Resident Evil: Extinction (Sony's Screen Gems didn't value its creation enough to show it to the press ahead of time), slouched by me, murmuring with a slight buzz of anticipation. A few of them glanced my way, off to the side with my pad of paper and nifty lighted pen in hand, and must have thought me a super-devotee. Hey, I was even taking notes. As the film began, however, I realized that note-taking was practically unnecessary. We'd seen this all before.
The Resident Evil games and movies have one common theme—a huge, multinational corporation's greedy schemes go terribly wrong, a megalomaniacal madman decides to use the disaster as a means to power, and a good guy or gal must fight him and his hordes of zombies to save mankind while the power-hungry maniac fills himself with genetics-altering goo to turn into a virtually indestructible undead god.
Despite what my fellow late-night theater friends might have been thinking about my fanboy credentials, that story arc has never made much sense to me. Sure, the bad guy gets some kind of superpower, but he also transforms into a gravel-skinned, ichor-oozing grotesquery. And that can't do much for his social life.
Of course, logic doesn't matter in the Resident Evil world. Neither does plot or the ability to identify with and care for the characters. (Most of them don't live long enough to get to know, anyway.) The only thing this franchise values is nude shots of its model/actress star, Milla Jovovich, and lots and lots and lots of zombie killings. Extinction delivers on all counts. Zombie brains splatter every surface and mingle with the human blood already pooled there. And lots of loud noises and gore-gagged screams attempt to make you jump. But in the end they leave you only wondering if this flick will ever end.
Even the horror-lovers I was surrounded with seemed to have been left with a bad taste in their mouths—pun intended. As everyone shambled out during the credits, the buzz was long gone. And the dismal promise of yet another future sequel hung in the air. One guy actually wearing a Resident Evil T-shirt to watch Resident Evil in, tried to muster some enthusiasm and nasally droned, "I think I found my new favorite movie." I saw at least a couple of compatriots give him a tepid look that seemed to say, "What genetics-altering goo have you been injecting?"