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Years after the Raccoon City disaster, Alice is on her own; aware that she has become a liability and could endanger those around her, she is struggling to survive and bring down the Umbrella Corporation led by the sinister Albert Wesker and head researcher Dr. Isaacs. Meanwhile, traveling through the Nevada Desert and the ruins of Las Vegas, Carlos Olivera, L.J., and new survivors K-Mart, Claire Redfield, and Nurse Betty must fight to survive extinction against hordes of zombies, killer crows and the most terrifying creatures created as a result of the deadly T-Virus that has killed millions. Written by
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Despite looking so, this series is not extinct just yet.
I think Resident Evil: Extinction elevates itself slightly higher than its two predecessors and slightly higher than I thought it would in general. On one hand, it is a series of bizarre and somewhat illogical events that transpire under the scenario of an apocalyptic event's aftermath but on the other, it is a pastiche of 'zombie' films gone by; a crude study of one man's obsession with his research and a somewhat guilty action film. I liked Resident Evil: Extinction a little more than others of its type because it gives us more of a sedate look at the situation rather than a mere exploitation of special effects, attractive heroines and needless gore. Yes, it's true to say that this film has action scenes of a silly nature but they do not seem as stupid as previous Resident Evil films in which the protagonist is able to use kung-fu on dogs and make impossible shots to defeat her foes.
The action scenes here are paced better and do not rely on the mere visualisation of actually seeing a Licker monster or Nemeses himself as the reason to keep watching. The enemies here are unspectacular and familiar and all the better for it; we get the feeling this is more of a survival film about the beasts and beings that would actually be out there rather than dumb scenes that try to impress us with a mentality: "Look, a Licker." or "Look, this is what Nemeses would look like in reality.". In the film, there is a scene in which several zombies come charging out of a metal crate. The scene works on the level of realism within the film because the film could so easily have substituted them for a larger, more visually impressive enemy that would've sufficed for the following action scene.
I mentioned the word 'realism' in that paragraph, perhaps crazily so. But Resident Evil: Extinction takes time to present its heroes, all of whom travel in a procession of large vehicles, with every day issues that would affect them. Things like 'how much fuel is left? Where is the nearest petrol station?'; 'Where is the next meal coming from?' and 'How can we bed down for the night safely and free from attack?' These sorts of questions were lost in the previous films and are empty from other recent post-apocalyptic horror/sci-fi films like Blade: Trinity. Additionally, when the film does reveal its particularly large scale monster for the film's climax it does so in an effective manner. This is because we have had the monster and the source for the monster presented to us on another plot line. We get a feeling that it may happen within the world of the film unlike when Nemeses popped up in the last film merely because he's had the injection and must now just keep destroying stuff until he meets the hero for the finale fight.
Although it takes on the matter of the pacing and the clarity of the action scenes, Resident Evil: Extinction is still guilty of one or two things. The film actually begins in a manner than had me dreading it would be as bad as the previous two. Alice (Jovovich) meets some human survivors but discovers them oddly unfriendly which acts more of a surprise than a dramatic twist. It's a scene in which implied prior victims have been conned, raped and then fed to the dogs; in this case infected dogs and sure enough Alice finds herself in the said situation a sequence of events that plays out in a daft manner that reminds you of the prior films. It had me thinking 'how do the renegade survivors lock the infected dogs up for next time once they've had their fun?' Then there was the rather careless scene in which Alice falls asleep in the middle of the desert, at night and with the fire still burning not smart considering the situation. The film is also disappointing in the sense that when the procession of vehicles housing the characters Alice, they are spread evenly in ethnicity and attitude meaning each individual 'type' could be killed off accordingly.
But for the best part, Resident Evil: Extinction is a surprisingly enjoyable film with an interesting set-up and I was really quite fond of the story running parallel involving Dr. Isaacs (Glen) and his research in developing the un-dead, albeit a clear reference to Dr. Logan in Day of the Dead. This plot line runs alongside the development of the convoy and the situations they must deal with, the thing I like here is that these people are not world savers; they will not go on a cause and effect fuelled story and make all the un-dead disappear, they are just there to survive and through Alice their goal is to make it to the icy regions of Alaska.
The bizarre thing about this latest Resident Evil instalment is just how good it might've been had it cut the action scenes down a little and tidied up the opening twenty or so minutes. It is disappointing that the convoy is made up of a Redneck (who's naturally good at sniping); an Aussie; two African-Americans; a Mexican and a wise-talking white American, all of whom exist for zombie fodder at the end of the day but this film instils me with hope that perhaps the films can be as good as the games in the games, ammunition was a very sacred thing and the tactic of running from enemies rather than shooting them was a good one. In the films, the producers are gradually realising this and the next film may well surprise a few people in terms of how watchable it actually is.
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