‘Extinction’ action-packed but unnecessarily convoluted
For having to survive though a zombie apocalypse while trying to dismantle a villainous corporation bent on taking over the world, Milla Jovovich sure does have perfect skin. I wonder if she was born with it, or maybe it’s her new psychic powers caused by bonding with a virus known for causing widespread death and/or massive mutation. Hmmm…
With the feel as though it was the third part in a trilogy while in reality it was just another sequel in the series, “Resident Evil: Extinction” is action-packed from start to finish. For the most part, however, we’re taken on a directionless ride and left trying to coalesce a plethora of story arcs into a navigable story line. Spoiler alert: We don’t.
Continuing from the events in “Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” this video game-based movie fleshes out both the nasty after- and still-ongoing effects of the zombie-creating T-virus outside of the confines of Raccoon City. Unsurprisingly, the entire world is dying, having succumbed to the deleterious effects of Umbrella Corp.’s insidious creation.
Our vengeance-seeking heroine, Alice (a returning Jovovich), airbrushed and frighteningly beautiful, is traveling solo, working to take down the remaining executives of Umbrella, who are hiding out in their high-tech, underground facilities (not unlike the one in Raccoon City). Armed with superhuman strength and an arsenal of weapons likely to inflict jealously in anyone trying to survive in this “Mad Max”-like world, she takes the loneliest of paths.
Unless she finds friendly faces. Because it wasn’t enough for director Russell Mulcahy, working with a script from series creator Paul W.S. Anderson, to have a story focus on our tormented and angry lead. Instead, she joins a convey of other survivors who are driving from city to city looking for food, gas and supplies, simply trying to survive. (They learn of a place called Arcadia, where there may be no infection, starting a fervid search for a way there. This plays into the end of this movie and most of the next, “Resident Evil: Afterlife.”)
And it’s around here we learn two correlating, important data points. First, Umbrella still is tracking Alice, which wants her because of her unique bonding with the T-virus. She is the company’s double-edged sword: She is both the cure and the means to enhance the virus. Secondly, Alice now has super-psychic powers, which we assume are a side-effect of said virus bonding. (There’s serious questions left unanswered, though, considering that a virus could imbue one with superhuman physical abilities; it’s harder to believe that the same virus could allow you to gain telekinesis and Spider-Man-like danger awareness.)
As for those whom she joins up with: She reunites with Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) from “Apocalypse,” while meeting video game-staple Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and a handle of other characters who aid her on her mission. Which goes from simply taking down Umbrella to destroying the crazed scientist responsible for her condition, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen). Who may or may not become more crazed as the movie proceeds, even going so far as to experiment on himself because he wants to become “perfect.” (The ideal of perfection, especially if derived from human-created virus infection, is a constant theme in both the films and game series. No one wants to wait for humanity to evolve on its own, it would seem.)
In the end, “Resident Evil: Extinction” is a convoluted mess of intense action and unrelated story lines. From dealing with a dying world to a crazed scientist to infected crows to actually interesting human interactions with a psionic Alice, “Extinction” takes the “everything and the kitchen sink” approach. For the most part, it fails. Fans of the games or previous movies in the series will find enough to sate their yearly dose of zombie fighting, but for the rest of the populace, you’re better off without.
Two “Yeah, I have powers now” stars out of five.