Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Resident Evil: Extinction

The critically maligned Resident Evil movies are a guilty pleasure of mine. Although I never played the game, I enjoyed the heck out of the first movie, and had a good time with the second, although I thought it was a step down. (BW had the opposite opinion, liking the second better than the first.)

The movie takes place about three years after the end of the second. The T virus has spread all across the globe, and only scattered bands of humans are holding out. Those humans have to keep moving, since as soon as they stop, the infected begin vectoring in on them. Alice (Mila Jovovich), the heroine of the first two, is on her own due to her belief that she is a danger magnet to those around her (she is). She has also developed new powers, and now can perform telekinesis. The Umbrella Corporation, which has retreated to underground compounds, is busy trying to train the zombies for use as slave labor, and are searching for Alice, believing her blood holds the secret they seek. Meanwhile, Carlos (Oded Fehr), from the second movie, has joined a caravan of survivors led by Claire Redfield (Ali Larter).

Alice, the Umbrella Corporation, and the other survivors intersect in a pitched battle as the survivors try to escape to Alaska, where supposedly the virus never caught hold, and Umbrella tries to capture/kill Alice. The battle is suitably gory, with a high casualty rate. This takes place in the desert.

Although I thought it was an okay movie, the third installment of the franchise just didn’t work as well for me. For one thing, Oded Fehr and Ali Larter, actors I like, are largely wasted. Fehr appears just to give continuity from the last film, and, while it is obvious Redfield is supposed to be an important character, it is never really shown what is so great about her. I think the setting also works against the movie. Horror works best when there is a sense of isolation and claustrophobia (see John Carpenter’s The Thing). The desert locale here just seems too roomy to create the necessary tension. It would just be too easy for the characters to run away.

Overall, worth a rental, but not much more.


John Hornor said...

They shoulda set up on a bridge.

KentAllard said...

Indeed. I guess they decided a bridge was a poor platform for wire-fu.