Just got this in my email, from my good buddy C.J.
WARNING: Spoilers to follow, so scroll down at your own risk!
RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION
Reviewed by C.J. Henderson
Screen Gems, 2007
Well, the last couple of weeks have seen the release of a lot of
"important" movies. You know, the ones Hollywood wants to start
generating "Oscar buzz" over. Which, of course, generally means
boring, over-wrought films, the kind that put you to sleep and fill
you with a need to demand your money back.
This week's film is not one of those. This week's film is the kind
that makes you glad to go to the movies. Well, if you're a lover of
flesh-craving, bone-breaking, fast running zombies, that is. And
really, who doesn't, these days? Mel Brook's son is still riding high
after writing "World War Z," his zombie magnum opus, super zombie
editor has just released his latest collection of world class zombie
tales, "The Dead Walk Again," and the cinema has brought us the third
"Resident Evil" movie.
Who says there isn't a Santa Claus?
The story: Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up exactly as she did in the
first film, and things go the same way they did for a few minutes.
After a while, though, we discover that this isn't Alice, but a
clone. Seems the Umbrella Corporation is up to their old tricks. They
want to get their hands on Alice because they think that her blood
holds the key to fixing the mess the planet is in. And the planet is
in a mess--the virus Umbrella let get out of control in movie #1 has
ravaged the planet. Most life has died out. The zombies are in
Now, this secret they're after, this doesn't mean they think they
can cure everyone, get rid of the zombies or anything else sensible.
No, what they're up to is searching for a serum which will make the
zombies docile. They're looking for a work force so they can rule
what's left of the world. All they need to do is get their hands on
our heroine and murder her for her blood.
This is a swell little film. Jovovich has come a long way since her
first starring role in "The Fifth Element." Practically a child in
her first movie, here she is all woman--and understand, that's not a
sexist statement. Simple and, yes--in some ways--as trite as this
movie is, it gives its star the chance to really run the gamut of
emotions. Jovovich does a fantastic job with what little she is given
to work with, again making herself the central focus of the picture
through the sheer excellence of her performance.
Of course, some of the credit for that will have to be placed at the
feet of director Russell Mulcahy ("Highlander," "Mysterious Island").
Mulcahy is the third director to have his way with the franchise, and
he does right by it. After the relentless darkness and neon fire
fights of the second, the straight-forward, bleaching sunlight
effects of this film are almost a blessing.
Do understand, this is not a rave, although it must certainly sound
like one. It's been a bad couple of weeks for movies, and so anything
with some action and sizzle to it was going to get some good words
from me. As far as the franchise goes, the first film is still the
best. The second was not nearly as inventive as the first, but it was
a good, solid ride. This third venture is better than the second by
far, but a few degrees away from being as good as the first. In the
world of sequels, that's doing pretty good.
The film does borrow a great deal from the Romero "Living Dead"
films, but then so do most zombie pictures. Some folks were
complaining after the screening that the movie didn't do anything
new. And, in the case of its zombies, no, it didn't. What I feel
these fine fellows missed, however, is that in the matter of dealing
with the zombies, the film is very original. The changes that come
about in Alice's character are understandable, intelligent, and well
done. Really, it's all we can ask.
The writing is fairly standard, and the sets, locations, costumes,
soundtrack and the such are what we've come to expect in a mid-range
film. All of it competent, all of it seeming pretty cookie cutter.
Still, we have to remember, there's nothing wrong with using a cookie
cutter. We don't care what shape the cookies are in. We just want them
to taste good.
This new batch of "Resident Evil" cookies, I must admit they don't
taste too bad. Not bad at all.
My Final Word: 4 stars out of 5.