Undying genre revives the undead for Extinction
Resident Evil: Extinction is the third installment of a video game-gone-movie series; and like the first two releases, it’s a zombie movie. If you haven’t seen either of the previous Resident Evil flicks, think Lara Croft: Tomb Raider meets Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets 28 Weeks Later.
Now think about what better movies you can go see, instead.
Are zombie movies fun? Yes. Why? For the same reasons that it’s fun for little kids to spread a blanket on the floor and pretend it’s a raft floating on lava. Or, the same reason why, since the invention of the balloon, people like to play that dumb game where you can’t let the balloon touch the ground. We like the thrill of things that "should not" but eventually, inevitably will. Zombie movies thrill us because they work according to this same principle.
Of course, there are much better options for zombie movies, if that’s your thing. There are those intentionally mingled with comedy: Shaun of the Dead (2004). There are those that are actually scary and have little-to-no comedy: 28 Days Later (2002). Then there are those that are better than the Resident Evil series, which nearly covers everything else, including the original and the remake of Dawn of the Dead (1978, 2004).
It’s not that Extinction is a bad movie. It’s fairly entertaining and funny, though the humor is probably, for the most part, unintentional. But the dialogue and the acting are more or less inexcusable. Some bad dialogue is quotable for its intrinsic mockery value, such as "I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here, everything is soft and smooth" (Star Wars Episode II-Attack of the Clones) Other bad dialogue is best left unrepeated.
The outbreak continues. The viral infection that left most of the Earth in withered ruins still plagues the barren landscape, which is primarily inhabited by roaming undead who love to feed on "un-undead" (regular humans) flesh. Alice (Milla Jovovich) wanders about in solitude, keeping on the move and scavenging the smaller ghost towns for fuel, just as the other survivors are wont to do.
Meanwhile, a caravan of virus-free, tough customers who have banded together (which include some of Alice’s old peeps), plan to find enough fuel to travel from the deserts of Utah and Nevada to Alaska, a possible place of uninfected refuge. And, of course, the corrupt, international Umbrella Corp. continues its experiments and mad-scientist testing, which makes the fleeing caravan’s ambition more difficult to realize.
Overall, Resident Evil: Extinction is more of the same and about what you’d expect: intermittent suspenseful moments, easily anticipated jolts and lots of gory, blood-splattering zombie killings. Ah, the evolution of American entertainment… it just keeps getting better and better.