SEPTEMBER 21, 2007
What the hell is up with the part 3s this year? First the 3rd Pirates movie eschews action in favor of an endless cycle of scenes in which people backstab one another, then Ocean's 13 forgets to be funny, and now Resident Evil: Extinction delivers less action than either of the previous installments, and can barely be bothered to even stay consistent with itself, let alone the other movies.
In one of the laziest rewrites I've seen in a film since Speed 2, the character of Claire Redfield is clearly just Jill Valentine with a different name. Since the actress who played Jill was off making Eragon, they just used a different name from the games and got another hot "tough" chick (in this case, Ali Larter), but didn't bother really MAKING her Claire Redfield (or anything, for that matter - she is entirely wasted in the role, as is pretty much everyone else in the film that isn't Milla). Where she comes from (or why the other surviving cast members from the 2nd film are following her around) is never explained, just like where Jill went is never explained. "We don't care, audience," the screenwriters are saying. Well, fine. But then, why should we?
And hey, you know, fuck the previous films... Extinction doesn't even address itself half the time. Milla Jovovich's Alice now has telekinetic powers, which are so strong she is able to disable a satellite orbiting the earth. Yet, 15 minutes later, she has to struggle to reach a knife. I won't make a "use the force" joke, but for the love of Christ movie, pay attention to yourself! And hell, if her powers are that strong, why fight at all??? Seems like you can just use your mind to make all the zombies go away.
Everything in this movie is pretty half-assed, with two exceptions. The direction is the best in the series (dim praise, but hey), thanks to Russell Mulcahy. Of course, I am a fan of Russell's, for many reasons: he directed the last theatrically released Dolph Lundgren movie (Silent Trigger), he is friends with Jim Steinman, and he directed the Total Eclipse of the Heart video, which is more terrifying than any of the films I have watched for Horror Movie A Day thus far. The other exception is the effects - they have come a long way from the first film, which had some truly awful CG. Here the CG is used more or less sparingly, and the makeup effects, particularly on the "Boss" monster at the end of the film, are quite well done.
Everything else is just totally lazy though. No one seems to be trying at all, Even Milla looks bored half the time. The action scenes are largely inconsequential (the first one could be removed entirely and it would have zero bearing on anything), the editing is way too rushed at times, and the established rules are only used when necessary (for example, a character who is bitten by a zombie takes a full DAY to turn). The characters are so interchangeable, you will think one of them is seemingly resurrected, because another one-dimensional guy who looks just like him was killed earlier, and we never really know either of them.
Now, obviously I didn't go into Resident Evil 3 expecting to be wowed by rich character development. And at least the 2nd film had the good sense to keep the action almost nonstop, knowing that any attempts at characterization and engaging story would just be ludicrous. Here, they eschew action AND characterization for endless scenes of the scientists at work, doing things like trying to domesticate the zombies. These scenes ultimately serve no real purpose at all, since the idea is dropped almost as soon as it's introduced. There's also some nonsense about Alaska that is never satisfyingly wrapped up. The action scenes are fine, but as said, they are inconsequential, and far too infrequent. Even the climax lacks any sort of oomph; the film ended at a point where I was sure there was another 20 minutes to go.
Everyone keeps saying this is the last one, and/or that Claire Redfield would be the new main character in a spinoff. I'm not totally opposed to the idea, but this film is clearly designed to have a sequel, as it ends with two big plotlines just being set up. So they damn well better have another one, because they more or less ruined this one by taking so much time setting it up.
And for the love of Mike, how hard is it to decapitate a goddamn zombie once in a while? Alice kills like 20 of them via a machete to the neck and not a single one loses his head in the process! Come on!!!
What say you?