I am not sure why and I may be the minority on this but I think Extinction is my favorite of the Resident Evil franchise. Why? Well hear me out.
Extinction begins with a half-naked Alice (Milla Jovovich) waking up in the abandoned set of the first movie. Bingo, connection to the original film. Yet there is a shock twist to the opening. Trust me if your ever seeing the movie for the first time, you never see it coming. But the twist enhances Alice’s character and reveals what she is and nicely sets up the whole tone of the movie. It is actually a brilliant opening.
The movie doesn’t let up from there as we are exposed to the third film’s theme “zombie wasteland”. The third film not only expands Alice’s character but also introduces to new supporting characters (oh and one old). These soon to be zombie victims are quite well thought out and led by Ali Larter’s Claire Redfield.
Extinction is a solid sequel but unlike most sequels calls directly back to the original film and then ups the ante. The direction, cinematography, style and substance is all first notch. This is strange to say coming from a director like Russell Mulcahy who had made a really good movie since 1986’s Highlander. (Yes I have a soft spot in my heart for his under-appreciated movies like Real McCoy and The Shadow).
Another thing I enjoyed was the new setting of the movie. The bright sands of the desert and blown out colors were so much better than the dreary, rainy drab of the second film. I even enjoyed the contrast between deep inside Umbrella and the wasteland.
The undead crow swarm could have been a sore spot in the series but really I thought it was awesome and proved that everything is a threat in the Resident Evil universe. Not just zombies and undead dogs.
Yes Extinction is full of zombie cliches, super over-the-top action scenes and some corny dialogue but it goes hand in fist with the series.
Milla’s raw beauty and softness is also toned down in this entry in the series. She is conveyed as more of a rugged survivor (ala The Man with No Name) than a hotter than hot kick ass chick. The expansion of Alice’s character also gives Milla plenty of stuff to work with especially with her new powers. I loved the progression.
The final lab battle even with some its revelations does not live up to the meat of the film. But still this sequel was miles better than the second film and I would say in some ways rivaled the original.
The Resident Evil series is a guilty pleasure for me and maybe I am the only one to say this but yeah #3 is still my fave.
4.25 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer