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Voodoo Joe

Zombies Are Totally Played Out

I entered the cinema yesterday in fear and trepidation.

Why?

Because I was going to pay perfectly good money to watch the third in the Resident Evil series – Resident Evil: Extinction. Had I learned nothing from the sequel? Apparently not.



I knew something was wrong when I handed my ticket to the usher and he smirked. He knew what horrors awaited me and he found joy in it. How empty his soul must be, that he finds pleasure in other people’s pain. Although to be fair, I’m an idiot with too much money and time to waste as I can afford to watch films I know I’ll hate. So who’s the real villain here?

Well, it’s the usher. I’m telling the story so he can sod off. Smirking fool.

ironjawa was waiting outside the door of the cinema screen itself. He had gone into the screen several minutes before me and then come out again. He claimed he was looking for me. I think he had felt a terrible sense of foreboding and dread and was considering fleeing the cinema, running home and barricading the flat against the palpable sense of doom Resident Evil: Extinction was radiating. Upon seeing the steely look of determination on my face, he found new courage and was able to re-enter the screen. We were much like the veterans of a war, knowing that this next offensive could be our last, knowing that we may never see home or our loved ones again, knowing that we will never know how ‘Trapped in the Closet’ will end, knowing that we were about to endure 90 minutes of hell on earth.

There was a bright spark of hope before the main feature began; a trailer for 30 Days of Night appeared and it looks rather good. Hopefully they’ll pad the film out a little bit as the graphic novel has a great idea for a story but doesn’t really go into a lot of detail or characterization. It’s not a long read by any stretch. Still, it’s an extremely atmospheric idea (remote Alaskan town is about to enter a whole month without sunlight when vampires visit – hilarity ensues) and the look of the film reminds me of John Carpenter’s The Thing – it should be a corker.

So yeah, the Resident Evil film. The problem is, it’s not actually as bad as the sequel. That doesn’t mean it’s good. It just means it’s simply a waste of 90 minutes and a trip to the cinema. This is a straight to DVD movie really; the plot is quite limited in scope and restricted to only a few locations and action sequences. The characters are sketches of personalities at best; the plot is pretty weak as it revolves around a convoy of survivors happening to be near an Umbrella Corporation research facility in Las Vegas as a new breed of zombies are created by a mad scientist. There are lots of action sequences but the direction is a little flat and doesn’t really create the excitement needed for scenes where Milla Jovovich chops up scores of zombies with machetes. Why they use Las Vegas and only make use of a couple of landmarks, I don’t know. They could’ve had a big casino shoot out but the Las Vegas scenes just end up being a brawl in the desert with a replica Eiffel Tower & Statue of Liberty in the background. I wanted exploding slot machines and casino chips flying around while bullets whiz about – that’s proper action!

Ali Larter appears as a tough trucker/convoy leader and is wholly unconvincing with her stunning good looks, perfect hair and make-up. It’s good to know that even though the human race is near dead, women find time to look their best. It’s not just Ali Larter though, ALL the women are wearing make-up (apart from one skanky evil woman in the opening scene).

“Hi, I’m Ali Larter. You may remember me as the hero with a split personality in Heroes. When I’m facing the apocalypse and a ravening horde of the undead, it’s tempting to let myself go and just not bother with my looks anymore. But I know that would be giving in. I know that’s what the undead hordes would want. So for the sake of humanity, I use L’Oreal. Because survival doesn’t mean you should look like a hobo.”

The rest of the human survivors have little to no personality traits and merely serve as fodder for the shambling hordes of undead. The survivors are traveling America looking for other survivors and avoiding the zombie hordes. Milla Jovovich joins up with them and suggests they go to Alaska as it’s remote and zombie-free according to some crazy diary she found on a suicide victim. Hmmm… I don’t think I’d trust the diary of someone like that, not to mention that the diary contains no directions other than a picture of Alaska and a big red circle saying “Safe”.

There’s nothing new brought to the zombie table in this film, running zombies appear, zombie dogs are back again, scientists try to domesticate a zombie with hilarious results, and the evil crows from the first Resident Evil game finally make their appearance.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend you see Resident Evil: Extinction. It’s perfect as a drunken DVD but it doesn’t cut the mustard as a cinema film. It’s not as horrendously bad as the second film and it’s not as good as the first. If you haven’t seen any of the other films in the series then you’ll have no interest in this film and you’ve also saved about 5 or 6 hours of your life.

Comments

I found it very 'Mad Max with Zombies'

A good cure was re-watching the first Resident Evil movie.