Film Review - Resident Evil: Extinction

Sep 25, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Resident Evil: Extinction      1 star
Starring Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Mike Epps, Iain Glen and Ali Larter. Directed by Russell Mulcahy. Released by Screen Gems. Rated R; 1:35.

    Jam-packed with zombie neck-slicing and spraying arteries, the third installment in the “Resident Evil” series excites the senses about as much as watching (red) paint dry. “Resident Evil: Extinction” — that’s “RE:E” to you — may be bloody, but in the thrill department, it’s anemic, with about as much personality as the circuit board in an Xbox 360.

    As heroine Alice, Milla Jovovich sports a strange plastic sheen that resembles the visage of robot boy Haley Joel Osment in “A.I.” The difference is that when Jovovich cries, her tears are more convincing as the mechanical malfunction of a cyborg than as a human expressing emotion. Jovovich’s character is less flesh and blood than the computer pixels that birthed this heroine.

    Russell Mulcahy (whose laudably trashy “Ricochet” rivals “The Last Boy Scout” for the blue ribbon of early ’90s action nihilism) directs with a hand that alternates between ineptitude and uninspired proficiency. The movie’s plot is secondhand, but that doesn’t excuse its third-rate execution. “RE:E” is even more airless than “300,” and it doesn’t even pull off a fraction of that film’s visual ingenuity.

    This raises questions about how well the filmmakers know their audience. “RE:E” caters to action-movie and video-game geeks, two highly correlated segments, but it doesn’t come close to the bar that’s been set high by the competition.

    For example, last summer’s “28 Weeks Later” reached heights of existential dread and visceral shock rarely seen in zombie horror movies since George Romero’s heyday. With a mercifully short running time, “RE:E” seems almost apologetic for its lack of thrills. The movie’s “nonstop” action is about as jolting as watching your friend play the same video-game level for the 10th time in a row.

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