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Or: OK, now you’re just pulling ominous-sounding words out of a hat, aren’t you?
Resident Evil: Apocalypse’s $45 million budget managed to bank $50 million in the U.S. and a total of $130 million worldwide. Despite some glaring flaws in its second installment, the franchise was on a roll and Hollywood never saw a successful franchise it couldn’t run into the ground. Luckily, behind-the-scenes decisions were taken to ensure that a lackluster product like Apocalypse wouldn’t derail the gravy train too early.
Resident Evil: Extinction is entirely its own beast. Forgoing any link beyond character names to events presented in the video games, Extinction forges ahead on its own. The movie franchise is all the healthier for it, with Extinction, Afterlife, and the upcoming Retribution forming a sort of unofficial trilogy.
Ditching no-name directors for a keen hand at the tiller, Extinction is helmed by Russell Mulcahy, a veteran of dozens of movies including the original Highlander and his experience at big-budget projects is evident from to word go.
His skill is obvious in an opening scene, in which a Resident Evil 2002-era Alice is put through the wringer in a mock-up of the old Hive laboratory. She’s shockingly dispatched and carted off to a landfill overflowing with discarded, red-dressed Alices. Here we find out that Umbrella is trying desperately to clone Milla Jovovich. Jovovichs for everybody!
The planet has gone to ruin. Massive deserts cover North America and thepopulation as gone forth and multiplied faster than bunnies overdosing on Viagra. Oh! Oh, God! Now I’ve got images of zombie sex in my head. Excuse me a second while I poke myself in the short-term memory with a sharpened Q-tip. Ah, much better. Of course, now I can’t remember my own name, but it’s not like it’s a valued part of my everyday life. Moving on!
Alice joins up with a rag-tag… wait, this sounds familiar, uh, a rag-tag group of survivors, including the returning Oded Fehr (yeah!) and Mike Epps (mumble…). New additions include Claire Redfield, played by a tolerable Ali Larter, which long-time gamers might remember as one-half of the fighting Redfields, Chris being kept in the wings for the next installment, Afterlife.
Meanwhile, in their totally evil underground lair, Umbrella executives continue to plot and come up with ways to use their viruses to… well, actually, I’m not quite sure what the heck they’re up to. The world is a desolated wasteland, humanity, as the title implies, is on the path to extinction, and these morons are still trying to come up with recreational ways to use the undead. What exactly is their business plan at this point?
Anyway, Extinction is a pretty decent action/horror movie combo. There are swarms of zombie birds, massive roaming hordes of undead, and Alice even bumps into a family of inbred cannibals because it’s not a post-apocalyptic movie until you run into your first clan of inbred cannibals.
Mulcahy directs the action scenes with aplomb, the cast is having a lot more fun than in the previous entry, and the script is more polished, offering a better variety of witty one-liners. To top things off, the whole thing ends with Alice in charge of a large army of her clones, on her way to really wreck Umbrella’s shit. Good times!
Resident Evil: Afterlife comes right at you after the jump…