DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Resident Evil: Extinction - DVD Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Unsolved mysteries have long been an interest to many... there is/was(?) even a TV show about them. Missing persons, alien abductions, murders, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, medical miracles, and all manner of subjects are covered. But there is a mystery that has grown from year to year in the world of film, never being discussed, ever since the advent of sequel popularity: Why is something that is almost always inferior, unoriginal, and a let down to most, such an easy peddle for the studios to make and the people to pay to go watch? Perhaps in the world of the almighty dollar, and the homogenisation of the world through corporations and franchises, demand for quality has gone down, and the need for a recognisable brand has gone way, way up?

The last instalment of the Resident Evil franchise Apocalypse - was so appalling bad, that had it been a burger, all who partook would have spat it back in its makers' faces. But this was a film, and obviously made enough money, because now we have Resident Evil: Extinction to perpetuate the franchise. Thankfully, this one is leaps and bounds improved from the last instalment. But considering what a steaming pile of crap Apocalypse was, this is hardly a compliment.

Playing like a Saturday morning cartoon crossed with Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) sprinkled with zombies, Extinction picks up the story several years after the initial infection. The world has gone all dry and waste-landy (I am coining a new phrase) and our heroine from the last two films, Alice, (gorgeous Milla Jovovich) is doing her best to avoid the evil Umbrella corporation. She meets up with a bunch of rag tag survivors after finding a diary that suggest there may be an infection-free haven in Alaska, and of course they decide that's worth checking out. But the evil Umbrella corporation wants Alice's body (who doesn't?) to make more evil experiments to better their situation, and a showdown becomes inevitable.

Like most of Paul WS Anderson's scripts, Extinction is big on ideas and small on cohesion, tension, logic, or character depth. The man can deliver spectacle as good as anyone, but it's always with wafer thin story attached and motivations a retarded monkey would object to. The characters are one-dimensional, bland, clichéd, unnatural, and impossible to relate to or feel for.

Directing this instalment is Highlander helmer Russel Mulcahy. The film's production values are high, and as a result looks slick and well-polished. There are, however, copious nods to other movies (especially the Mad Max films) and this becomes tiresome and out of place for a supposed zombie film. There are some very elaborate shots throughout the film that are delivered with technical precision and mastery, but they're just not that interesting because they add to the most predominant fault of the entire franchise: zero tension/mystery.

One of the most frustrating elements of all three films is this tendency to show a schematic of where everything is before the characters move into that area. These scenes look very impressive, especially as transitions from one scene to another, but they completely kill any sense of foreboding or mystery that might arise. This is one thing a zombie film should be loaded with, and the Resident Evil films have none of.

The make-up effects are again impressive and slick and indicative of a good budget. Gone is the moronic rubber headed villain with Kiss boots from Apocalypse, but they tread dangerously close to replicating this travesty with the new main bad-dude. The action is impressive, and dynamic Jovovich again throws herself into acrobatic Martial Artistry but, like the rest of the film, soulless.

Before the opening of this third film (which, like the other two, has become a roaring success) the makers claimed that this would be the final instalment (Bull-poopy!). If that was the case, then someone forgot to tell them you wrap up the story threads in the third instalment of a trilogy - and considering their story threads could be counted on one hand, this shouldn't have been a tall order - but the story is as open-ended as a bag of potato chips at a Fat Farm. Thus the rumoured Resident Evil: Afterlife (Live-Action) and the confirmed Resident Evil: Degeneration (CGI).

There is obviously a fan base out there for these kinds of films and for Anderson's writing. While not one of them, this reviewing must concede that the Resident Evil films are one of the most successful game-to-film franchises to date, and at the top of a very stinky pile thus far. If Resident Evil is to continue, here's hoping the makers decide to challenge themselves with a little more than what different landscape to set it in, and actually try for a compelling story. Combined with the action what a great film they might be... and then, perhaps, that great mystery of why we continue to pay for these instalments will be answered.


DVD

DVD Details:



Run of the mill featurettes; commentaries; and more trailers than Youtube.

Screen Formats: 2.35:1

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access..

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with director Russell Mulcahy, producer Jeremy Bolt and writer/producer Paul W. S. Anderson.
* Deleted Scenes - 11 scenes that didn't make the final cut for a combined additional 08:28 of runtime:
o Tracking Alice
o Fresh One
o Dr. Isaac's Research
o 'Forever Hopeful'
o Coping With Reality
o The 87th
o Legend Of Alice
o Alice's Powers
o The Drive To Vegas
o Vegas Memories
o Remembering The Lost
* Featurettes:
o Alice Vision: Pre-production (7:06)
o The Big Bang: Shooting Resident Evil: Extinction (13:53)
o Bigger, Faster, Stronger: The Undead Evolve (6:07)
o Vegas Visual Effects: Miniatures (4:49)
* Previews:
o Resident Evil: Degeneration (1:01)

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