Movies based on computer games need a genre all of their own. They’re not like anything else. They aren’t supposed to be high art, or to create great characters or great stories or anything else – they’re supposed to be cheap, fun, and over within 90 minutes.
They’re also, it has to be said, pretty self-indulgent. Game movies assume that their audiences have played the games and will recognise the characters’ names and locations. They’ll use hopeless CGI that looks like PlayStation graphics, give their characters quests and have them pick up daft objects along the way. And if you’re an avid gamer, you might feel frustrated at the lack of interactivity; if you’ve never played a console game in your life, you’ll probably be enraged by the lack of logic. But if, like me, you love the idea of computer games but suck horribly at actually playing them, then there’s a lot of voyeuristic pleasure that can be got out of watching them.Resident Evil: Extinction is kind of a silly movie. But then, if you’ve watched the first two, you wouldn’t expect anything else. The indestructible Alice is back, and in fine ass-kicking mode. Carlos Olivera is back, and Code Veronica‘s Claire Redfield has shown up, in the place of Resident Evil: Apocalypse‘s Jill Valentine.
The three of them head up a convoy of survivors hoping to escape the zombie hordes in a world completely overtaken by the undead. Filmed in a Mexican desert, this looks very much the part of the post-apocalypse movie, right down to the survivors’ bizarre post-apocalypse fashion choices.
Because 95 minutes of rusty old trucks ploughing through zombies would have been a bit dull, the Umbrella Corporation is, as usual, up to something nasty – Dr Isaacs, immediately singled out as the evil scientist by his tendency to pronounce the word ‘flesh’ as ‘flessssssh’, has been working on a cure for the T-virus. Only, in order to do so, he’s been cloning Alice left, right and centre, and his efforts have met with only limited success. Specifically, he’s managed to create a Romero-homaging sentient zombie that can use a mobile phone and a digital camera but still wants to eat your brains. He’s determined to re-capture the original Project Alice, and so starts unleashing his super-zombies back out into the wild.
Oh, yeah, and there are zombie crows, and someone gets turned into the Tyrant, and the zombie dogs are back for a cameo appearance.
Resident Evil: Extinction is just balls to the wall video game nonsense. There’s plenty of blood and gore; plenty of zombies wandering around; and plenty of explosions. There’s very little dialogue and virtually no characterisation. But who cares? You will, I admit, need to be feeling fairly affectionate towards the movie to let it get away with some of its antics – the CGI birds and zombies look rubbish at times, not to mention the extreme airbrushing done to Milla Jovovich’s face that means her skin changes colour by about three shades between a long shot and a close-up. Everything is very, very silly and the zombies in no way represent a plausible threat.
But it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Milla Jovovich is running around, being awesome, shooting zombies, kicking zombies, slicing up zombies with enormous blades, and then standing around looking cool. Things explode. Heads explode. Bullets pass through zombie skulls in slow motion and CGI blood spurts out the other side. And the ending… the ending is preposterous, but at the same time, awesome.
Resident Evil: Extinction knows what it is. It knows who its audience is. And it’s out to have fun, safe in the knowledge that as long as Milla keeps kicking things, people will keep buying tickets.