Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

Rating: **
Release Date: 9/21/07
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Oded Fehr, Spencer Locke, Ashanti, Iain Glen, Linden Ashby

What's better than watching Milla Jovovich kick zombie butt? How about two Millas? Or better yet, a dozen Millas? Maybe several dozen? And if "Resident Evil 4" is in the works as it's rumored to be, we may very well see an army of Millas making zombie kabobs in the near future. By this point, the franchise has strayed so far from the source material that it's hardly fair to even call it "Resident Evil" anymore, but director Russell Mulcahy still throws in some bizarre and non-sequitous game tie-ins. Following the T-virus breakout in "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" (2004), the entire world has become a zombie infested wasteland with only a handful of human survivors trying to stay a step ahead of the undead hordes. One such group of survivors is a caravan led by Claire Redfield (pretty Ali Larter) with help from Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr). While under attack in Nevada, they are rescued by the enigmatic Alice (stunning Milla Jovovich) and form an uneasy alliance with her. Her involvement catches the attention of the evil Umbrella Corporation, who has been trying to keep an eye on her since the last movie, and the maniacal Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) makes it a top priority to get a sample of her blood. This leads to a zombie bloodbath in Las Vegas followed by an assault on a nearby Umbrella hive.

What can I say? Yes, this movie is stupid, aimless, and gratuitously gory, but artfully directed. It seems to be a bizarre mix of "The Road Warrior" (1981), "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" (1985), "Serenity" (2005), and "Alien: Resurrection" (1997), with zombies thrown into the mix instead of other creatures. Once again, these aren't your classical zombies. No, these are "combat zombies" who are strong, quick, agile, and possess limited capabilities for reasoning and rational thought. Whatever. The real reason for watching the film is to see Milla Jovovich dispatch these foul creatures by whatever means possible. Her radiant beauty and unflinching intensity continue to intoxicate, but her action scenes are poorly staged and badly edited. The invasive wirework doesn't help, either. It's delightful to see "Resident Evil 2's" Claire Redfield finally make it into the series, but Jill Valentine is sadly missing. I guess they didn't want too many female leads competing for the audience's attention. While Ali Larter makes a great Claire and has some extremely satisfying girls-with-guns moments, she has amazingly little screen time. The movie is clearly all about Milla and everyone else is just a footnote. The other supporting character who really caught my attention was 16-year old Spencer Locke, who is utterly adorable. Thankfully she doesn't end up as a zombie entrée. The film has a strange 80's era horror vibe to it, and its lively pacing and thoughtful direction keep things entertaining. It's definitely a step up from "Resident Evil: Apocalypse", but I'm not sure it's a step in the right direction.