When one gets to the third film of what could be a horror/sci-fi trilogy, certain gimmicks have to be introduced. These include but are not limited to: the end of the world (the risk of or the actual), deserts or cute critters of some sort. Not to be outdone, director Russell Mulcahy chocks Resident Evil: Extinction with all three!
The world is good and properly screwed by this third installment and Alice (Milla Jovovich) has taken up Leonard Smalls’ (Randall “Tex” Cobb in Raising Arizona (1987)) mantle as “the lone biker of the apocalypse.” Hiding from the evil Umbrella Corporation for fear of their turning her into a weapon, hiding from her friends for fear that they will be used against her by Umbrella and hiding from the hordes of zombies, because, well, they smell bad, Alice is wandering around directionless. Much like this movie.
It’s difficult to determine whether or not the lack of direction helps or hurts this movie. If it were on purpose, Mulcahy may have been showing through the film the terror and nothingness that awaits us poor survivors of the zombie apocalypse: a life of scrounging for food and praying that there will be a point to any of it. On the other hand, if it were not on purpose, it just goes to show that the filmmakers had no idea what to do with this installment and said “Screw it, put ‘em in the desert and release the crows!” I go back and forth.
Don’t misunderstand, Extinction has a lot going for it, not the least of which is the sexiest pile of corpses I’ve ever seen. (Yeah, I said it. Find a cuter corpse pit and we’ll talk.) Building off the ending of Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Alice has gone full-Tetsuo (Akira 1988). These powers come in hand when Claire Redfield’s (Ali Larter) convoy of survivors is attacked by a murder of zombie crows. That’s right, zombie crows. In one of the most metal moments in film history, Alice destroys them using her brain and fire.
Also, helping the film are above average zombie make-up and a heaping helping of Day of the Dead (1985) references. After five years, the zombies are looking a little worse for wear and the effects team did a wonderful job of showing that decomposing flesh and the sun do not mix. Meanwhile, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) works in an underground Umbrella facility with the foolish notion of domesticating the zombies into a viable workforce. Care to guess how that goes?
Like most third films, Extinction does not stand well on its own. However, within the series, it is not a bad installment and sets up a great ending that does actually continue into the fourth installment.