Sunday, November 27, 2016

Resident Evil: Extinction

1.5/4

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Oded Fehr, Iain Glen, Jason O'Mara, Mike Epps

Rated R for Strong Horror Violence Throughout and Some Nudity

Suspension of disbelief is a common necessity for many movies to work.  For example, when watching "The Lord of the Rings," we have to accept that Middle Earth is real.  When watching "The Peacemaker," we have to be willing to believe that two people can play a life-and-death game of bumper cars on the streets of Vienna and survive with no serious injury (or any significant coverage by the news).  For a zombie movie to work, we have to believe that it is possible for the dead to come back to life and have an insatiable desire for human flesh.  I'll accept that.  I'll even go so far as to accept that it's possible to have secret research labs the size of skyscrapers located underground.  But when you have characters who suddenly develop telekinesis in a zombie movie, it becomes too much.

It turns out that, despite the best (read: genocidal) efforts of the Umbrella Corporation, the zombie outbreak from "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" was not contained to Raccoon City.  It spread, and eventually the whole world was infected.  Claire Redfield (Larter) has been leading a group of survivors for the past few years, although she's been losing people left and right.  While they're getting attacked by a flock of zombified crows (!), they run into Alice, who saves them with her newfound telekinetic abilities.  She finds a journal that claims there is a safe haven in Alaska.  Plans are changed when they are intercepted by the nefarious Dr. Isaacs (Glen), who believes that he can harvest a cure from Alice's blood.

And it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous.  The more you think about this movie, the dumber it is, and while there are a few nicely staged action scenes, there isn't nearly enough adrenaline to compensate from the absurdity of the plot.  The script is lame and the performances range from the flat to just plain awful.

Milla Jovovich returns as the badass heroine with a pair of guns and one-liners.  She acquits herself relatively well amidst all the goofiness, although only as the "main" Alice.  The less said about her clones, the better.  Don't ask.  Seriously.  Ali Larter, who was cast on the "strength" of her performance in the "Final Destination" movies (has no one involved in this movie seen a Broadway play?) is flat as equally badass Claire Redfield.  She can't muster up any machismo.  Oded Fehr has charm, but isn't on screen long enough to save the movie.  Iain Glen foams at the mouth as the scientist with no conscience, but he's largely a one note psychopath.  Pop star Ashanti has a small role as one of the convoy, but she doesn't have a lot of screen time.  That's the one merciful act on the part of the filmmakers since her "acting" is embarrassingly bad.

The first two installments of the franchise were stupid fun.  Here's to hoping that the franchise will regain its footing, however meager that may be.

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