Well, look who came back for another dose of utter terrible batshit pain! It’s you! This is B-Movie Enema. I am Geoff Arbuckle. This is Resident Evil Sequel Month. This time around it’s the third installment, Resident Evil: Extinction from 2007.
We’re still with Paul W.S. Anderson on writing duty, but this is the last time that he would not direct an entry of the series. This time around, we have British director Russel Mulcahy. Mulcahy is probably best known to people come here to this page as the director of 1986’s Highlander. That movie is rad. Plus Queen’s soundtrack is amazing.
Speaking of the soundtrack, Mulcahy has two entirely separate careers – one in film and one in music. He has directed some of the greatest videos of the MTV era. Okay, maybe he doesn’t have the video for “Thriller” on his mantle, but check it out:
- “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes
- “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
- “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John
- “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John
- “True” by Spandau Ballet
- “Young Turks” by Rod Stewart
- “Hungry Like the Wolf” Duran Duran
- “Rio” by Duran Duran
- “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel
- “A Matter of Trust” by Billy Joel
- “Allentown” by Billy Joel
- “A Kind of Magic” by Queen
- “Princes of the Universe” by Queen
- “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles
Those are all very, very big time videos and that’s barely a fraction of what he’s done. Music videos have been around for a long, long time. They technically probably go back to the 50s or the early 60s, but The Monkees would be notable as the first to include a short form, non-concert video to accompany their songs on their weekly TV show. In 1981, MTV would change everything by having these short films played to music become an artform of its own. Mulcahy’s video for The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” changed the world. He would go on to work with Bill Joel several times, Elton John a whole bunch, and Duran Duran a bunch. Those three acts had decade defining stardom on the radio, on tour, and especially MTV.
By the mid-80s, Mulcahy wanted to do more films, so he did so. Highlander would go on to cult fandom. That’s about as good as it gets, though, as Highlander II: The Quickening is a joke, and most of his other movies were relatively obscure in the grand scheme of things. However, think about this for a second… It’s no wonder that he gets offered a Resident Evil sequel. He’s probably a director who works for hire. He’s got tricks from his time as a music video director, and, goddamn, sometimes the editing and the action of these movies feel like a music video more than anything.
I think he made a good choice to do this as this film would go on to make nearly $150 million at the box office.
Let’s dive in, but before we do, let’s get everyone caught up on the saga of Alice (Milla Jovovich). In the first film, Alice is awoken to fractured memories and a catastrophe happening underneath the seemingly abandoned mansion she finds herself in. Underground, a biological weapon called the T-virus has escaped and turned a bunch of people into zombies. She and love interest Matt are spared by saving the day when she remembers her security training and bad ass fighting skills, but they are both taken to the Raccoon City medical facility and messed with.
When she wakes up, the city is fucked. She teams up with disgruntled former tactical officer Action Man McGee (Oded Fehr), Jill Valentine (not present in this movie), and a few other scamps to find a little girl who is a sort of genetic miracle with the T-virus and its antivirus. She gets help from Nemesis (a mutated Matt), and defeats the bad guy only for all their work to be brushed under the rug and her now part of a whole other experiment that seems an awful lot like Umbrella Corporation brainwashing or programming.
Alright, let’s dive in, shall we?
Hey… Wait a minute. I’ve been here before. This is exactly how the first film in the series opened. Alice wakes up having fallen in the shower and confused about this mysterious mansion she finds herself alone in. She then puts on a red dress with army boots and investigates her surroundings. However, things take a different turn when she walks into a room that looks like the laser cutting room that the soldier people in the first got cut up in.
Sure enough, the lasers come for her, but she avoids them by going up into the duct. She drops down into the Raccoon City hospital that she woke up in at the end of the first and beginning of the second movie. She tries to take a gurney to the door, but a blade comes and slices it in half just before she walked through the booby trap. Next, she trips another trap and a thing pops up from the floor and shoots her in the stomach. She dies.
The guy she talked to when she woke up in the facility at the end of last movie is there and apparently is making Alice clones. This is part of what’s referred to as Project Alice. We see some biohazard guys dump her body in a ditch with dozens of other dead Alices. Apparently they’ve all died in the same trap inside the facility. This is done out in the middle of the desert and the number of zombies approaching the fenced in dumping ground for dead Alices is quite concerning.
Thankfully the real Milla Jovovich has some story to tell us. Umbrella thought they controlled the virus. when they blew up Raccoon City. They didn’t. Within weeks, the United States was wiped out. Within months, the whole world was consumed by the T-virus. Here’s the shitty thing… it didn’t just kill life, it also dried up lakes and rivers. So stick that in your pipes and smoke it, environmentalists! It wasn’t humans destroying the planet after all!
What I basically get out of this intro and how we’re told that people avoided major cities and they learned to always stay moving. We’re basically hitting the Mad Max version of Resident Evil. Alice, the sexier Road Warrior, arrives at a radio station in Utah that was calling for help for their injured. She finds a woman with a baby that she needs help for, but it’s just a doll. It’s a trap. A guy apparently wants to rape her, but she kicks him so fucking hard in the face, it kills him. They knock her out, and she’s tossed in a cell or something.
They have her in what appears to be a cage that has some zombie dogs they plan to feed Alice to. Alice starts to dispatch these things easily despite being handcuffed at first. She does a thing that makes them fly into a wall causing them to fly into some spikes. She punches one. She electroshocks one. She eventually causes part of the ceiling above her to fall in and she is able to escape when the dogs turn their attention to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre-like family that have captured her.
We switch to a caravan of other survivors that include a bus full of children, our Action Man McGee, and a new character, Claire Redfield (also from the video games), played by the heavenly Ali Larter. Larter first got this blogger’s attention in movies like Varsity Blues, Drive Me Crazy, and the Final Destination series, as well as the television series Heroes. She supposedly likes guys with potbellies and not overly good looking. I can appreciate that in a lady.
Pimp man from the last movie, LJ, is still hanging out with this group to. I don’t know why I decided that he was a pimp, but that’s what I called him on a consistent basis last week. I suppose I can call Action Man McGee by his name, Carlos. Now that we have that settled, let’s see what’s going on with Umbrella Corporation.
In the underground facility, we have a board meeting with whatever it is that they would talk about at the end of the world. The CEO is perfectly evil looking with his sunglasses in an underground facility. Dr. Isaacs is the lead guy in charge of the science division at Umbrella. He says that with what he can harvest from the dead Alice clones, he should be able to come up with a serum that won’t just combat the T-virus, but reverse it. This will be something that can, maybe, give some of the intelligence back to the zombies and make them a class of citizen that would be good for labor – you know, a slave labor force. The chairman says Isaacs needs to focus on domesticating Project Alice and he has expectations of more info in a week. Isaacs makes a good point here: “Simply demanding results doesn’t make the results any better.” The chairman says that maybe he should find someone else who can give them the desired results.
This seems like a mistake waiting to happen.
On the road, Alice finds a guy’s journal with what appears to be plans to find this place people talk about in Alaska that seems to be free from infection. If he can get there, this guy thinks he’s gonna be safe or something. I also guess that guy gave up on his plans because she found him hanged. As the convoy continues on the road, they stop to find supplies. Unfortunately, LJ gets bitten by a zombie. All that time, he was completely and totally useless in the last movie, he’s much more experienced, a lot less goofy, but still gets bitten by a lady zombie before Carlos came to bail him out. That sucks, man.
Back at Umbrella, they continue their Project Alice domestication tests. They inject a zombie with the antivirus that they extracted from dead clone Alice and the zombie regains a tad bit of his normalcy. He knows what a cell phone is. He knows how to take a picture with a digital camera, and he can solve puzzles. Things are good, until the zombie gets frustrated, and he freaks out, busts his chains and attacks Isaacs’ assistants. The point is, Isaacs might be close.
We get a little more insight on the survivors and how they live. Claire is the bad ass boss. It’s her convoy. It’s her rules. It’s well run. The supplies found are doled out to each person and people don’t push their luck with getting more than their fair share. It’s a great little group, but every day, it’s getting harder and harder for them to keep supplies, and food, and gasoline. I get the impression everyone knows it’s only a matter of time before they have to change their way of life again.
Overnight, Alice is haunted by nightmares. The nightmares reminds her of the scary stuff that’s been happening to her over the years. It causes her to use her telekinesis. These new powers are something she’s not really come to terms with, but she probably should soon because the powers caused her to smash up her motorcycle. She’s now left to wander the desert.
The next nightmare is just around the corner though because we saw earlier that crows eat bits from zombies. That infects them. And now they want to eat more – from the living. Claire’s convoy is surrounded by infected crows ready to swoop in and eat them all.
Killer birds are nothing new, if we’re being honest, but they are no less fun. The Birds, Birdemic, Beaks: The Movie, even that one “Zombie” sequel that is really just a movie called Killing Birds. This is good stuff. You know, it doesn’t often get shown but it makes total sense. If dogs can be turned by either being bitten by a zombie or digesting a zombie, then doesn’t it seem like birds should also become carriers of the virus? Then, if that’s true, it’s really, really hard to defend yourself from birds. If a zombie apocalypse would happen, it seems we might be most in danger from birds than anything on the ground.
Also, this is just a cool shot.
While this is a perfect thing for Alice to do with her telekinetic powers, It’s a little bit of a cheat. As the birds focus on the school bus full of the kids and LJ and the girl he’s sweet on, Nurse Betty (Ashanti), Claire decides they have to evacuate the bus because the birds have them pinned in, and they are breaking the windows. Betty had taken quite a few nicks and pecks from the birds, so she decides to stay behind and let the birds finish her. That’s a major bummer because Mike Epps is the first person bitten. Ashanti is one of the first people to die of the main cast.
We’re getting awfully white around here.
Lucky for the majority of the convoy, Alice shows up and uses a combination of her powers and the flamethrower the survivors were using to repel the birds, to burn them all up. She passes out and Carlos takes her in with the rest of the surviving convoy. The next day, Alice wakes up to a teenager watching over her named K-Mart for where they found her hiding as they picked her up to join the convoy. The rest of the convoy are saying their goodbyes to those who were killed by the crows. Carlos catches Alice up on what Claire’s convoy is, how much trouble they got into over the last six months, etc.
Alice explains that she had to get away from Jill, Angie, LJ, and Carlos because she was being used by Umbrella. Everywhere she would go, they would know, and it would simply endanger her friends. Carlos seems to be accepting of this even though I’m guessing always having a telekinetic Milla Jovovich around would be helpful in a zombie apocalypse. She also admits that she doesn’t think it is a good idea for others to be around her and that’s why she’s stayed out alone.
Alright, this is the exact halfway point in Resident Evil: Extinction and I gotta say, I really like this movie. This is the first movie in the franchise that feels fresh. Yes, they are borrowing from Mad Max and Day of the Dead, but I’ll be a son of a gun if these characters actually feel like real, thought out characters. I complained last week that I didn’t believe for one solitary second that neither Alice nor Jill were female characters. That’s because they were written through the male gaze as tough bad asses who happened to be played by females. Nothing they did felt real. Nothing they did gave them any opportunity to present them in a light that felt true to the actress playing the part. I’m not saying that they can’t be bad asses. I’m just saying they felt like male machismo character written for girls who wear something sexy. It’s insincere.
One movie later, and hoo boy what a difference. This movie feels thought out and workshopped and perfected with some extra rewrites. Alice feels like a normal person who can do things but also can be vulnerable and a little confused. Ali Larter is fantastic as Claire who is both tough AND caring. You feel like she is meant to be played by a woman because there is a nuance that feels overtly feminine, and downright motherly, to her character. The same goes for Alice too. These are characters who seem to be carefully crafted for their actresses and played with genuine heart.
I like this movie. I… I like this? Yes, yes I do! This is the first time that feels like they are actually doing something that can be built upon and expanded into a real series that might interest me. We’ll see if this movie can stick the landing in the back half and where it goes from here.
Claire approaches Alice and tells her that everyone is real jazzed that she helped them with those birds, but based on what everyone saw Alice do, they are pretty goddamned frightened of her. Alice agrees that they probably should be. They both have a problem of people they care about dying. What neither of them realize is that Umbrella knows exactly where Alice is and it’s going to be a big ass problem for this band of merry survivors.
Dr. Isaacs says he really wants to go and pick up Alice. She, being the real deal and not some dummy clones that die quickly, The CEO is not keen on wasting resources on getting her. He tells Isaacs that he’s not to pursue this any further and continue to use what he has to make domestication a reality. The CEO is pretty final on Isaacs forgetting about the real Alice.
What the CEO doesn’t know is that Isaacs has already bent rules quite a bit to get what he needs for his research.
Claire, Alice, and Carlos, as well as a few other of the convoy people talk over the Alaska deal. Claire is quite concerned. Too many times they have responded to people asking for help over the radio for them to arrive too late. Alaska is insanely far away and the convoy’s resources are running low. Claire says that the only place they can stock up would be a big city. The closest one is Las Vegas. It will be dangerous, but it is the only place they can find what they need to make it to Alaska.
At Umbrella, Isaacs takes a sample of the CEO’s voice and does exactly what I expected him to do, authorizes resources to go after Alice. On top of that, not only is the convoy going directly into what will likely be a pretty bad place in Las Vegas, and they are being followed by Umbrella, but LJ has still not told anyone that he’s infected and he’s slipping fast.
There be surprises in Las Vegas. After the apocalypse, the desert took back the city. With no activity, or people, or, well, anything, there really wasn’t anything to keep the sand back. There’s absolutely nothing in Las Vegas – which seems to mean no zombies. Alice figures the birds she roasted moved block by block and picked the place clean of even the zombies. LJ lets them know that there are gas pumps in the garages that the valets use will have pumps in them. Speaking of, he’s really not looking good. He can barely stand in the hot desert sun.
In order to get where the gas pumps are, the convoy needs to clear a shipping container. Alice figures there is something wrong with it, and sure enough, it’s full of the smarter, faster zombies that Isaacs have been making. We finally get some over the top action from Alice, but this feels so much more earned having to wait for end of the second act. These monsters are quite the problem too. These feel like serious problems and not just something that their numbers will be enough to overpower our good guys.
Isaacs is able to use some sort of installed program that is part of that whole satellite thing that Alice has been avoiding for years to shut her down through the original Project Alice protocols that have been part of the finale of the last movie’s conclusion. While Alice is stuck and trying to fight the conditioning, Claire’s convoy is taking heavy, heavy losses. As LJ is taking shelter in a truck with K-Mart, he turns and tries attacking the teenager. Carlos pulls him off, but LJ bites him, and Carlos puts a bullet in his head, but he’s pretty much fucked.
Alice fights off the conditioning to the point that it screws up the satellite, she then makes her way to the command center Isaacs is in. He barely escapes but not before one of his super zombies bites him. Back at the Umbrella super base, Isaacs is in a bad way. Because he increased the “powers” of those super zombies, it also increased the effects of their bite. So, yeah, the dude is barely able to hold off becoming one of the zombies. He also thinks that taking as much antivirus as he has, maybe it will make him something a little more than what they’ve seen before.
Isaacs is ousted by a guy named Wesker who is already not too keen on the things Isaacs has been doing against the orders of their boss. So he shoots Isaacs. This triggers a massive mutation thanks to all the shit that is now flowing through the bad doctor’s body. He becomes a creature called Tyrant. And he’s got some new stuff to show off to Wesker.
Basically the only top guys left of the convoy are Alice, Claire, K-Mart, and a dying Carlos. They are taking a look at the situation there down there and with all the zombies surrounding the gates to the entry of the facility, it’s a tough nut to crack. Carlos has a plan. He knows it is too late for the antivirus. So he is going to drive a tanker into the crowd of zombies and blow it up to wipe out as many of them as he can. K-Mart, Claire, and Alice get as many of what survivors are left to the chopper and they fly off to safety while Alice finishes her business with Umbrella.
Alice gets into the facility and it appears that Tyrant has laid waste to the place in quick order. The compound’s AI, the White Queen, tells Alice everything that has happened. Isaacs is bad and a monster, Alice’s blood is the key to a potential cure for the T-virus, and the facility does have everything she would need to synthesize said cure. But there’s a problem – Isaacs is a super duper monster. So… I guess that’s what they have to deal with first.
Alice goes into the section where the AI has restricted Isaacs, and she sees impaled bodies of the other people who were at the facility as if it is a trophy room. She also sees a naked clone of herself. I guess it’s not all that ghastly down there. Isaacs knocks Alice into her clone bubble and that wakes her clone up. Maybe we will have two Alices to fight the super monster? No. I immediately guessed that wrong. I suppose clone Alice didn’t cook long enough because she dies.
Alice tries to follow Isaacs and finds the mansion set from the first movie. Isaacs attacks and she realizes that he has very quick regenerative powers. He goes for some tentacle action on her, but she slices some off and then she uses her telekinesis, but that weakens her. He then counters with super scream powers that knocks her into that laser room. Meanwhile, we see that clone Alice is waking up again. The lasers slice up Isaacs, and before they get to Alice, we see clone Alice turning off the lasers.
In Japan, 17 hours later, the CEO talks about how they are going to transfer all the data to Japan and he’ll oversee Isaacs’ work himself. Alice pops in on the meeting and tells the board that she’s coming for them and bringing a whole bunch of clones of herself.
I quite liked this entry. It’s not something I would necessarily recommend on its own, but if you watch the first three movies within some sort of close order, this one stands out for sure. Where the first two films felt like exercises in kind of stupid, lowest common denominator schlock, this movie feels like it took time to actually, you know, be good? While there are a few nitpicks I can give the movie like how the third act is a lot of the over the top action that can be laughable, the final fight between Alice and Isaacs is actually much more toned down and well done. I guess my biggest complaint is that the two black characters are kind of pruned quickly.
But overall, this feels like Anderson took his time, thought about what he could do with the movie and it really works in this post-apocalyptic style. Now, I suppose, this movie is quite the departure from the first two movies. Those movies take place one right after the other, but this one is after a time jump. Those first two entries are a match. This movie is completely different and I guess if what you wanted to see was a balls to the wall fuckfest of terrible, then yeah, this third entry would be a bit off-putting and maybe you wouldn’t like it as much.
In a lot of ways, this movie reminds me a bit of the Phantasm sequels. That’s a series that goes into post apocalyptic business too. It’s not the same as the first movie that is about a younger brother scared of losing his loved ones and conjuring up all these terrible nightmares on a metaphysical level. I’m betting most people don’t care for a single one of the sequels half as much as they do the original because it goes way off the path into a wild universe-building nut-baggery.
Anyway, I don’t have many high hopes for the remaining entries in the Resident Evil franchise. No sir. We may have peaked here at the halfway point. Which I totally get. Because… well… same.
Next week, it’s Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth film of the franchise and probably one that has a whole bunch of Milla Jovovich clones running about and getting mowed down. If you want to stay up to date on the happenings at B-Movie Enema, be sure to follow B-Movie Enema on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll know when things are happening when. Also be sure to hop over to YouTube and subscribe to the channel because tomorrow, October 9, B-Movie Enema: The Series is here with a new episode where I’ll host Night of the Strangler. Be sure to check that out. And if you subscribe as I previously suggested, you’ll be able to check out all the little clips and stuff that I use in context here on the site (that would, by definition be out of context elsewhere) on the YouTube channel. Do that thing. Won’t ya do that thing?
So, until then, I’m gonna go see what I can do to get tackled by a literal mountain of Milla clones.