By the time film franchises make it to a third entry, it usually either marks the end of the franchise or a depressing grab at what made the original films so special in the first place -- and then there's Resident Evil: Extinction. Not only have the filmmakers turned the series' premise on its head with the post-apocalyptic setting, but they've gone out of their way to further complicate the story -- even so far as demanding a continuation at its head-scratching finale. All of this would make more sense if the quality of the films demanded it, but if anything, the series has lagged in quality rather than becoming more focused by learning what worked before. While not nearly as outrageous as the action overload of the second film, the third settles into somewhat of a serious tone, more like the original, except this time, it's all presented in a ho-hum fashion, thanks in part to Russell Mulcahy's glossy but largely geriatric direction. As to what his lensing is missing -- for one, the scares that are there just don't work, which would be okay if the action were amped up to realize the pic's full potential. While Extinction evokes a distinct Road Warrior feel, there's nary a time that it delivers on that level of excitement, despite its obvious throwback nature in terms of visuals and stunts. On the plus side, Milla Jovovich still delivers a tough-cookie performance and lives up to her action-starlet status, with her acrobatics being some of the most impressive feats of the film (though what's with the digital smoothing they obviously threw on her face in the close-ups?). Questionably aided dermatology aside, the flick gets points for expanding upon its own mythology while still throwing in a few nods to the gaming crowd -- it's just too bad that they couldn't have spiced up the recipe a bit more so that the onscreen action met the lofty ambitions of the script.
by Jeremy Wheeler review