Friday, October 05, 2007

Resident Evil: Extinction

My Name is Milla

With Extinction, the Resident Evil franchise perhaps have made its mark as the most enduring computer game turned movie to date. Most of such movies usually make for cheesy lazy weekend entertainment, little in depth but filled with plenty of set action pieces, which for the most parts are nothing groundbreaking. But what this franchise has to credit for its longevity, is Milla Jovovich.

OK, so she has made mostly mediocre movies of late (I sense some fanboys will get me for this, but let me put it straight, I'm a fan of hers too), especially with the lacklustre Ultraviolet, and the really showy .45. If not best remembered for her role as Leeloo in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element (still credited in my books as the ONLY film I watched with having zero prior knowledge on anything about it), then it'll be for her role as Alice, the zombie butt kicking superbeing whose blood holds the key to a reversal of the effects of the T-virus engineered by the evil Umbrella Corporation.

The premise here is similar to that of 28 Days/Weeks Later, where the virus is now out of control, and mutates humans into flesh chomping zombies, spreading mayhem worldwide. Human survivors are few and far between, and where we left off from Apocalypse, Alice is now travelling the world alone, seeking refuge and peace, while evading Umbrella's gunsights. It presumably takes place a significant amount of time after the predecessor, given that Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) doesn't return for this, keeping the doors open for either an unlikely spin off, or a revisit into the gap in timeline should Guillory sign on the dotted line.

But I guess as Juvovich fans, we don't really care, do we? So long as we get to see our heroine in action, we're satisfied, whether she's causing misery to her opponents from her twin handguns, double Kukri knives or just her incredibly toned limbs, we're rooting for her all the way, dressed in garb personally designed by Juvovich herself, which provides for both form and functionality. The trend of casting pretty women to pair with her continues, with the first movie having Michelle Rodriguez, the second with Guillory, and now, Heroes' Ali Larter and Spencer Locke join the fray. However, they are relegated to more pedestrian roles as compared to previous partners, so don't be expecting much from them, especially for fans of Larter.

The story can be no more simpler than Alice serving as a messiah for a small convoy of survivors headed by Larter's Claire, delivering them a message to journey to the promised land in Alaska. But of course the road to Peace and No Infection is plagued by challenges which culminates in a big battle in Las Vegas, where the trailers have teased with the entire city being semi-buried in sand. And like a video game, all levels will lead to their respective Big Boss to do battle with, and Extinction doesn't evade that formula too. Watching Alice grow in power, provides a lot of kick in some of the cool things she can do, enhanced with special effects of course.

Don't expect the franchise to slam the door of opportunity shut on itself. By the look of things, we might even see a fourth movie coming up in perhaps two or three years time (the interval between the movies thus far). Expect plenty of blood and gore as our heroes cut through ugly zombies like hot knife through butter, and none other does it more balletic and graceful than Milla Juvovich. You go, girl!

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