Resident Evil: Extinction was released in 2007. The production bought in a total of $8,372 per screen in its opening weekend. The film features direction from Mr. Russell Mulcahy, with Mr Paul Anderson and Ms Milla Jovovich returning as writer and actor, respectively.
We open with a pleasing nod to reality – by which I mean the global climate effects that appear to have been released by the viral-infected horde. Wolves introduced into the Yellowstone National Park took a mere two years to alter the course of rivers. It is reasonable to assume that the simultaneous infection of all multicellular life on Earth would lead to large-scale environmental changes, and I am happy to see that this possibility has been accounted for by Mr. Mulchahy.
The film’s opening also features a realistic attitude to human frailty, as Ms. Jovovich kicks an assailant so hard that he dies. In human combat, deaths regularly occur after a single strike. Many of the people in the Resident Evil society regularly laugh off injuries that would provide crippling and long-term damage – I am heartened by the application of thought in this case.
Sadly, these misty hopes cannot withstand contact with the harsh light of unreality. I shudder to say it, but this film has defeated my professional demeanor. What can one say when faced with a lead character who can apparently manipulate external objects with her mind?
One may well note that the ability to control fire and solid objects has never before been seen as the result of a viral infection. But to what purpose? Here, I must admit defeat – one can only sink one’s head in one’s hand and mourn for Mr. Anderson’s wits, having written such a thing.
We follow this with a return to what I am coming to realize is the hallmark of the Umbrella Corporation – flagrant disregard for even the basic guidelines of experimental design. I myself am far from a professional in the scientific field, but even a hobbyist such as myself can see the errors implicit in their research. Some context – the film features a number of clones of Ms Jovovich, who are apparently being run through a simulation of the deadly mansion featured in the first production. Umbrella may have started on the correct road by using cloned subjects, thus avoiding natural variation as far as possible. But the research appears slap-dash – it is not clear what, if any, reproducible science is meant to come out of the cavalcade of deaths.
In my own experience, of course, death is an accepted, even desired, outcome of the meat preparation field. But I am given to understand that any proposed research on living things must be subject to a cost-benefit analysis.
The research is apparently being carried out to investigate her character’s strange abilities, and yet the clones do not exhibit any signs of such powers during testing – nor, it seems, would use of said powers be a positive thing for the researchers, who otherwise claim an estimable motive in creating a cure, or at least a more docile, controllable T-virus-infected specimen. This goal would appear unrelated to the production, outfitting, and destruction of several red-dress-sporting versions of the aforementioned Ms. Jovovich.
To no one’s surprise, the lead researcher, a Dr. Isaacs, dies as he lived, with careless disregard for the most elementary safety procedures. I am sad to see that we yet again return to the well of bodily transformations, as Dr. Isaacs becomes the latest in a long line of infected persons to produce extraneous tentacles from his body. One hates to be a broken record, but I would feel remiss in my professionalism if I did not point out, yet again, that this production serves no pressing need. I might add that, with no apparent outside source for this matter, one must assume his body is manufacturing the necessary organic molecules from the very air around him. It is hardly necessary to point out that this seems an unlikely secondary mutation for even the versatile T-virus to acquire.
In the end, this production is flawed beyond redemption. For now, I leave you with the hope that the remaining films can take inspiration from the more promising opening sequence, and attain that level of professionalization of which I am sure they are capable. The title Resident Evil: Afterlife, is certainly not promising, but it is all one can do to be an optimist in this world.
Note: The meat processing professional would like to thank The Toast for providing the forum for their attempts to further the cause of accuracy. Future reviews will be delivered in the usual fashion, printed onto greaseproof paper and wrapped around suspiciously gamey sausages.
Helen lives in the UK, where she works in science media and wastes too much time online. She has a degree in the history of science.