Those meanies at the Umbrella Corporation are at it again in the third chapter of this series based on the popular computer game. That pesky virus they allowed to escape has wiped out nearly all life on earth except for raging feral zombies.
The corporate bad guys somehow all have clean shirts, a little English girl hologram to tell them what is going on, and working computers in those underground offices, the ones with the spooky mirrored corriders and intricate booby-traps. Bad guy number one talks like this: “their hunger for fleshhhhhh.” He is releasing a series of Alice clones (which have scars for some Lamarckian reason), but he needs the real thing to get her special blood for his anti-virus.
Meanwhile, Alice (Milla Jovovich)-in-anti-wonderland is riding around on a motorcycle like Mad Maxine, fighting off feral humans and those inside-out zombie dogs. She meets up with a hardy group of survivors led by Ali Larter (TV’s “Heroes). They all say a lot of brave and hearty things to each other in between rapping out commands about securing the perimeter and evac-ing the bus. The group includes a cute guy with an English accent (Christopher Egan), a cowboy, a girl named K-Mart, a guy good at tossing off wisecracks (Mike Epps), a warm-hearted medic (Ashanti), and a guy Alice likes a lot (Oded Fehr).
And Umbrella Corp’s Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) is trying to track down Alice to use her blood for an antivirus.
True to its video game origins, the movie is basically one set-piece after another, all going something like this. Alice (sometimes another character) enters a new environment. It is quiet. Too quiet. Then something scary and gross happens. And Alice (sometimes another character) responds by fighting back with knives, guns, explosives, a fireball, or kicking and punching. Cue “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”
The scary and gross things include not only the ever-popular zombie dogs, but also zombie ravens and a tentacled zombie mutant, as well as the normal, everyday zombies. The environments include a broken-down gas station and a deserted Las Vegas. That’s deserted in both senses of the word. No one is there and “the desert has taken it back;” everything is buried under sand.
It is still more shooting gallery-style videogame than movie. The Resident Evil games themselves have far more by way of plot and characters. And it has to do without the interactivity that adds vitality, so it all seems rather remote, underscored by the cardboard dialogue. The best you can say is that it tries to provide some variety in all of the various battles with zombies, and that Epps, Larter, and Fehr seem to forget they are in a video game movie and for a moment when watching them we can forget it, too.
Parents should know that this movie has extremely gross and graphic violence, with many disgusting deaths and gross monsters. There are a lot of “ewwwwww” moments with spurting blood, sliced-off body parts, and disgusting sounds of pulverization. Characters are in extreme peril and most of them are killed. There is some strong language and non-sexual nudity and a joke about porn. Characters smoke cigarettes and a joint. A strength of the movie is the portrayal of exceptionally capable and courageous women, though of course they dress for combat in scanty clothing.
Families who see this movie should talk about the challenges of turning a game into a story. What can keep a corporation from becoming as powerful as Umbrella Corp? One difference between the good guys and the bad guys in this movie is shown by who is — and is not — willing to sacrifice himself or herself for the others. Where do we see that?
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the first twothe much better The Fifth Element, also starring Milla Jovovich, and zombie movies like 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead, and the “zom-rom-com” (zombie romantic comedy) Shaun of the Dead. They may also enjoy trying the the games.