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Resident Evil: Extinction Review

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Years after the Racoon City disaster, the T-virus has devastated the world and the few fully human survivors survive in perpetually moving convoys and underground bunkers. The genetically super-powered Alice (Jovovich), however, is more concerned with finding a safe haven…

★★★★★

The USP of the third instalment in the most successful game-to-film franchise to date - in terms of longevity, if not artistic merit - is that it’s a zombie movie set almost entirely in the blaze of full daylight; and in the desert, no less.

These walking undead don’t go bump in the night: this is a wide-awake, no-doubt-about-it, end-of-the-world scenario. And while Evil’s no closer to being a great horror franchise, it at least recovers from the step back that was Apocalypse.

The opening escape-from-yet-another-Umbrella-facility is both action-packed and creepy, but soon we’re listening to a stilted voiceover from our heroine, Alice (Milla Jovovich), who explains that the T-virus has not only turned humanity into a zombified horde but killed plantlife and dried up rivers and lakes as well. That, of course, makes no sense, and somewhat detracts from the Nevada desert setting, but the vast spaces do create an odd sense of agoraphobic terror.

Soon after, we’re introduced to Claire (Ali Larter) and her convoy of survivors, including returning hero Carlos Oliviera (Oded Fehr). Fehr and Larter do their best to bring weight to the proceedings, but between a homage to/rip-off of The Birds (except now they’re zombie crows!), the revelation that Alice is suddenly pyro - and psycho - kinetic, and the dumb-ass decisions their fellow travellers make in every possible situation, they have their work cut out.

Meanwhile, Iain Glen (in evil mode) and Matthew Marsden (in apparatchik mode) are plotting away in an Umbrella bunker to extend the evil corporation’s influence once more (over what? Does capitalism survive the end of the world?) and of course end up creating something even worse than the common-or-garden zombie we’re used to.

It’s a plot that poses more questions than it answers: if Vegas has been largely buried in sand, why are the roads clear? Why trust all hope to the diary of a suicide? And how in the name of Zeus’ butthole can a virus dry up rivers? A couple of the set-pieces are effective and there are some wiggy jump scares, but the whole thing smacks of someone sitting by a typewriter going, “You know what’d look cool?” rather than trying to piece together a coherent plot.

Better than the silly second instalment and boasting an effectively creepy empty world setting, it’s nevertheless scuppered by a lack of coherence.

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