I’ve always found the Resident Evil flicks to be a little on the silly side. Characters like “Alice”, and evil companies and cities, with names like The Umbrella Corporation and Raccoon City – cutesy-monikered things that work perfectly well within the realm of a videogame – translate to the screen about as well as Jean Claude Van Damme in “Street Fighter. Still, as far as videogame adaptations go, Paul Anderson’s pet project (he still serves as producer of the series) could have turned out a helluva lot worse, and, with the somewhat ambitiously epic “Resident Evil: Extinction”, the series proves that the third time is the charm.
The T-Virus has spread across the globe, turning much of the Earth’s population into bloodthirsty zombies, and forcing humanity’s last survivors to band together into nomadic groups in search of a place to hide from the encroaching undead hordes. One such group, led by Claire Redfield (“Heroes” hottie, Ali Larter) and Carlos Oliveira (Oded Fehr), find themselves caught up in a mad Umbrella scientist’s attempts at nabbing the now-super powered Alice (Milla Jovovich), whom he thinks holds the key to the Earth’s survival.
Filled with bad-ass action sequences, impressive zombie attacks, and buckets of (mostly CGI) blood, Resident Evil: Extinction delivers the sort of thrills and chills its predecessors lacked, and I credit that to director Russell Mulcahy’s (Highlander) deft handling of a plot that could have been laughable in less skillful hands, as well as his sense of style and atmosphere (honed over decades of churning out landmark music videos). You get a real sense of the scope of the T-Virus, here, as legions of undead shamble out across dusty deserts and the ruins of Las Vegas, making Resident Evil work as both a quality zombie film and a worthy third chapter in the franchise.
Sony wants you to buy Blu-ray players and movies, and they know the only way they’re going to do that is to present viewers with the absolute best picture quality and audio possible, as well as the latest and greatest in terms of interactive bonus features. With Resident Evil: Extinction, Sony has pulled out all the stops, offering up what could very well be the best video transfer I’ve seen on a Blu-ray yet. This 1080p transfer is the absolute definition of…well…high definition. Sharp, vivid, with detail to die for, and a screaming Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack that projected so well I nearly jumped behind the couch to take cover. I’ve probably used the term “reference quality” a dozen times in my reviews so far, but I’m thinking of just calling anything this good “Extinction quality” from now on.
Oh, and I’d be lying if I said this boffo transfer didn’t make me like the movie, itself, just a wee bit more.
Once again, Sony steps up and delivers the goods, with 1080p features abound, including a multi-part featurette, Beyond Raccoon City: Unearthing Resident Evil Extinction, eleven deleted scenes, and, for the first time on Blu-ray, true picture-in-picture “commentary” (for profile 1.1 compliant players only). While the featurettes and deleted scenes only add up to around forty-five minutes or so (hence 4 and half skull rating), the real star here is the new functionality, as the PiP stuff is a really cool feature and should become the standard on future Blu releases.
Resident Evil fans will love this film, as it takes everything from the first two installments and improves upon it, while casual viewers will simply be able to take Extinction at face value, and groove to the sight of a hot looking girl going medieval on some zombie ass. If there's a better way to spend an evening, I haven't found it. (Please...kill...meeeee). More than just a fun movie, though, Extinction is a shining example of the power and potential of the Blu-ray format, and should be considered an essential addition to every Blu enthusiasts collection.