Movies of video games have had a long and troubled past. The majority of them lets face it are about as good as an Atari Jaguar with about as much lasting power.
The problems stem from the fact that ultimately, it’s more fun playing the game of the film than watching the film of the game, but that doesn’t stop them being made.
It seems as if Hollywood assumes that if they take all the signature elements of the game, and shove them into a tired predictable genre script, it will be instant box office magic rather than bargain bin filler in ASDA’s – which is the harsh reality.
Some of the worst films in the horror genre have been game adaptations, and director Uwe Boll has been responsible for three of them; Blood Rayne, Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead. (Note: interestingly, Boll’s non-game related 2007 slasher thriller Seed is disturbing and surprisingly original at times. Well worth renting if you like your horror on the sick side).
Best of a bad bunch?
So what of Resident Evil then? The game itself was brilliant, invented the Survival Horror tag and spawned a variety of sequels and clones. When playing any of the series it was obvious that they were a loving ode to horror movies, and the zombie master himself George A. Romero.
In fact, when a film of the Resident Evil series was originally announced Romero was attached to write and direct, but sadly left due to creative differences (don’t they always!).
Our loss was another credited console converter Paul W.S Anderson’s gain, and he made an average movie, which although contained some good moments and recognisable game elements – such as zombie Dobermans and the unsettling lickers – ultimately felt somewhat lacking.
That said the first Resident Evil film has grown on me since my first viewing, when I expected way too much and in fact, of all the game-screen to big-screen adaptations, it has remained the best, partly due to Milla Jovovich’s continuing portrayal of kick ass heroine, Alice.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse picked up the story well, bringing in the classic end of level boss, the menacing ‘Nemesis’, and proved to be a thoroughly entertaining action horror.
Extinction is set a few years after Apocalypse, literally and figuratively, as the world is now a dry barren dust ball, covered in zombies.
Here, survivors such as the now super-powered Alice, and the rag-tag group lead by Claire Redfield (Heroes, Ali Larter) have to joined together to escape the zombie peril and the evil clutches of the Umbrella corporation, who are still determined to capture Alice.
Written by Anderson, the film is directed by Russell Mulcahy who adds a sense of artistic flair gained from his background in videos. The opening scene is all too familiar and wonderfully eerily shot, and the zombie crow attack is pure Hitchcock, except using cgi.
The Resident Evil series is less about ‘scares and frights’ and more about ‘guns and martial arts’, even more so in this instalment. However the gore factor is reasonably high for a 15, and there are plenty of zombies to keep purists happy.
With the subtitle ‘Extinction’ you would assume that this is the final movie in the series. Although who knows?
However by carrying on the overriding narrative, bringing back elements from the predecessors and amping them up, in Resident Evil: Extinction we get a enjoyable horror film that has its feet firmly in the action genre – which is ultimately no bad thing.