Resident Evil: Extinction is a 2007 science fiction action horror film and the third installment in the Resident Evil film series, which is based on the Capcom survival horror series Resident Evil. The film follows the heroine Alice, along with a group of survivors from Raccoon City, as they attempt to travel across the Mojave desert wilderness to Alaska and escape a zombie apocalypse. The film was directed by Russell Mulcahy and produced by Paul W. S. Anderson.
The film was released in the United States on September 21, 2007 and was commercially successful, grossing $147,717,833 worldwide. The film received mixed reviews from critics. It was released onDVD and Blu-ray in North America on January 1, 2008.
This film was initially intended to be called Resident Evil: Afterlife according to the leaked script. For unknown reasons, it was renamed to Resident Evil: Extinction. The title Afterlife was used for the fourth installment of the series.
It has been five years since the T-virus outbreak in Raccoon City. Despite Umbrella's best efforts to contain it, the lethal T-virus had spread across the globe, not only turning humans into zombies, but also causing rivers and lakes to dry up and reducing entire continents to deserts. Alice was now on the run across the deserts that now cover the Western part of the United States. After facing a group of criminals that had managed to trap her using a fake radio emergency call, she found a journal detailed a route to Alaska; the state, being isolated as the journal said, might be virus-free. Dr. Isaacs has been trying to reproduce/clone Alice's powers by creating clones of her, but none of them survived the tasks they were faced with. He concluded to Wesker and the other Umbrella board members that he needed the original Project Alice in order to obtain her blood and hopefully find a mass cure for the virus. Wesker and the Umbrella board members thus made this together with the capture of Alice among their highest priorities. Using her clones' blood as a basis for the cure, he planed to domesticate the zombies with his newly-developed serum harvested from Alice's blood. Initially, the enhanced zombie displayed signs of heightened intelligence, increased memory power and gentleness, but soon grew to be stronger, faster, and more vicious. Isaacs used this to his advantage by secretly creating a bigger group of these 'super zombies', defying Wesker's orders.
At the same time, Carlos Olivera and L.J. have joined a convoy of survivors, consisting of K-Mart, Otto, Mikey, Chase, Liam and Betty led by Claire Redfield, moving in search of supplies. While searching a motel, L.J. was bitten but didn't tell anybody. At morning, the convoy was waken up by thousands of infected, hungry crows. When everything seemed lost, Alice arrived and using her telekinesis manages to save the convoy. Despite her efforts, Betty, Otto and five others died in the attack.
She told the group about her plan to Alaska, and they decided to follow it by popular vote. However, before trying the long journey they needed supplies, and they decided to search the nearby Las Vegas, now in ruins. Meanwhile, Dr. Isaacs had been looking for Alice, hoping her DNA could be the source for a cure; he finally managed to track her by satellite, but only by a 62% confirmation. He later reported this to Wesker, who instead refused to have Isaacs recapture Alice until the satellite confirmation hits 100%, but Isaacs was later revealed to have recorded Wesker's speech and edited it to make it appear as if Wesker ordered his second-in-command, Captain Alexander Slater, to send a force to capture Alice. Isaacs then sent a group of his newly created super-zombies to Las Vegas, both to test their ability and capture Alice.
The convoy was attacked by the superzombies, and most of its members were killed; L.J. eventually succumbs to the T-virus and bit Carlos before being shot dead, Mikey was devoured by a band of super-zombies, and Chase fell from his sniper position in the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower replica while fighting with the super-zombies who managed to locate his position. Dr. Isaacs tried to control Alice via satellite, but she was powerful enough to hack Umbrella's computer network and find out that Isaacs was just a few meters away on the roof of a nearby building. She attacked the few Umbrella men and killed all of them but Isaacs, who managed to escape by helicopter after being bitten by one of his own creatures.
The few survivors decided to raid a nearby Umbrella facility, hoping to use their helicopter to fly to Alaska. Inside the underground laboratories, Isaacs tried to save himself by injecting more and more antivirus, but he seemed helpless and began to exhibit signs of mutation as a result of the overdose. His second-in-command, Captain Slater, was sent by Wesker to kill him due to his failure and insubordination, but Isaacs proved resistant to gunfire and killed Slater and some nearby guards with his new tentacled hand. He then began to kill everyone in the base, but he was trapped inside the lower levels by the White Queen, the computer which controlled the facility.
The convoy arrived to the facility, only to find out that its perimeter was surrounded by thousands of undead. Carlos, believing his infection to be beyond any cure, chose to sacrifice himself in order to open a safe path for the rest of the convoy to pass through. He get into a gasoline truck with some dynamite, drove into the crowd and detonated the explosives. Claire, K-Mart, Liam and the remaining surviving convoy members got into the chopper and flew away to Alaska, leaving the convoy's fate open to viewers. Alice, meanwhile, decided to get her revenge on Umbrella.
When she got into the labs, she was told by the White Queen, who confirmed that the real Alice's blood is the ultimate cure for purging the world of the biohazard, that she had to reach to lower level in order to create a cure. Down there, she found one of her clones, but before she can examine it, Isaacs now a Tyrant, attacked her. She stabbed him with a knife and he fleed and was able to instantaneously heal his stab wound. The clone woke up, seemingly dying in Alice's arms. A battle of telekinetic powers then continued inside the Mansion, and in the replica of the laser corridor from the Hive where One, Drew, Warner and Olga died. In the corridor, the laser appeared and cut Isaacs into pieces, but stopped just before reaching Alice when Alice's clone turned it off.
In Tokyo, Wesker informed the rest of Umbrella that contact with the North American branch had been lost, and decided to control further experimentation from his Japan facility. Using their holographic technology, Alice joined the meeting and informed them that she was going to go after them will bringing a few of her friends. Alice, next to one of her clones, then watched her hundreds of clones awaking.
Resident Evil: Extinction was first discussed by Resident Evil franchise writer Paul W. S. Anderson after Resident Evil: Apocalypse opened at number 1 on the US box office in 2004, earning more than $23.7 million dollars on its opening weekend. Anderson told SciFi Wire that he would like to oversee a third installment, under the original title ofResident Evil: Afterlife. Shortly after, the film and another planned sequel were officially announced by Sony Screen Gems on June 13, 2005.
On November 7, 2005, Davis Film, Constantin Film and Screen Gems announced their distribution rights worldwide with the film's title being changed from Resident Evil: Afterlife to Resident Evil: Extinction. Impressed with Russell Mulcahy's work on Highlander, Highlander II: The Quickening, The Shadow and Ricochet, Anderson signed Mulcahy on as director, stating, "Russell pioneered a very distinct visual style, a lot of moving camera and crane work, lots of very fast cutting. He’s got a very cool eye and sees great ways to shoot. His work certainly had a big influence on me as a filmmaker and that’s why I was very excited to work with him on this movie."
CastingAli Larter portrayed Claire Redfield, a character that originated from the video game series.
On June 12, 2005, Milla Jovovich was announced to reprise her role as the heroine Alice. In an interview with BlackFilm.com on September 9, 2005, Mike Epps confirmed that he would be reprising his role from Resident Evil: Apocalypse as L.J. Wayne, noting that "Black people die in these movies and Anderson was like, 'Well Mike, I kinda like you.' So then I asked him, 'Are you setting me up to die because if there's a fourth movie, I'm as good as dead.'" Sienna Guillory was planned to reprise her role as Jill Valentine; however, she passed on the role, citing commitments to Eragon. On May 9, 2006, Oded Fehr was confirmed to reprise his role of Carlos Olivera, as well as Iain Glen, Spencer Locke and Ashanti Douglas who were added to the cast.
The film's story takes place in Death Valley, where the large scale action sequences take place amid post-apocalyptic landscapes of Las Vegas in broad daylight. Drawing inspirations from western films and post-apocalyptic movies, including the Mad Max series, Extinction manages to reference such predecessors, with plot elements revolving around the shortage of oil, the shortage of supplies, a convoy traveling across a desert, and the desert taking over civilized land.
Anderson stated that the film's story is original and unfolds in a world that fans of the game recognize: "It's all part of trying to deliver a movie-going experience that satisfies the fans of the game but also provides a fun cinematic experience for a broader audience that has never played a Resident Evil game." The story takes place five years after the events of Resident Evil: Apocalypse. While previous installments in the series had minor changes to plot and characters, Extinction branches completely away from the video game series as evidenced by the fact that Resident Evil 4 takes place six years after the events portrayed in Resident Evil 2 and the world has not become overrun with zombies. References to Code Veronica are made, such as the replica mansion and the viral outbreak itself. A common element used throughout each Resident Evil film is the climactic battle which occurs in the finale. Extinction marked the first appearance of herbs, a healing item in the video game series, as seen in Dr. Isaac's lab, and it also referenced the first film with the inclusion of a replica Hive facility designed after the one in Raccoon City, the Raccoon City Hospital, a holographic computer database known as the White Queen, and the replica Spencer Mansion.
Numerous references to the video game series have been made, including zombies being unleashed through a T-virus mutation. While the concept of the undead remains the same, this film includes "Super Undead". As Anderson explains, these are "a result of Umbrella experimenting with the Undead and attempting to give them back some of their reasoning power, some of their intelligence and a little of their humanity. Unfortunately, these experiments don't quite work and the side effect is the Super Undead, which are Undead that are faster, stronger and more cunning foe." Other creatures from the video game series have also made appearances in the film, including the Tyrant, a swarm of crows, and a pack of Dobermans (although Belgian Shepherd Dogs were used during production).
Two main characters were added to the film's cast: the main antagonist Albert Wesker (portrayed by Jason O'Mara) and secondary protagonist Claire Redfield (portrayed by Ali Larter) from Resident Evil 2.
Horror magazine Fangoria featured the film in its August 2007 issue and also on the cover of its September 2007 issue, talking with director Russell Mulcahy. The following details reported were inaccurate, possibly indicating to a change in the storyline:
- Alice's convoy are traveling across the Nevada desert trying to reach sanctuary in Alaska to meet Chris Redfield and other survivors. In the film, however, there is no mention of Chris, and the convoy is headed by Claire.
- The film would feature new "super zombies" that had been "pumped up on some sort of alter-essence steroids". The final "super zombies" are created using blood taken from clones of Alice.
- Mulcahy stated concerning the (what was then considered to be) ending of the film trilogy, "As far as I'm aware, this is indeed supposed to close the book."
- Extinction takes place 8 years after Apocalypse. In the film, this was contradicted when characters stated that it had been 5 years since the outbreak.
The character of Claire Redfield did not exist in the early draft scripts for the film and previously Jill Valentine (who appeared in Resident Evil: Apocalypse played by Sienna Guillory) would continue the role in Extinction. Later, producers Paul W. S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt decided to have a separate game character appear alongside Alice, saying, "We thought, rather than bring Jill back, put her with another game heroine."
Filming and post-production
Resident Evil: Extinction began principal photography with a budget of $45,000,000 in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico in May, 2006 after filming locations had to be changed from the Australian Outback to Mexico, causing production dates to be pushed back repeatedly from November 2005 to May 2006. Numerous sets were designed by production designer Eugenio Caballero including Umbrella's underground laboratory, the Las Vegas Strip, the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Paris Las Vegas, Realto Ponte, Luxor Hotel and the replica of the Spencer Mansion. The film entered post-production in late July 2006 with details about production being kept secret and with the film's special effects being covered byTatopoulos Studios and Mr. X Inc., whom both worked on the 2006 film Silent Hill.
In late June 2006, Sony released the film's first two production stills which included Alice wearing a costume designed by her fashion company Jovovich-Hawk and Claire Redfield.
Marketing and release
The film's teaser trailer was shown with Ghost Rider on February 16, 2007, and was structured in the same manner of the "Regenerate" teaser trailer for Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The film's website was launched by Sony on February 17, 2007 with confirmation of its September 21, 2007 release date.
The film's teaser poster was leaked onto the internet via a fansite in May 2007, before appearing on IGN, whereas a German website leaked concept art for Extinction including vehicle and numerous set designs. The film's theatrical trailer premiered on Yahoo! Movies in late July 2007, with NBC releasing several scenes including the crow attack sequence. The social networking website Myspace also featured numerous clips of four of the main characters. The official website for Extinction launched an online game titled Resident Evil Extinction: Online Convoy Game in August 2007. On September 12, 2007 Sony released numerous promotional clips and television spots and on September 17, 2007 the film's soundtrack was released, whereas the film's score was released on December 18, 2007.
On July 31, 2007, a full two months before the film's release, a novelization by Keith R. A. DeCandido was published. At 368 pages, it is the longest of all of the Resident Evil novels. DeCandido also wrote the novelizations of the first (subtitled as Genesis) and second films.
Resident Evil: Extinction was released on DVD, UMD, and high-definition Blu-ray Disc in North America on January 1, 2008. A Blu-ray release of theResident Evil trilogy, featuring the three films in one package was also released on January 1. A 3-disc DVD set of the Resident Evil trilogy was also made available in 2008. Milla Jovovich and Oded Fehr filmed a commentary while Jovovich was pregnant, which Fehr expects to be shown "in a little square box in the corner" of the Blu-ray version. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film showed previews for Resident Evil: Degeneration, a trailer of Devil May Cry 4, and a video of Resident Evil 5. Resident Evil: Extinction was released on DVD in Australia on February 13, 2008 and in the UK on the February 18, 2008.
The film was the number one movie at the North American box office on its opening weekend, grossing $23 million in 2,828 theaters, averaging $8,372 per theater. It opened more strongly than the two previous films in the series, and as of January 1, 2008, the film had grossed $50,648,679 domestically and $97 million overseas for a worldwide total of $147 million.
Extinction received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 22% based on 93 reviews and Metacritic gave it a "mixed or average" score of 41 out of 100.
Steven Hyden of The Onion's A.V. Club said that "the movie delivers some simple-minded thrills" and praised the "solidly effective killer-ravens sequence" but felt the film was too predictable, saying: "Anybody who has ever seen a zombie movie can figure out what happens next. Somebody will get bit without telling the others, which will inevitably backfire. Survivors will be forced to shoot suddenly undead friends in the head. One of them dastardly science folk will protect the monsters in order to study them, which will also inevitably backfire. And legions of undead will be re-killed in surprisingly easy fashion."
Kevin Crust of the Los Angeles Times praised the film, saying that "the story and characters are surprisingly engaging, with fight scenes and scares effectively placed between plot turns" although he felt that the ending was too "open-ended". Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave Extinction half a star out of a possible four, saying that the film was "no more interesting than watching someone else play with his Playstation". Scott Brown of Entertainment Weekly said that Extinction "plays like a flabby middle chapter, full of nerdy details but fraudulently short on the ruined Vegas-scape that ads have been promising." Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News gave the film a score of one and a half stars out of five, calling the action scenes "monotonous" and urging audiences to "flee this yawn of the dead." Helen O'Hara of Empire gave Extinction a score of two stars out of five, saying that while the film was "better than Resident Evil: Apocalypse" and had "an effectively creepy empty world setting", she felt that it was "nevertheless scuppered by a lack of coherence."
Frank Scheck says that as the film is "fast-paved and filled with brisk action sequences", it should "reasonably satisify the devotees." Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide gave the film a score of two and a half stars out of four, saying: "Equal parts Mad Max and Day of the Dead, Extinction is no less derivative than its predecessors but moves along at a brisk clip." Pete Vonder Haar of Film Threat gave Extinction a score of three out of five, saying that the film had "rather lazy pacing" but added that "the way Anderson keeps upping the ante with regard to Alice's ultimate fate continues to amuse."
A common complaint was the noticeable digital airbrushing on numerous close-up shots of Jovovich's face, for which reviewers were confused at the use of, or found unnecessary. The film won the Golden Trailer Award for Best Action Poster and was nominated for Best TV Spot.