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By Pete Vonder Haar | September 23, 2007

My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos…ruined dreams…this wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man woman we called Max Alice. To understand who [she] was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, [one] mighty [corporation] [spawned a virus] which engulfed them all. Without [braaains], they were nothing … Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men. On the roads it was a white line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive … And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary [women] were battered and smashed. [Women] like [Alice]. The warrior [Alice]. In the roar of [a Licker], [she] lost everything. And became a shell of a [woman], a [hot], [scantily clad] [woman], a [woman] haunted by the [viruses] of [her] past, a [woman] who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that [she] learned to live again…

My deepest apologies to George Miller.

“The Road Warrior” is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I have to back-handedly credit “Resident Evil: Extinction” writer Paul W.S. Anderson for at least sort of trying to disguise his attempt to remake it as a third “RE” movie. Sure, we have zombies instead of the Humongous and Wez, and Max could never move s**t around with his mind, but…wow: the lone warrior in the wasteland, the ragtag convoy (complete with tanker and school bus), that pull-away shot of Alice standing alone in the desert as the rest of the survivors journey to their paradise (indeed, a number of shots are almost indistinguishable from similar ones in “Road Warrior”). Even those kukri knives she fights with are reminiscent of the Feral Kid’s boomerang.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. In the first “Resident Evil” movie (cleverly titled “Resident Evil”), Alice (Milla Jovovich) was one of two survivors of the T-virus outbreak in the Hive, the Umbrella Corporation’s top secret facility below Raccoon City. She was captured by Umbrella scientists and subjected to experimentation with the virus. In “Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” Alice joined a group of survivors attempting to escape a zombie-infested Raccoon City before it was nuked by Umbrella. She also fought against – then joined forces with – Matt, her fellow survivor from the first movie, now mutated into the fearsome Nemesis. In the end, Alice’s actions were for naught, and Raccoon City was cleansed by thermonuclear fire.

Or so you’d think. As “Resident Evil: Extinction” opens, several years have passed, and we discover that the nukes weren’t all that effective in containing the virus (apparently nobody at Umbrella ever watched “Return of the Living Dead”) and it quickly spread across the globe, infecting billions of human beings and also beginning to render the earth itself uninhabitable. From an underground base in Nevada, Umbrella scientists led by the evil Dr. Issacs (Iain Glen) are attempting to synthesize a cure to the virus, using clones grown from Alice’s blood.

Alice herself travels through the wasteland alone to avoid being tracked by Umbrella. She comes upon a convoy under attack by infected crows(?), and uses some nifty new psychokinetic powers to save their bacon. The convoy is led by a woman named Claire (Ali Larter) and is also home to her old friends Carlos (Oded Fehr) and L.J. (Mike Epps) from “Apocalypse.” But it’s not all happy reunions, for the vehicles are low on fuel and the survivors low on morale. That is until Alice shows them a journal she found that seems to indicate a virus-free zone somewhere in Alaska. Having bled most of the outlying towns of gas, they decide to head to the ruins of Las Vegas to refuel for the big trip.

I admit, I’ve inadvertently become something of a Resident Evil fan. The first movie was largely moronic, for sure, but I got a kick out of “Apocalypse” and its exploding motorcycles and heroines in tight clothes. “Extinction” doesn’t do quite as much for me, but as boring as RE’s zombies are, and for all the plot holes and other rip-offs (Domesticating zombies? Oh well, when in Romero) I still have a soft spot in my head for it. I like the post-apocalyptic genre, for starters, and the way Anderson keeps upping the ante with regard to Alice’s ultimate fate continues to amuse. And it’s nice to see an a*s-kicking female protagonist that isn’t a Joss Whedon creation.

Sony is billing “Extinction” as “the third and final” movie in the series, which is probably for the best. For while I could probably spend an entire weekend watching Milla twirl her kukris, it’s obvious from the rather lazy pacing that Anderson is growing increasingly self-indulgent with his creation. Alice is already the most powerful being on the planet, and only growing stronger. If the ending of “Extinction” is any indication, well, I’m not sure exactly what Umbrella could possibly throw at her that would have any effect.

And Alice? She lives now…only in my memories.

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