Resident Evil: Extinction

In “Resident Evil: Extinction,” five years have passed since the events in the last film. The zombie-making T-Virus has spread worldwide, with only small patches of humanity left. Those few groups stay on the run, avoiding the flesh-hungry infected while searching for fellow survivors.

This is the third film in the “Resident Evil” series, and it feels like it’s lost whatever steam it had to begin with. I know there have been multiple RE video games; I don’t know if this film is based on a particular one. If it is, it must not be a very faithful adaptation. I don’t think there are any video games where the whole point is to sit around doing nothing for 95 minutes. Did Samuel Beckett design video games?

Milla Jovovich is back as Alice, an unstoppable killing machine who was one of just two people to escape the lab where the virus was first unleashed. She’s a lone wolf now, riding around the Nevada desert on a motorcycle, and evidently taking excellent care of her skin. It looks waxy and smooth. Where do you find moisturizer after the apocalypse?

Perhaps related to that (though probably not), Alice has developed powers of telekinesis. She uses them to help a group of survivors led by a tough gal named Claire (Ali Larter) when the group is attacked by a massive swarm of zombie birds. Alice’s old friend and fellow lab survivor Carlos (Oded Fehr) is among them. They’re glad to see each other. He’s had a rougher time of it than she has. His skin doesn’t look nearly as good.

Meanwhile, back in the underground city where it all started, an evil scientist named Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) is working on developing a cure for the virus. That doesn’t sound evil, but trust me, it is. For some reason it requires Alice’s blood. Also, he’s making clones of Alice and testing their skills against the zombies. Also, maybe he’s actually really trying to make the zombies stronger, not cure them. Or maybe he does that accidentally. Who knows?

A film like this, you expect to see some good guys doing battles with hordes of zombies. Am I right, folks? That’s what you paid for. Yet “Resident Evil: Extinction” gives us only one major sequence of zombie fighting, plus a scene of Alice in combat with a super-mutated zombie, and a few minor skirmishes here and there. The rest is tactical: Where can we find more gasoline for our trucks and a safe haven for our group, etc. There is no imagination or wit in the dialogue, and the few actions scenes are perfunctory.

Once again written by Paul W.S. Anderson but this time directed by Russell Mulcahy (“Highlander”), “Extinction” wins points in my book for being less outrageously stupid than its predecessors were. Basically, while it’s dull and listless, at least it’s not aggressively, howlingly dumb. It seems to me that if you liked the first two, you won’t like this one as much, since it’s missing a lot of the components that made them so enjoyable (or, if you’re me, so unenjoyable). Stay home and wait for Halo 3 to come out.

C (1 hr., 35 min.; R, some profanity, a lot of bloody violence, some partial nudity.)