So where were we? Oh, yeah: Alice escapes from prison (naked, of course — it must be written in Milla Jovovich’s contract), and comes back out into a world now increasingly populated by zombies. (Or, more properly, “the infected.”) The virus, it seems, has now spread across the planet. So has accelerated desertification, apparently, which makes little sense, but I suppose it’s appropriately apocalyptic. (It’s obviously a narrative ploy to justify filming in the desert — in particular, the film’s disappointing set piece of Las Vegas half-buried in sand — but hey, we’ve all been asked to swallow greater improbabilities.)
The desert setting works, though, and not just because it allows Jovovich to pair brown leather garters with shorts and a tan duster. Resident Evil: Extinction does away with the dark claustrophobia of the previous two films, where it seemed that the contagion was mostly isolated. This installment feels airier, almost, and it’s a tacit acknowledgment that the Resident Evil series was never really about horror in the first place — one genre that thrives in darkness — but about action. The brightness of the desert light simply works better for kicking ass.