A funny thing happened on my way to see Resident Evil: Extinction. I had a baby 10 days before it opened. Kind of threw a wrench in my plans to review it right when it came out so y’all would know whether to rush to the theater. So this evening, Cody and I bundled up our two month old baby and went to see this newest installment in the video game-turned-movie series.
I’m kidding! I would never take an infant to a movie without screening it first for sexist and racist content. Or without high-grade infant earplugs. We did go see the movie, though, with the help of a very brave grandmother who stayed with the baby despite being warned that he turns into a crankypants at the stroke of 6pm. (Did he do the crankypants act for her? Oh no, he slept the whole time we were gone. Don’t we look like liars now?)
I gave the first Resident Evil three stars for its casting, but its sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse only got one star because of its yucky stereotypes. So I had my fingers crossed as we drove to the theater. Would Extinction follow the path of the first movie, or go further downhill? I could have skipped it, fearing the worst, but there were two words that made it irresistible: zombie crows! You know I love me some zombie dogs, so zombie crows were just too good to pass up.
Bad decision! If asked to summarize this film in one sentence, I would choose from one of the following:
I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE, AND IT IS ARYAN!
AN ARMY OF SKINNY WHITE WOMEN WILL SAVE US ALL!
WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST PUT RED SHIRTS* ON ALL THE PEOPLE OF COLOR AND SAVE THE COSTUME DEPARTMENT SOME WORK?!
* (As per Wikipedia: “A redshirt is a stock character, used frequently in science fiction but also in other genres, whose purpose is to die soon after being introduced, thus indicating the dangerous circumstances faced by the main characters.”)
I really could not believe it. I was amazed. They killed ALL of the people of color. I thought they would at least resurrect someone near the end, or clone them, or something. But no. Three main speaking roles for people of color, and they get picked off one by one.
Did the filmmakers know how little spare energy I have due to the aforementioned baby? Were they trying to save me some time on the review, by ensuring that I don’t actually have to analyze the film for sexism? Because what would be the point? You kill off all the POC characters and then airlift the pretty white women to safety, you get no stars. Especially when you add insult to injury by having the the POC die in only two ways: sacrificing themselves to save white people, or endangering white people (more specifically, and I hate to say this, being a black man attacking a pretty young white woman).
NO STARS! NO STARS! My first date night with my husband since the baby showed up, and I get this? Damn those zombie crows for steering me so wrong!
More Commentary: unsettling moments in resident evil: extinction (triggering and spoilered) at the LJ feminist film community, written by a person and Resident Evil: Extinction, a review at femtique
This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.