RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER (France | Germany | Canada | Australia/15A/106mins)
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali LArter, Ruby Rose, Iain Glen, Eoin Macken
THE PLOT: Immediately after the events of ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is contacted by an unexpected ally, and told there is hope for humanity, but she only has 48 hours to break into The Hive and save the world; a place where The Umbrella Corporation definitely does not want her to go.
THE VERDICT: The sixth, and allegedly final, instalment in the ‘Resident Evil’ movie franchise keeps everything relatively simple, blood drenched and full of jump scares, with a distinct feel of ‘Mad Max Fury Road’ about the entire affair.
Milla Jovovich is back as Alice, and makes the character a bad ass warrior who is hell bent on saving humanity, and not much more than that. The rest of the cast features Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Fraser James and Irish actor Eoin Macken. No-one truly gets to flesh out their character, instead only being given the chance to play one dimensional good guys or villains, who tenaciously hold on to their ideals.
As screenwriter, Paul W.S. Anderson plays up the ‘Mad Max Fury Road’ feel of ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’, with much of the film being a road movie with humans used as bait to draw an undead army toward the last holdouts of uninfected humans. The dialogue of the film is fine, and every attempt is made to play up the violence and the jump scares, and although the film succeeds in this, there is little in the story that feels original or inspiring throughout the film. There are twists and turns involving clones and the history of the film franchise as a whole, which are obviously aimed at tying everything up in a neat little bow.
As director, Paul W. S. Anderson makes sure that the film is full of energy and high octane from the very start. The story – what there is of it – fits around the set pieces that litter the film, and although the set pieces are grand and large, the entire film is shot in relative darkness, meaning it is difficult to see the action, and see just who is getting the upper hand. Anderson seems uninterested in fleshing out the characters, or allowing them to be anything but ruthless in their fight for survival, and while this works from time to time, it does mean it is hard to root for anyone for any other reason than them being the default good guys.
In all, ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ takes more than a few cues from ‘Mad Max Fury Road’, but never manages to flesh out the characters in the film or make the set pieces visible enough to be exciting. That said, there is an energy to the film that keeps it engaging, and fans of the franchise will be happy to see everything tied up neatly. Whether this is the last ‘Resident Evil’ movie or not, remains to be seen.
RATING: 2.5/5
Review by Brogen Hayes

  • filmbuff2011

    15 years after it started, the Capcom videogame horror franchise Resident Evil comes to a cinematic close. After 5 films, the series is edging very close to breaking the collective billion-dollar barrier. So, here’s one last parting shot in a zombie’s head with The Final Chapter*.

    * May not be the final chapter.

    After the events of Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) finds herself in the ruins of Washington D.C. The global human race is quickly dwindling down to under 5,000 as the deadly T-Virus spread like wildfire. The evil Umbrella Corporation are up their old tricks again, led by Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) who is apparently not dead after all. Former adversary and Hive A.I. The Red Queen (Ever Anderson) informs Alice that she wants to help her destroy Umbrella once and for all. The key to the survival of the human race lies in Raccoon City, in The Hive facility where it all began. Alice teams up with ally and survivor Claire (Ali Larter) and her team to infiltrate The Hive and stop Umbrella from manipulating the zombie hordes. That won’t be easy though – Wesker (Shawn Roberts) has fortified himself inside The Hive and isn’t going to let them destroy all that Umbrella has invested in. Alice must confront Isaacs, her own past and end the war…

    You know what you’re going to get with a Resident Evil sequel. The first film was fun and had a particularly vicious and inventive way of dispatching its set-’em-up and knock-’em-down supporting characters. The sequels have plodded away since 2004, not particularly sticking in the memory and not trying to challenge zombie conventions in the way that 28 Days / Weeks Later did. Instead, the sequels have essentially served up more of the same, re-heated and served with a side helping of not knowing when to stop. That pretty much applies to this film too. ‘The Final Chapter’ – we’ve been here before. Jason Voorhees continued hacking away for a few more films afterwards and hasn’t hung up his machete yet. ‘The Final Destination’ – not really. Just when it looks like director Paul W.S. Anderson and his leading lady / wife might be ready to move on to something else, they cheekily suggest it’s not really over. Why would it end anyway, as it’s been both a popular and profitable franchise for Screen Gems?

    Anderson has been a workmanlike director for most of his career, obsessed with videogames and, let’s be honest, junk-food cinema. There is one exception though – cult hit Event Horizon showed real potential and featured superb production design and visual effects. That was 20 years ago. Like Kevin Smith, Anderson hasn’t really grown up or matured as a filmmaker. He still edits his films like he was drinking Red Bull all day long in the editing room. Characters other than Alice are still resolutely made of cardboard and lack any real character development. They’re just pawns to get Alice to her goal. Jovovich still holds the screen with her kick-ass heroine, but Glen fares less well with a sneering villain a long way from the richly written Ser Jorah Mormont.

    There’s still some fun to be had here though. There’s a tense sequence involving a wind turbine and the return of the infamous slice-and-dice laser room. There’s also a halfway-decent attempt to bring Alice’s journey full circle. However, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that this franchise has outlived its purpose. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is brainless zombie fun that should please fans, but there’s not much else here of note. **