Love it or hate it, the Resident Evil films conclude with the release of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Considering the reception these films have had, one can assume that there are two overall outcomes the audience can have after seeing this sixth and final film; either sad to see it go, or relieved that it’s now over. I am assuming the latter will be the far more popular outcome.
The Resident Evil films have always centered around Alice, a character created solely for the films. Milla Jovovich brings the same ass-kicking version of this character as she has throughout the previous films. I’ve never loved the films, nor hated them, but I did quite enjoy watching Milla on screen throughout these past fifteen years. If there has been one consistently good thing about these movies; it is her.
The first Resident Evil movie hit theaters back in 2002 with gamers looking for a faithful adaptation of the hit game series. What they got was a movie that contained the Resident Evil name but nothing bearing any similarity to that of the games. Subsequent sequels would add in some key moments and characters from the games, but it was clear that director Paul W. S. Anderson had other intentions with this franchise.
The Final Chapter takes place immediately following the previous film, Resident Evil: Retribution. You are given a brief explanation that attempts to make sense of what has happened, but unless you’ve been catching up on the previous movies, you’ll be lost as to what is going on fairly quickly. At the start of the film, Alice is contacted with information regarding a possible cure to the zombie outbreak, a vile feat introduced by pharmaceutical company The Umbrella Corporation. While this source cannot be trusted, Alice chooses to act on this intel and is given 48 hours to do so.
To find the cure, Alice must return to Raccoon City, where it all began. Along the way, there are some awful transitions from scene to scene, usually with Alice being knocked out and then re-appearing somewhere else to continue the narrative. Eventually, she meets up with Claire Redfield, one of the few characters in this movie that also exists in the games. Ali Larter isn’t a great choice for Claire, but frankly, I’ll take whatever I can get if it allows this series to give me anything from the video games.
When Alice meets up with Claire, she gains a few new allies to assist in taking down Umbrella. You have Doc (Eoin Macken), Razor (Fraser James), Christian (William Levy), Cobalt (Rola) and Abigail (Ruby Rose). The problem with each of these characters is they are entirely new to this series and lack any character development whatsoever. As much as I loved Ruby Rose’s performance in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, her appearance here is completely wasted. Being a Resident Evil film, the series is not afraid of killing off the majority of the cast, and that tradition continues true here. The problem is that none of the deaths matter as we have no connection or attachment to any of these characters. In fact, I am sure many of them died before we even knew their names.
While the action this movie gives you is never in short supply, as it tends to be another movie that has a loose plot to string together action scene after action scene, the editing of said action is rather poor here. Several fights have rapid edits made to make the fights appear more kinetic, but this rapid feel just makes each of these moments confusing and awful. There is also a shakey-cam approach to other moments in this film that feels out of place here, making it feel like a whole different movie altogether The film also suffers from a snail’s speed of pacing during the first half with nearly nothing really happening. The film finally starts to have a few great moments later on, but by that time it is too little and too late to really matter.
While I saw the film in 3D, I cannot think of a single moment the film had any depth to it at all. While I would say save a few bucks and see it in 2D, most of the high-end screens this film will be on will be that of the 3D version, so I would just recommend going to see it in 3D if your theater offers UltraAVX visuals and sound.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is not the worst entry in the series, but as a finale, it lacks the spectacle these films are known for. A final film or event in a series should bring in elements of the entire run of that series, but that isn’t the case here. The Final Chapter has an incredibly poor story, awful pacing and does absolutely nothing with its supporting cast. As much as I love watching Milla Jovovich kick ass on screen, even that treat feels sour with this lackluster film.