For some reason the Resident Evil franchise has always been indirectly linked to the Underworld franchise. When one film is released, another is sure to follow. I guess since these are two franchises that have never been very good so the adage “misery loves company” makes sense. Considering how wretched the latest Underworld film was, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter should be proud of itself. It is not that bad, but that sure ain’t sayin’ much. Writer and director Paul W.S. Anderson directs his real-life wife, Milla Jovovich in the latest and supposedly last film of this franchise.
After about a ten minute piece of exposition (as if anyone knows nothing about these films or the games) The film picks up after the battle of Washington D.C. . The entire district, including all of the monuments are a vast wasteland. Alice (Jovovich) awakens, alone and disoriented. Foraging for supplies, she comes across a still operating computer screen that displays the Red Queen. The Red Queen is the little girl whose creepy “You’re all going to die down here” from the first film when a group of soldiers descended into the Hive (origin of the T-virus) to try and stop it. This time around the Red Queen tells Alice she has 48 hours to find the antidote for the T-virus or the last batch of humans unaffected by the zombie apocalypse will fall. Humanity will be extinct.
Dubious and still a bit groggy, Alice takes of for the Hive, once again to finally finish off the nefarious Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) and his number one goon, Wesker (Shawn Roberts). Along the way she hooks back up with her old friend Claire (Ali Larter) and her new gang. The are holding up in a crumbling skyscraper. Alice seems to move right in and take charge of this group, even though no one, other than Claire, seems to trust Alice. What follows is about another ninety minutes of headache inducing, mind numbing chaos that makes virtually no sense, whatsoever. But since when have any of these films made any sense?
All of the lead females in this film all seem to come right from a day at the spa; tone, fit and perfectly cropped hair. I know, they are made to look like they have been fighting for years, but they all have that fake look of dirt on them. It reminded me of the jeans that Nordstrom’s was selling for five hundred bucks that came pre oiled, dirtied, faded and made to LOOK like you have been hard at work, but totally fake. That is how these characters looked. I did not buy a single moment of their struggle. If Paul W.S. Anderson really wanted to do something different why not pick the film up BEFORE the battle of D.C., then he might have given these characters some context. But alas, we are expected to take everything at face value. Even at face value, this film does not work.
The action is shot in a hyper-kinetic way in a combination of shaky cam and some very chopped up editing. Every time a character throws a punch, the film cuts away so there is hardly any flow to the story. It is simply cheesy action made to look like it is something extraordinary. Believe me, it’s not. Every performance in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is stiff and boring, with the exception of Iain Glen, who does have some funny one liners and is the only one who seems to be enjoying himself. Anderson wisely gives Glen more screen time than he has in previous Resident Evil films. Glen is a classically trained Scottish actor and he is the bright spot in this film.
I also loved former Tangerine Dream alum Paul Haslinger’s score which seems to be the other plus for this otherwise dismal film. Jovovich, Larter and Ruby Rose all seem to be mailing there performances in. They do what the roles require but the script penned by Anderson as well is so devoid of any vitality or sense that the action is meaningless and so the characters are empty, too. There is not really much for them to do or say, so I can’t really blame them.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is billed as the last of this franchise, although the ending leaves it wide open for another film. Underworld: Blood Wars made no attempt to hide the fact that they are not going away anytime soon, either. These films can always get better, I guess, but so far it is not happening. I mean, if they have not gotten it right by now, I don’t see much hope. At least one film is making an attempt to go away as gracefully as it possibly can. “The Final Chapter”? I will believe it when I don’t see it.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – * 1/2 out of 5
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – Rated R for graphic violence, graphic gore, language
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – Run Time is 107 minutes
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is now available on DVD, On Demand and subscription services.