Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a loud, mindless and asinine film that makes me glad the franchise is over.
The Resident Evil movie franchise is the most prolific video game movie series ever made. That said, it was only a matter of time before it ended, especially taking into account that there hasn’t been anything fresh about it since the first Resident Evil came out in the early 2000s. For better or for worse, this is the last chapter in the franchise, but violent editing, an asinine story that never goes anywhere and boring characters make this Final Chapter simply more of the same.
The first minutes of this movie offer a recap of events that took place in previous installments, but it omits key elements. Therefore, I don’t see how newcomers will be able to understand certain scenes, references or dialogues. The movie starts where the previous one left off, in the ruined White House in Washington DC after Albert Wesker betrays Alice. She is looking for survivors when the Red Queen (the artificial intelligence from the first film) appears and urges the protagonist to go back to the facility known as The Hive in Raccoon City. Apparently, there’s a cure to the T-virus in the form a vial that will kill every zombie, allowing the 4000 survivors or so to repopulate planet Earth. That’s as much as I can say about the story without revealing too much, but expect some characters from previous movies to make a return and some twists you see from a mile away.
The Final Chapter tries to tie all the loose ends left by previous installments. There are poor excuses to bring back characters that appeared on other films and while some fans might enjoy the fan service, there’s so much you can say and then bring back Claire Redfield for the umpteenth time. As a consequence, the storytelling feels slapped together and sloppy. Additionally, the protagonist is put in sticky situations again and again, but since we all know she can’t be defeated, it’s hard to care when there are dozens of flesh-eating zombies chasing her or when a couple of armed Umbrella Corps are pointing guns at her.
The Resident Evil films have always been, first and foremost, about action than horror. Sadly, the editing in this picture is fast and furious. Whenever there’s an action scene (and there are several,) there are a few frames of something happening, then a violent cut and then back to the action. Not only does these make some scenes hard to follow, but cuts happen so abruptly and so often that the process becomes incredibly distracting. In other words, the action scenes are mind-numbing and chaotic.
Regardless of how I feel about these movies, I believe that Alice as a character is important because she’s a strong female presence in a long-running franchise. Like Sigourney Weaver in Alien, Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games and to a lesser extent, Kate Beckinsale in Underworld, Milla Jovovich is one of the few women with a starring role in an action movie and while the business isn’t always female-friendly, it’s great to see that it’s changing.
I’m tempted to call The Final Chapter pointless, but there had to be closure of some kind, especially after five movies. Yet this film doesn’t even offer that. The closing moments suggest that there might be new entries at some point and while I believe that the most likely situation is that there’s a reboot or spin-off, The Final Chapter is a weak closing chapter that doesn’t solve anything.