Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, 2017.
Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, William Levy, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Rola, Ever Anderson, and Ruby Rose.
Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (the sixth and supposed final installment in Paul W.S. Anderson’s box office successful adaptation of the video game franchise) takes the character of fan favorite villain Albert Wester and sits him down underground guarding The Hive (along with the antivirus to the T-Virus) while casually slamming away a few glasses of alcohol. By the time the credits rolled it had dawned on me that it probably wasn’t the actual character drinking, but actor Shawn Roberts consuming as much of whatever the hell he can find on set to maintain his sanity and brain cells while working on this drivel. “Why the f***did I sign on to this franchise all those years ago” is the story the eyes tell whenever downing another glass. The movie itself gives him absolutely nothing to do, and his big moment would elicit a great degree of fanboy anger if these movies were worth giving a s***about in the first place. Albert Wesker: Toughest motherf****** to put down for good in the history of video games, randomly relegated to keeping a button depressed for the film series’ grand finale.
You can’t make this s*** up, but Paul W.S. Anderson can. He also takes the story to unprecedented levels of stupidity that are almost certain to garner a lock for numerous “Worst of 2017” awards. Putting it as vaguely as possible, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter transitions into something far too deeply concerned with fleshing out the character of Alice (Milla Jovovich) with a twist that calls for the narrative to become overly dramatic, and by association forces Milla to start giving an emotional performance way out of range of her acting capabilities and also one that is highly disconnected to the franchise’s aspirations of pulpy action. I would say it’s like watching a train derail, but that happened about four movies ago. At this point, audiences are just riding out how terrible things get, frequently in awe at each new direction the plot goes.
Now admittedly, Resident Evil is not about plot, but even brainless action franchises like Fast and the Furious can competently maintain continuity between each new addition to the series. This movie just feels like Anderson wrote a script and didn’t even bother to tie it to the last movie let alone the first five. There are brief moments where some of these issues are touched on, but they are resolved with a one sentence answer that often raises even more curiosity and questions. Other aspects are just long forgotten. I’m convinced Anderson forgot much of the plot of the movies he directed and just decided to use Wikipedia summaries of the first five to loosely connect this one to the rest. It truly is a cobbled together disaster that exists just to finally dish out a proper ending.
To be fair, most moviegoers could probably get down with that if the action presented here was not an editing catastrophe. Credit goes to the movie for successfully being able to naturally bob and weave from each outrageous barrage of chaos to the next, rarely letting up on violence, but holy hell the scenes themselves are ugly and cut together poorly. Not only does the camera switch angles multiple times within the span of a single second, but the action also feels like it’s stuck on the 8X speed option. It’s also such a shame because Anderson does have a gifted mind to brainstorm very creative set pieces, including here. There are hand-to-hand battles on top of tanks surrounded by a massive board of zombies, underground fan blade traps trying to suck in humanity’s last hope for survival, and quite a few different scenes of Alice going to war with competently rendered fiendish hell spawns of the T-Virus. However, all the goodwill goes down the toilet when the camera man is seemingly drunk off his ass.
Equally baffling are all of the new characters introduced for a movie that is fully about Alice and a series conclusion. It’s already a given based on the last few movies in the franchise that the characters adapted from the actual games will always be fan service window dressing and mere cameos, but in addition to that are completely new characters that just… why are they here and what purpose do they serve? It’s like someone in a board room said “Man, that Ruby Rose from Orange is the New Black is blowing up, sign her up for a thankless role where she gets to do basically nothing”! Also, here is how you spot the tipped off traitor in the group: It’s not the actors that are laughably terrible.
Anyway, let’s finish this rambling off with the one enjoyable thing about this dreck; the final flight. Ignoring the fact that Wesker is stuck somewhere holding down a damn button, Iain Glen (Jorah from Game of Thrones) gets to ham it up and chew scenery as your stereotypical ‘bring about the apocalypse intentionally to begin a new paradise’ ultimate villain. When matched together with Milla’s tough as nails and cocky, feisty badass heroine for a hand-to-hand battle inside the all-too-familiar laser room of death, the two pull off one hell of a memorable battle that is shockingly even edited a cut above all of the incoherent action in the movie. It’s basically Resident Evil 4‘s boss battle against Krauser put to the big screen, and it’s glorious.
If Resident Evil: The Final Chapter had more of its destruction framed competently like that, the movie certainly would have been passable mindless entertainment despite story beats containing stupidity that cannot be unseen.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★