Having managed to successfully steer clear of the Resident Evil franchise for a good 15 years since the first instalment released back in 2002, I had the opportunity to see an early screening of the final film in the series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.
You’d expect in a franchise, now six films in, that I’d have missed quite a great deal of the storyline, and a few nuances only a fan could appreciate, but sharing my experience with someone who’s seen all films in the franchise, he assured me within the first 10 minutes of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter that I was sufficiently updated.
Before I continue with the review, please note that I will be sharing spoilers below.
Within the first few moments of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, you’ll be well aware that you’re in for an action-filled ride. It may not be all excitement and fun along the journey, but if action is what you’re after Final Chapter doesn’t miss a beat. If there’s one positive you should take away from the film it’s just that: action.
The problem I had with The Final Chapter, though, is everything else. That includes the dialogue, the never-ending camera switching, fast-forwarded action sequences, and the bland storytelling.
We start off with the first quick-thrill shock where Alice enjoys a sip of water from a contaminated river. Enter the first zombie, scaring many in the audience as you hear the quite audible gasps and even a few screams. There are a few more issues I have with this scene, but I’ll skip to the next. Out of nowhere, a flying monster enters the fray bursting through the concrete rubble. Alice climbs into a Hummer that hasn’t been used for ages and after a few pumps of the gas pedal, it is good to go. There’s obvious fast-forwarding within these scenes, but this isn’t the most outrageous part. After having slammed the monster into a low-hanging object, the Hummer is turned around and Alice proceeds to drive straight at the monster, jumping off the ground a tad to crash ever so neatly into the midriff of the monster, pinning it against a truck. This is quickly followed by an explosion from some conveniently placed explosives in the back seat of the Hummer, where Alice narrowly escapes. She is blown across the screen but is still able to get up and walk away.
This is quickly succeeded by a monologue from Alice recapping the franchise. I didn’t mind this part so much since I hadn’t seen any of the films in the franchise beforehand. It allows anyone to watch the film as a standalone.
Each and every decision within Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is questionable, some more than others. The attempt at explaining things to make it seem plausible leaves me dumbfounded. At some point during the first half of the movie, I realise that Resident Evil is very much like Saw in that it serves as nothing more than a means of devising new ways to torture Alice. She seems to go through the entire film avoiding death and being thrown around in a number of back-breaking stunts.
As for the story, Alice is given a directive from the Red Queen, an AI owned by the Umbrella Corporation, the very same company hoping to destroy the earth. The directive here is to travel to Raccoon City and find the Hive. Alice only has 48 hours to save all that’s left of the uninfected humanity from the final strike from the Umbrella Corporation, which is never made all that clear. And that’s the just of it. There are some “intricacies” to the plan, but most of it is not very noteworthy.
There are quite a few noticeable moments where it’s clear that the writers don’t pay too much attention to the detail. For starters, Alice gets electrocuted when a motorbike’s safety feature kicks in to stop any unauthorised use. Alice circumvents this by chopping off Dr Alexander Isaacs’ hand to start the bike, only to drop it off once started. A few moments later, Alice has to start the bike once again, the safety feature clearly now no longer functioning at all.
The second issue I had was the supposed security system. How on earth did they leave the front doors open, only to have to tell the AI to close those doors manually after Alice and her team have already entered?
Probably the worst sin comes near the end when Alice and another survivor barely make it to the control room of the Hive and running out of ammo. Fret not. Right in front of the main door, they find two bags full of guns and ammunition. Convenient? Very.
Despite what may seem like outright hatred for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, I will go back to the fact that the action makes it bearable, if only just. However, the camera switching at almost 50 changes per minute makes the 3D viewing extremely annoying. You’re never able to focus on any one part of the screen for more than a second or two. If you’re seeking some mindless action this weekend, you may just be in luck, as you have a choice between XXX: Return of Xander Cage and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.