It’s been over four years since the last Resident Evil film left fans with a cliffhanger, but has it been worth the wait? We review Resident Evil – The Final Chapter.
Our constant heroine, Alice, awakens in the ruins of Washington, D.C., having been betrayed (as usual) by Albert Wesker. She’s soon contacted by the Red Queen – the evil Umbrella Corporation’s artificial intelligence system – and told that she needs to return to where the zombie apocalypse first started: The Hive, back in Raccoon City. It seems that there’s a possible cure to the T-virus, and it’s up to Alice to make sure that it’s released into Earth’s atmosphere.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Alice is on a deadline to get there before Umbrella’s Dr. Isaacs does. Along the way, she encounters her old friend Claire Redfield and millions of zombies, as well as revisiting some familiar laser-protected corridors and learning the truth behind the Umbrella Corporation…
Over the years, the quality of this film series has been all over the place. The original was disappointing, whilst the second film got it right. The third was painfully bad, whilst the fourth was solid and the fifth had moments of creative genius, and traded on the nostalgia and knowledge of the fans.
In Resident Evil – The Final Chapter there are still plenty of action set-pieces and Milla Jovovich still delivers the goods as Alice, kicking ass and taking names as easily as most people eat breakfast cereal. It’s good to see Claire back in the series again too, while the villainous Wesker does his standard routine of brooding and wearing sunglasses. The usual zombies and monsters rampage around, and it should all be standard fare by now. Unfortunately, it isn’t.
The plots to these movies have always been a little thin, but here it’s downright anorexic and there’s a strange lack of emotional connection. Unlike the final films in other franchises, where they pull out all the stops to wrap things up, here it seems like a struggle. Without iconic characters like Chris Redfield, Ada Wong, Leon Kennedy and others returning, there’s little sense of any sort of celebration of the series. Instead, we have the return of the bland Dr. Isaacs, who returns from that awful third film.
It’s possible that there could have been a good film here, or at least a good film in terms of Resident Evil. After all, the last couple have been solid, and have given the fans what they wanted to see whilst still being original. It’s obvious that they know the source material without being slaves to it. It’s hard to tell if this film could have been good even as it is, though, because of one major problem:
Thanks to the heavy-handed rapid-fire editing (presumably done in a bid to make it look more intense), it’s a headache-inducing mess. The shaky-cam filming is one thing, but when almost every shot is shown for less than a second it becomes a jumbled disaster. Based on previous installments, it simply could have looked a whole lot better, and subsequently been a better film.
There’s enough here to please the die-hard fans, but it’s still a down-note to end on. Granted, Resident Evil – The Final Chapter will fit in next to all the others in a box set as the resolution of the series, and does achieve its goal in finishing the story arc. You’ll just wish it were a celebration of the franchise, and not a final rusty nail in its coffin.