Fifteen years and six films later there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel: the Resident Evil live-action film series is coming to an end. Well, maybe. Maybe not. Maybe the whole thing will just get repackaged as the end of the “Alice series,” and next year another one will be announced. Either way, having some direct closure is refreshing to say the least (cough, cough Underworld: Blood Wars cough, cough), but it is rather unfortunate that a series that is, at best, a guilty pleasure, had to end with perhaps one of the least interesting instalments in the franchise as a whole. We review Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter picks up some time after the end of Retribution. Or, shall I say, it doesn’t, because the somewhat exciting cliff-hanger we were left with at the end of that film in 2012 is quickly and brutally retconned in one line of dialogue before we move past it and never speak of it again. We were all expecting Alice (Jovovich) to team up with long-time enemy Wesker, using the White House as a final bastion against the T-Virus horde, but alas, it was not to be. Instead, we are treated to a re-tread in every possible sense of the world: Alice must travel back to the ruined Racoon City, descend the Hive from the first movie, and locate a new plot device. Along the way, familiar enemies reappear with lazy excuses, and Alice teams up with yet another rag-tag team of easily killable misfits. Yawn.
There’s honouring the history of your franchise and there’s just doing the same thing 6 times over, and it feels like we have hit critical mass on the second point. If there had been a final villain who injected themselves with the T-Virus to gain a monstrous final form, I would have given up on this film entirely, but as it is, its originality is kept to an absolute bare minimum. The same exact laser death room from before. The same evil boardroom execs. When a plot twist does happen, it’s for something so inconsequential that it ends up annoying us when we see how profound the movie thinks it’s being.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter also has an annoying habit of hitting the same beats even within itself. The same muddy backgrounds or nondescript steel walkways. Alice gets knocked unconscious and blurrily wakes up about 5 times in the first 45 minutes of the film. The camera-work is frenetic and hyperactive and we never really feel the visceral energy or cool action work that we are meant to. This goes doubly if you are watching it in 3D, as the effect makes the film so dark as to be unwatchable for many minutes.
If you want some closure as a long-time Resident Evil film fan, then go ahead and watch this one, as it does provide that. Also, kudos must go to the principal cast, who at least tried to make us take this one seriously. The problem is that, even though I generally like films like this one, other instalments of this same exact series have even accomplished the same beats more successfully. It’s a sad way to go, but I hope it stays gone and doesn’t try to impress us again.