May 7, 2017


Starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, William Levy, Eoin Macken, Lee Joon-gi, Fraser James, Rola, Ever Gabo Anderson. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. (2017, 107 min).

Fifteen years and six movies since the original Resident Evil offended zombie & video game purists everywhere, the franchise's final (?) chapter has finally arrived. To tell the truth, I'm actually sort-of disappointed it's coming to an end. None of the films are high art, and sure, they're often pretty derivative. But with the possible exception of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, none have been truly terrible (the third film, Extinction, even approaches greatness at times). I've always found them to be fast-moving, bloody fun with a more amusing kick-ass heroine than the aesthetically similar series, Underworld.

Revisiting Project Alice every few years is like catching up with an old friend and raising a pint or two. The company & conversation is light & congenial, never too deep, no real surprises or revelations. You bring each other up-to-speed and have a good time for a few hours before leaving the bar with a comfortable buzz, never giving that person second thought until they call you out of the blue again in a few years.

The Final Chapter picks up right after the last film, Retribution. Alice (Milla Jovovich) learns from the Red Queen - the Umbrella Corporation's malevolent computer program - that there's only a few thousand uninfected humans left on Earth, and the company's megalomaniac founder, Dr. Isaacs, plans on wiping them out, too. To stop him, she needs to return to Raccoon City and venture back into The Hive, where the outbreak started and an antivirus still exists. When released, it will kill anyone infected with the T-virus, which, logically, would include Alice.

Milla Jovovich's Smith & Wesson Workout
One of the main criticisms of the Resident Evil franchise is that it tends to ignore the stories of the original video games. Since I've never played any of them, I couldn't care less, though The Final Chapter probably plays more like a video game than any other film in the series. That's not really intended as a criticism, since this also means the movie is loaded with hyperkinetic action and seldom slows down for anything resembling character development (but other than Alice, do we really care, anyway?). Still, a few characters from previous films return - sometimes too conveniently - to either help or hinder Alice's mission.

As usual, there are plot revelations along the way, such as Alice's origins and Umbrella's ultimate agenda. Though none of them come as any real surprise, the way things play out is interesting. Still, the story takes a backseat of acrobatic gunplay, gravity-defying fights, flying body parts and imaginatively-rendered CGI creatures. Even the staunchest critics have to admit the one area where this franchise has always shined is the elaborate production design. This one is no different, especially once the dwindling cast ventures into what's left of The Hive.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter isn't likely to win over any converts and, despite being touted as the end, the door is left open for more sequels...just in case. That suits me fine. These movies aren't made to challenge the intellect or break new cinematic ground. Like the rest of the franchise, The Final Chapter is simply entertaining, undemanding fun.

FEATURETTES - "Stunts & Weaponry"; "Explore the Hive"; "The Bad Ass Trinity of Resident Evil"
RETALIATION MODE - Allows the viewer the option of watching director Anderson and Jovovich discussing various production details during the movie
SNEAK PEEK: RESIDENT EVIL: VENDETTA - Trailer for the upcoming film in the CG franchise

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