I think ‘Resident Evil’ is a fair assessment of the situation at this point. The sixth live-action film in this franchise since 2002 which hasn’t actually been able to achieve a modicum of quality since that first installment – and that’s being generous – ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter promises to sever all ties with a franchise that feels as though it has just sort of always lingered in the background. Or at least I thought it did.
Apparently these films are actually fairly popular, and made on a pretty small budget that lowers the margins for success drastically. Some may sneer and suggest that the only audience these movies manage to attract are those that play the video games. As someone familiar with games, I can tell you that for one, people that play the ‘Resident Evil’ games feel very little connection to the movies in general as they actually have very little to do with each other besides the general theme of the undead. Secondly, I know plenty of people that genuinely enjoy these movies and have no idea that it was even based on a game series because they exist in such separate spheres and feature such minimal crossover. Although I dare say once one learns the origins of the films, they wouldn’t be too surprised.
Milla Jovovich is back as Alice (but we’ll just call her player one) and the film opens with her wandering around the brownest Washington D.C. I have ever lain eyes on, more on that later. In a sequence of events too mundane to recall she finds herself face to face with the Red Queen (Ever Anderson), whom people may remember as the artificial intelligence from the first movie way back when, perhaps Paul W.S. Anderson wants to tap into some nostalgia from the only film in the franchise with somewhat mediocre reviews, who knows.
Alice is told that Umbrella, the evil corporation that released the T-virus, has an airborne cure to the disease that must be released within 48 hours or the last bastions of humanity will be destroyed. The last bastions being 4,000 people, down from the initial 7 billion. This all seems to be too little too late and with the Red Queen being the A.I. Of Umbrella why did she just decide to tell Alice this now? Why exactly is 48 hours the deadline, will all 4,000 die at once or is it sort of a slow burn thing, because then surely if she succeeds and say, 40 hours pass won’t that leave under 1,000 people left? If you aren’t prepared to leave your money in your wallet then you have to at least leave your brain at the door, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.
Alice leaves and is pursued by Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glenn) and Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) in what is essentially a lengthy chase scene spattered with action sequences that would love to be ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ or even ‘The Road Warrior’ but just don’t have the patience or the care to do so. These scenes are cut together so fast that actually interpreting what is going on becomes its own challenge, which was already made difficult by the fact that everything for the first half of the movie or so that is set outside is the same damn shade of brown, making for one of the most visually uninteresting films of recent memory.
Later on Alice meets with other survivors and unfortunately I can’t remember for the life of me who they were other than one of them was played by Ali Larter. I only know that cause a portion of the back of my brain whispered ‘ooh that’s the annoying girl from ‘Final Destination’ which is hardly a ringing endorsement. When the film finally moves into some interior settings in it’s latter half it does certainly start to look better despite the contrived action sequences and the ever-nauseating editing still being a huge problem.
With all of this said, I did find ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ to be one of those movies that just happens to you, and is never ferociously boring. As much as I hated aspects of its production, I can’t say I truly hated the final product and perhaps that’s because it at least moves at a relatively impressive pace, as shown by how quickly 48 hours is supposedly condensed into a film that’s under two hours. There is plenty of action and in fairness it does have sufficient variety in its action in theory, though this is cheapened by the fact that this variety is chopped up into indistinguishable chunks due to the editing. It’s like a stir fry. Put as many ingredients in it as you please by all means but after 2 hours on a high heat it’s still going to be a black cess-pool that you could have sworn looked better when Nigella did it.
Faint Praise for what is ultimately the second-best in 15 year series of disposable computer-generated shooting galleries. Let this be the true end, I’m tired of this evil taking up residence on our screens and in our heads.