Creating a movie franchise that lasts six films and spans fifteen years is no easy task, making it a “good” franchise is even trickier, add in the simple fact that there haven’t been very many good movies based of video game properties and it makes this achievement quite remarkable. Assassin’s Creed recently hit theaters and was more boring than bad, this is something the Resident Evil movies have managed to avoid by being kind of nuts, maybe its low expectations or possibly my love of watching Milla Jovovich running around kicking ass that helps, but I’m one of those that gets a kick out of these movies. Sure they’re not all that great but they are also a lot of fun, if you just strap in to enjoy the ride that is.
One thing viewers of the Resident Evil franchise must quickly come to grips with is that this series has an inability to follow any kind of consistent continuity, and one must also always be ready to accept the fact that whatever exciting cliffhanger the last movie ended with there is a 90% chance it won’t be addressed in the next one. Resident Evil: Retribution ended with evil Umbrella Corporation villain Wesker (Shawn Roberts) switching sides and joining Alice (Milla Jovovich) along with Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), Leon Kennedy (Johann Urb), and Ada Wong (Bingbing Li) to take on the Red Queen, who was apparently trying to wipe out humanity. The last shot of the movie was of our group of characters standing on the roof of the White House while enormous hordes of T-virus abominations swarm all over the walls. It all looked rather hopeless.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter begins three weeks after the events in the previous film and we only see Alice climbing out of the wreckage of the White House. When she burst free of the rubble she finds no sign of any of her friends, and her superpowers which Wesker had promised to return are still missing as is Wesker himself, and we of course later learned that Wesker had betrayed them. How did this all go down? Are Alice’s compatriots all dead? Did that horde of abominations get bored and go home? Well if you expect answers to any of these questions you’ve come to the wrong franchise.
Alice is then attacked by a T-Virus monster that decided to hang around but even a flying mutated monstrosity is no match for our Alice, super powers or no super powers she is still a stone cold badass, and after killing the thing she proceeds to do the Mad Max “wander the wasteland” thing for a bit.
She isn’t allowed to wander aimlessly for long as Wesker isn’t the only returning villain in this movie as we get Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), who despite being brutally killed by Alice in an earlier film is back in full mustache twirling mode, and his return should be a surprise to no one as clones are nothing new to this series. What is odd here is that we learn that Isaacs has gone all extreme-religious and that the T-Virus apocalypse was not some accidental by-product of corporate espionage, even though it seemed that way in the first film, but it’s all been part of a master plan to wipe the world of mankind with just the head honchos of Umbrella surviving to make up an new sort of Noah’s Ark. If it seems a little odd for a franchise to be rebooting the chief motivations of the villain just in time for the last entry, well strap yourselves in as things get even goofier. The Red Queen (Ever Anderson) informs Alice that in 48 hours the last remnants of humanity will die, and unless Alice can break into the Raccoon City Umbrella facility (codenamed The Hive) and retrieve a vial of an airborne antivirus that will kill every organism infected by the T-virus. She only has to survive Wesker’s deadly booby-traps and Isaac’s army of the undead to achieve this.
Whenever Milla Jovovich is in whoop-ass mode the movie is insanely fun, but anytime the action slows down enough to let you think about the plot it suffers greatly. It’s during these brief lulls in the action that certain questions will pop into one’s head such as, “Why is Isaacs doing a Pied Piper impression with an army of zombies if all the remaining people in the world are going to be dead in a couple of days anyway? How can an airborne virus help people on the other side of the world in time? And why in the hell is the tunnel into the Hive still open hours after Isaacs ordered the facility to go into complete lockdown?” The movie will attempt to answer one of those questions but in such away that it will kind of negate Alice’s primary mission. It’s almost as if the screenwriters realized a major plot hole and then tried to spackle over it at the last second. I don’t want to get into spoilers but once you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Now Alice isn’t going to have to fight Umbrella and associates all on her own for once she reaches the nuked remains of Raccoon City she will run into a group of survivors that include her old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). Just who are these survivors and how they and Clair ended up living in a high-rise building in this bombed out city is one of many things never addressed, not that we care because aside from the character of Doc (Eoin Macken) they are all almost instantly forgettable, and the only reason Doc sticks out is because he’s kind of a “love interest” for Claire and he survives longer than the rest of his the bland brigade. Someone should tell writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson that just because you shoot a person’s death scene in slow motion it still won’t make us to give a shit about them, especially if we didn’t know who the fuck they were in the first place.
In the film’s 106 minute runtime Alice will fight off numerous Umbrella goons, hordes of zombies, a pack of T-Virus monstrosities, room after room of deathtraps and one jacked-up supervillain, but nothing will slow Alice down or even make her pause to see if any of this makes sense. The movie does throw in a nice little twist to Alice’s backstory, which kind of fits if you close one eye and squint a little, and the action sequences are mostly a lot of fun to watch. You can tell Milla Jovovich loves playing Alice and Iain Glen is clearly relishing his turn as a villain while taking a break from filming Game of Thrones, unfortunately Ali Larter is still not that good of an actress and her part seemed to be shoehorned in because the producers thought they needed at least one other returning members of Alice’s band (not being able to afford more than one apparently), and the “Last Chapter” is clearly only an accurate title if this film doesn’t make enough money. The Friday the 13th franchise managed seven films after their “Last Chapter” so don’t hold your breath thinking this is the end of this particular series.
• Flashbacks of Dr. James Marcus completely re-write his death as to happening prior to the first movie and not as how it happened in Raccoon City at the end of the second movie.
• Alice gets trapped in the laser hallway from the first film but somehow it and the writers have forgotten the laser grid pattern that can dice a person into tiny cubes.
• Is it just me or does Shawn Roberts as Wesker look like a CGI character?
• Cerberus hounds chase our heroes until they enter the Hive, stopping because they must be “afraid of something” but unless it’s a slow closing door there is nothing for these things to fear.
• The Red Queen is helping Alice because she values human life. This does not seem to be a character trait in evidence in any of the previous films.
• There is a confrontation that blatantly rips-off the “You’re fired!” moment from Robocop.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is dumb as a bag of hammers, but unlike some video gamed based movies this series clearly embraces the fact that it’s stupid. Paul W.S. Anderson seems to be waving a banner stating, “Continuity is for losers!” and if you go in with that knowledge you may have a good time.