Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is one of the only films I’ve ever seen that starts with a clean slate, but also picks up minutes after the film that came before it. Remember when Wesker (Shawn Roberts) gives Alice (Milla Jovovich) her powers back and they, along with Ada Wong (Li Bingbing), Leon Kennedy (Johann Urb) and Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), watch as Washington D.C. is overtaken by zombies and other monsters? Well, Washington D.C. is razed to the ground and Ada, Leon and Jill are nowhere to be found in this film. Presumably they all died in between these two movies, but nobody mentions that so maybe they lived?
Anyway, Alice is given a 48-hour time limit to reach Raccoon City and save humanity from going extinct by the Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson) who decides she doesn’t want to wipe us out anymore thanks to a mysterious file uploaded into her system.
In terms of action, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter does everything it can to make sure its wastes as little of its 106 minute runtime on dialog as possible. Paul W.S. Anderson went the distance to make sure that every leftover action scene idea he had left over in his brain made it into this film, and the plot he spins along with them is just coherent enough to give the audience something to root for.
There are so many fight scenes in this film that some characters don’t even have time to tell you their name. The fights themselves are well-choreographed, but the shots cut so often, and the camera is zoomed in so far that sometimes it’s a little tough to keep up. The monsters in the film are a mixed bag of CG and prosthetic effects, but in both cases they look pretty good and suitably gross. There’s definitely an over-abundance of jumpscares, and I’ll happily admit the first few are original and made me jump in my seat, they get pretty silly by the end of it all.
I was really impressed with the CGI environment work in this film. The wiped out version of Washington D.C. was a haunting visual that looked as good as some of the bigger budget superhero films, and every scene featuring hoards of zombies outdid World War Z hands down. The only visual effects that looked a little cheesy were the numerous explosions that blow characters into the sky, but of course since it’s Resident Evil they end up just fine.
If you were hoping that the effort that went into tying Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Retribution to the game series these films were spawned from, you’re going to be a little let down. The only character, as far as I can tell, that makes their way back into this one is Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). She has a couple badass fight scenes herself, but she’s mostly just there to cheer Alice on in her quest to end the Umbrella Corporation. There are a couple of bat creatures that look like they may have been taken out of “Resident Evil 6” though.
The biggest disappointment in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the teased return to Raccoon City and the ‘Umbrella Hive’ from the first film. Except for one amazing fight scene in the infamous laser hallway, by the time the main characters get there the film has already decided it’s time to wrap up. There’s a great convergence of heroes and villains but before I had any chance to take it all in, the credits were rolling.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how many comedic moments there are in the film. The series has always been a little tongue-in-cheek, but this one doesn’t pull any stops on letting you know that it’s totally aware of how absurd its gotten over the years and all of the jokes and one-liners elicited laughs from the entire theater. It’s great to see Paul W.S. Anderson take a breath and let some genuine humor into the series.
Since this film’s primary job is to wrap up the insane, twisted story that Paul W.S. Anderson has spun over the years, one that somehow out-batshits the games, the reasoning for Umbrella causing the near-extinction of the human race is revealed. It takes a bizarre religious turn that isn’t ever really explained in detail but the character spearheading the whole thing makes it all worthwhile. The clone sub-plot is re-introduced and thankfully the film doesn’t wait for explanations so you’re never forced to look to far into it.
If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil film franchise, you’re probably going to love Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Despite this being the sixth film in the franchise, there’s really not much tying it to past films, so if you’re dying for an insane action-horror hybrid I think it’s worth seeing with a group of friends. The end is both definitive and left just open enough for a ‘just in case’ sequel, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. It’s not a great film by any stretch, but at this point you should know what you’re walking into with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and I can confidently say it’s a high point of the series.