Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a bad movie. It is a terrible, ridiculous, over-the-top, spectacularly bad movie … and that’s why I loved it.
Look, let’s be clear — there are no good Resident Evil movies. They’re all bad in one way or another, but after Resident Evil: Extinction (the third one) they fully-embraced the gonzo and took bad to a whole other, zombie-killing, ass-kicking, two shotgun-barrels-to-the-head level.
Did I mention I love these movies?
The Final Chapter picks up shortly after the end of the fifth Resident Evil movie, Retribution. Series protagonist Alice (Milla Jovovich) had led a small army of survivors to Washington, D.C. for a final showdown with the Umbrella Corporation.
They failed. In the opening frames of the movie we’re re-introduced to Alice as she crawls out of a ruined bunker. She soon learns from the Red Queen — Umbrella’s sometimes malevolent artificial intelligence — that the corporation intends to launch doomsday attacks on the handful of remaining human settlements in a few days. There is hope though: Umbrella has an airborne anti-virus stored in its Racoon City installation. All Alice needs to do is infiltrate the death trap, stop the world-wide attack, and release the anti-virus.
Gonzo Zombie Slaying
If, while reading the introduction, you rolled your eyes at the “airborne anti-virus” … this is not the movie for you. If you balk at the liberal use of clones to remedy plot holes … then this is not the movie for you. If you question the logic of an arbitrary, pointless, Alamo-style stand against the undead while a doomsday clock is running down … then this is not the movie for you.
But if love people getting sliced and diced by lasers, gigantic monstrosities grown using questionable science, and the gratuitous use of air ventilation fans as a death machine … well, grab the popcorn and sit down. We’ve saved a seat for you.
I can not defend this movie on the grounds that it is good, but I can defend it on the grounds that it is awesome. It is, in so many ways, powered by the Rule of Cool, logic and plot be damned. Indeed, if at any point you find yourself wondering how the plot got us to a particular point in the movie … you’re doing it wrong. Stop thinking. Refill your popcorn.
That seat will be waiting for you when you get back (and something will likely be exploding soon, so hurry).
The series gave up the survival horror basis of the video game that inspired it long ago, jumping into full-on gonzo horror with the third film, Resident Evil: Extinction. Since then zombies have played a bit part in the spectacle that is a Resident Evil film; sure they are there, and the apocalypse is still ongoing, but the films are really about what new horrors Umbrella can spawn … and how cool Alice looks killing them.
This movie’s no exception and it retains its anything-can-happen with clones approach. In addition to Alice, we’re reintroduced to Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), previously presumed mutated and dead in Resident Evil: Extinction. This time around he’s a religious zealot who sees the zombie apocalypse as a Biblical cleaning. He’s leading a column of Umbrella soldiers — as well as a horde of zombies — to Raccoon City for the final strike against humanity.
Also returning is Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), Alice’s occasional sidekick since Extinction and leader of a band of survivors, the sunglasses-wearing menace Wesker (Shawn Roberts), who heads up security at the Raccoon City installation, and — of course — laser deathtraps.
The final battle scenes inside the Hive complex are actually somewhat understated compared to the previous Resident Evil movies — Alice has no psionic powers nor an army of clones to help her — but its nonetheless good fun. The film itself ends on a cathartic note that leads the series open to additional sequels (never you mind the Final Chapter bit in the title).
- Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
- Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
- Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
- Stars: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter
- Release Date: 27 January 2017 (USA)
- Rated R for sequences of violence throughout.
- Run time: 106 minutes