Resident Evil is the most successful videogame-to-film franchise ever, and the first to cross a billion dollars at the box office. To be honest though, that’s more because the competition has generally been so awful, rather than because Resident Evil is so good.
This was promised as the final part of the story of Alice (Milla Jovovich), although thanks to a $300 million gross (largely due to its popularity in China, as it bombed in the US) don’t be surprised if it returns to the big screen in some form. Set shortly after the last movie, Retribution, Alice is one of the few survivors of humanity, trapped between the undead on one side, and the evil Umbrella Corporation on the other.
She is surprised when the Red Queen – Umbrella’s holographic security system that has been trying to thwart her for years – informs her that an antidote exists to the virus that causes the undead. However, due to her programming, the Red Queen can’t do anything about it herself. She wants Alice to go back to where it all started – The Hive in Raccoon City – to retrieve the antidote, and if she does she may be able to put an end to Umbrella’s plans for good.
That involves going up against the enhanced powers of the insidious Umbrella co-owner Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), reuniting with old friend Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), and learning some shocking secrets about herself.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Resident Evil franchise, you might find the first 15 minutes of The Final Chapter a bit confusing. After that though, things become a bit clearer and once its sorted out the basic driver of the plot, it becomes quite fun.
You will have to be prepared to be confused a few more times though, whether you know Resident Evil or not, due to director Paul W.S. Anderson’s love of editing moments of action so fast that it’s difficult to work out exactly what is going on. It would be less of a problem if it didn’t happen at some of the most important moments in the movie, so that you’ll wondering if you missed something or not. Mostly you won’t have missed something, it’s just the editor getting so over-excited they forgot to tell the story properly.
There’s little about The Final Chapter that feels inspired. Like most of the earlier films, it’s a bit of a perfunctory trip into the territory of dystopias, zombies and evil corporations, with Umbrella taking the idea of destroying civilisation to build a new one to a whole new level. It’s fine, but it rarely comes to life, not helped by the fact that even Milla Jovovich seems bored of what’s going on this time around.
It does briefly come gravitate towards something better towards the end, when it presents a bit of a women against the world scenario, but it could have made a lot more of it to help further enliven what becomes a somewhat tedious and to hyper-kinetic battle between Alice and Dr. Isaacs.
Fans of the franchise should be satisfied though. It sets out to tie up various loose ends that have been brought up over the six movies, and by the end it’s pretty much done that. It also leaves the door open for more adventure, whether that involves Alice or not, but I can’t imagine too many people will be begging to see a continuation.
Those who are fans will probably enjoy the bonus features, as there are some decent ones, including the Retaliation Mode, which sees Milla Jovovich and Paul WS Anderson popping up during the movie to discuss the film and the evolution of the series from 2002 until now. You can also choose a version with a bonus disc that includes even more featurettes and behind-the-scenes goodies.
Overall Verdict: A passable conclusion to the Resident Evil movies. It’ll satisfy fans while everyone else will still wonder how it managed to get to a fifth instalment.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac