Movie Review: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

The long-running zombie series might be drawing to a close

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson
With Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Iain Glen

There is one exception to the rule that movies based on video games are rather dreadful. The Resident Evil series has delivered fairy decent post-apocalyptic zombie action since 2002 and is poised to collectively break the $1 billion mark with the latest entry, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

The end does leave the door slightly ajar for open for more installments, though.

The Tomb Raider series offers some competition in the video game to film realm, but so far only has had two entries, with a reboot planned for 2018. And those films required a bit of familiarity with the game, while the Resident Evil films stand on their own as horror action.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens with a recap of the past events, and Alice (again played by Milla Jovovich) narrates. This is the sixth entry in the series, and opens in a devastated and overgrown Washington, DC, with the White House and national monuments in ruins — a poignant scene considering concerns over the direction the US is headed in after the recent elections.

Alice battles it out with some of the biotech monsters that were introduced in earlier episodes before getting a message that makes it crucial for her to return the Hive in Raccoon City, where the action began almost a decade and a half ago.

Her trip there is not so easy, but she still displays the formidable parkour skills that have kept her going through five previous films. The plot puts her back in direct conflict with Umbrella Corporation, which was responsible for unleashing the T-virus that caused the initial outbreak of zombies and also designed the biotech monsters. A lot of the back story of the series is filled in, with alternative facts that challenge what the audience was previously told.

Alice eventually links up with some other survivors, and there are several nice set pieces as they attempt to battle zombie hordes and invade the sealed-up Hive to complete their crucial mission.

Fans of the series won't be disappointed. Milla Jovovich continues to be the non-nonsense hero, making rather terse and dry comments, rather than the pointed humor that action heroes like those portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger go for.

Paul W. S. Anderson directed the first film in the series and the final three, and wrote all of them. He is competent in this sort of film, and also made Alien vs Predator in 2004. His credits include the rather mediocre 1995 film Mortal Kombat, also based on a videogame, but he seems to have learned from that debacle.

Anderson keeps the action swift, without too much rest from one confrontation to the next. While Alice's escapes aren't always credible, the film is too far into the next perilous situation by the time the audience starts to question the exact logic of the last one.

The film also looks incredibly good. The budget was $40 million, which doesn't go far these days when a lot of CGI is used. Anderson manages to conjure up vast zombie armies and destroyed landscapes, as well as the cavernous high-tech Hive without making it look like it was done by cutting corners.

As with all of the previous films, people who aren't zombie action fans need not apply for tickets. This is at its heart a horror film with a supermodel in the lead role, saving the world in a tight outfit while she doesn't mess up her hair and makeup too much.

But the series has managed to keep its standards high, and hasn't made cheaper and dumber entries as the series progressed. Sure, there are significant plotholes, but not enough to interfere with enjoying the escapism the film has to offer.

Stay through the credits for a final audio message from the Red Queen.

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