Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the 6th, and supposedly final installment in Paul W. S. Anderson’s franchise based on the highly successful Video Game series. This sees Alice return to The Hive in Raccoon City, the underground setting of the first film.
The plot for The Final Chapter is a little silly, Alice is searching for a cure before Umbrella manage to destroy all the final strongholds of humanity left across the globe. These strongholds will some how all be destroyed at the same time to the second, and Alice has until then to stop it. This was genuinely one of the most ridiculous uses of a ticking clock cliché once I started to think about, and due to the predictability of the story I found myself distracted by things like this throughout the film. If you’ve ever seen an action/horror B movie before then you can probably guess how this is going to go, including which characters are going to die, who the traitor in the group is, and what the big reveal near the end will be (seriously they telegraph it 3 times before it happens). But I guess a rather predictable story is slightly better than completely incomprehensible, as with the 5th installment.
But the poor story in past Resident Evil films has often been made up for by some great action sequences. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. The action is so poorly directed, overusing quick cuts in editing to the point that it is nearly impossible to actually tell what is going on. And it’s not like Milla Jovovich is incapable of doing fight scenes or action sequences, because she’s made a name doing them, especially in this franchise, so I’m not sure why Paul W. S. Anderson felt the need to use such quick editing when he is working with a great action stat. When you consider that Anderson is normally a director with some great visual flare you have to be disappointed by the lacklustre and confusing action. It doesn’t help that most of the film looks like it was all done with CGI. So whilst the special effects on the monsters and zombies are still great, everything else around them often looks slightly fake.
The horror elements of the film are equally as disappointing. The film has a fair few jump scares thrown into it, but nothing beyond those simple jump scares. And like much of the rest of the film these are predictable scares. They come exactly when you would expect them to, with no variety to attempt to throw off the viewer and increase the surprise of the moment. Given that the film is not scary, and the action doesn’t work, there isn’t much worthwhile here at all.
The one redeeming aspect of The Final Chapter is, as has always been the case in the Resident Evil franchise, Milla Jovovich as Alice. She’s still an awesome, and kickass heroine. Jovovich’s capable of doing action, and is so very watchable in that role. Her performance might not be the greatest level of Oscar winning acting, but it’s always been exactly what Resident Evil needs as a B movie action horror franchise. There is a couple of other returning characters, including Ali Larter’s Claire Redfield, Ian Glen’s Dr Isaacs, and Shawn Roberts’ Albert Wesker. But Alice is still the great central character, although I do rather enjoy Glen’s villainous pontificating as well.
The one other aspect about the film that I actually found myself enjoying, although I’m sure not in the way the film makers intended, was the music. Everything in Paul Haslinger’s score was so over the top and dramatic in the most clichéd sounding way that I couldn’t help but find it entertaining. There was absolutely no subtlety to it, and given that I was once again being distracted from what was actually happening in the film, I found myself drawing entertainment from the music.
I can’t recommend that anyone goes to see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter unless they’re already really invested in the series. Apart from Jovovich as Alice there isn’t really anything to redeem this installment of a franchise that should’ve ended a couple of films ago now.