Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Movie Review
Review by Jeff Webb (B-)
Let's face it, you are not going to this movie expecting anything other than Milla Jovovich, "zombies", badassery from Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter and to see how this epic saga will end. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter does not fail to deliver the goods that have been offered over a span of time that has seen three different Spider-Men and three crappy Fantastic Four films. Say what you want but this series has legs.
And a lot of mouth tentacles.
Seriously, so many.
RE:TFC brings out the greatest hits: MJ on a motorcycle fighting zombie-things, MJ in an airplane fighting zombie-things, MJ standing back to back with Ali Larter kicking ass fighting zombie-things and MJ discovering some kind of inner secret about herself that saves the fate of the world.
OK, so I wrote all of the above before I saw the movie. As expected, it's all pretty true (ok, no airplane).
But is this movie any good?
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter may be the most "video game"-like of the Resident Evil movies. Much of that feeling is owed to the fact that Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the true protagonist in this movie. Even Claire (Ali Larter) is relegated to the background and Paul W.S. Anderson doesn't even make an attempt to do any character building with the remainder of the ragtag bunch that helps Alice and Claire along the way.
The two big baddies are Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen aka Jorah Mormont) and Wesker (Shawn Roberts aka has he been in other stuff?) who I thought was dead then was alive and at the end of the last movie was working with the good guys? Whatever, he's bad now and these two are good in their roles as bad guys.
Notably missing are any other of the characters that have popped up throughout the franchise: Jill Valentine, Ada Wong, Chris Redfield (Claire's brother), K-Mart and Urb, who were still alive last we knew. The movie pulls an Alien 3 to start and doesn't even address where any of them are—however, once things get going you hardly care. Again, the movie is focused on Alice alone, which works better than some of the previous installments.
There is not much new here and frankly the zombies are reduced to the background. Again, I think this is fine - we've played that out and the story is all about Alice finally defeating the Umbrella Corporation and its evil plan.
There are some nice nods to previous dystopian films like Escape from New York and The Road Warrior - the building standoff scene may be the highlight of the movie. We complete the circle by returning to the Hive from the first film. We learn some new things about the overarching story which fit well with the established lore and the film reaches its inevitable conclusion in a satisfying, if a fairly predictable way.
So, is this movie any good?
If you are this deep into the Resident Evil franchise then this movie is a fine addition. If you can get over the problems with losing the host of characters the previous films had built up then this may be one of the better in the series (I probably still prefer the first three). Focusing on Alice and Isaacs works well from a storytelling perspective.
There is a super painful scene between Alice and Claire where they basically "steel their resolve" to do what they need to in order to beat the bad guys. It's pretty stilted dialogue.
If you go into this without ever having seen a Resident Evil movie, Anderson does offer a “what happened last time” intro to get you caught up. But really, why would you see this film cold?
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.