Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Paul W S Anderson
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, Ali Larter, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy, Mark Simpson, Joon-Gi Lee.
The sixth, and hopefully final, instalment of this successful franchise based on a popular genre mashing video game actually takes the bloody post-apocalyptic series full circle. Taking up shortly after where Resident Evil: Retribution left off, The Final Chapter sees our heroine Alice (again played by Milla Jovovich) informed by the Red Queen that a cure exists for the T virus that has laid waste to the world and transformed most of the population into zombies. She has 48 hours to reach the devastated Raccoon City and infiltrate the Umbrella Corporation’s Hive fortress and find the virus. As she makes her way across an apocalyptic wasteland she also has to evade the evil Dr Isaacs (Game Of Thrones’ Iain Glen) who is leading a horde of zombies toward the city.
When Alice returns to the Hive she has to make her way through some booby-trapped corridors and subterranean rooms, much of which we saw in the first film fifteen years earlier. It seems that after five previous instalments, writer and director Paul W S Anderson has run out of ideas and inspiration. Much of the action here is uninspired and repetitive.
But any semblance of a coherent plot is spoiled by the CGI littered messy action sequences, plenty of gore, and a high body count. Much of the action is rendered dull and unwatchable thanks to the frantic, sloppy and chopping editing of Doobie White (Gamer, etc), and Anderson’s inability to hold a shot for more than five seconds. This is also one of the most visually ugly action films of recent years, although regular cinematographer Glen MacPherson’s gritty and dirty visuals suit the post-apocalyptic setting and themes.
The series has grown grimmer in tone across subsequent episodes, but even hard core fans of the Resident Evil films will be hard pressed to find too many positives in this messy, scrappy mess.
Like the recent Hunger Games franchise and the Underworld series, the Resident Evil franchise centres on a tough as nails, feisty and seemingly indestructible heroine. Jovovich is certainly good as Alice, a role that requires little in the way of emotion and character development, but demands a lot physically. Alice assembles a motley crew to help her in her mission, including series regular Claire Redfield (Ali Larter, returning to the series after a five year absence), but the bulk of them are ciphers and given little character development. Ruby Rose, who was so good in the recent reboot of the XXX franchise is wasted here in a fairly thankless role.
And as for the villains here they are a fairly clichéd bunch. Glen all but chews the scenery as Isaacs the evil former CEO of Umbrella. Shawn Roberts is given little to do as the villainous Albert Wester who waits patiently in the Hive’s high-tech nerve centre for Alice to come and kick some butt. Playing the holographic Artificial Intelligence of the Red Queen here is Ever Anderson, the 9-year old daughter of the director and Jovovich.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter claims to be the final film in the series – but is it really? A coda hints at yet another film, although this would depend on the box office results, and there has been speculation that the whole franchise is about to be developed into a television series.