Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, William Levy
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Touted as the final entry in the film franchise, its success as enjoyable popcorn entertainment will undoubtedly inspire more sequels.
The five previous Resident Evil movies have never been particularly “good”; in terms of coherent storytelling and well-structured plots they’re an abject failure, but at their best they’ve been dumb fun anchored by Milla Jovovich’s engaging turn as enigmatic, arse-kicking protagonist, Alice. The first movie in particular managed to take iconography from the video game series upon which it’s loosely based and wove a brisk, enjoyable yarn directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Alien vs. Predator).
Somewhere around part three or four, however, the dumb fun turned into incomprehensible nonsense, weaving plot strands that involved clones, superpowers, implanted memories and various other unnecessarily convoluted, hacky plot devices that rendered the series almost as confusing and inert as Underworld.
Happily, unlike the recent Underworld: Blood Wars, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (which it almost certainly isn’t) doubles down on what makes the series good(ish) and delivers a focused entry, brimming with zombie hordes, slavering monsters and evildoers just begging for some punchy-kicky retribution courtesy of Milla.
The plot, such as it is, pretty much forgets about the complications from the previous two entries and begins with a simple premise: Alice needs to get from DC to the crater beneath Raccoon City and re-enter The Hive, the underground base from the original Resident Evil, to save humanity once and for all. Along the way she’ll battle monsters, face off against the evil Doctor Isaacs (Iain Glen) and collect a ragtag group of survivors including Claire Redfield (Ali Larter once again given too little dialogue) and Ruby Rose (because now all action franchises must contain Ruby Rose).
Of course the story is just a framework for a series of action sequences showcasing Milla’s acrobatic combat in tight clothing, but Anderson proves he can still squeeze a few new tricks from his extremely shopworn franchise. Ultimately, if Resident Evil: The Final Chapter proves to actually be the concluding entry (which it almost certainly will not) then it goes out on a high. It’s not a total reinvention for the series (unlike the excellent Resident Evil VII: Biohazard video game) but it’s genuinely enjoyable popcorn entertainment that’s dumber than a sack of monkey trousers but fun nonetheless.