Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

Genre: Action and Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.

Release Date: January 27th, 2017 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson Actors: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy, Rola, Ever Anderson

 


 

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f anything can be gleaned from a signifier like “The Final Chapter,” it’s that this almost certainly is not the last one. But it really should be. Here, things pick up about where they left off (though it oddly skips over the previous entry’s cliffhanger ending, and offers no closure for numerous, major missing cast members), but not before a brief recap of the former five features.

Notable doctor James Marcus (Mark Simpson) wished to create a cure for his daughter’s progressive, fatal, wasting disease, leading to the development of the T-Virus. Miraculously, the drug also cured countless other diseases, though it would eventually reveal some rather nasty side-effects. The primary one, of course, would be the zombification of virtually everyone, fueled by the greed of Dr. Alexander Roland Isaacs (Iain Glen), Marcus’ scheming partner, and initiated by an outbreak in Raccoon City, which quickly spread across the world. After battling hordes of the undead, a small group of survivors made their last stand in Washington D.C., but it was a trap.

“My name is Alice. And this is my story. The end of my story.” Now alone and wandering through familiarly decimated cityscapes (with no specific explanation as to how she was separated from her allies), Alice (Milla Jovovich) scavenges for whatever bits of food or water or vehicles she can find (such as a curiously operable HUMMER, complete with explosives onboard). If stumbling upon the exact usable items she needs isn’t outrageously dubious enough, a few seconds later, Alice wanders into a lightless building, which just so happens to have a working flashlight discarded at the entrance, ready for her to pick up.

In this inexplicably convenient facility, Alice discovers computer monitors connected to the Red Queen (Ever Anderson), a program that, for some unknown reason, wishes to help Alice stop the T-Virus from infecting the last 4,000 or so human survivors left on Earth. In order to generate immediacy, the Red Queen insists that those remaining people only have 48 hours before certain doom. But there’s still hope: an airborne antivirus, located beneath Raccoon City – inside the Hive, the original lab from where the T-Virus escaped – can be dispersed, which should destroy all the zombies and finally put an end to … everything.

In the first few seconds of the story proper, Alice is attacked by not one, but two blood-lusting zombie monsters, resulting in high-octane, action-packed fight sequences. With every eye-blink, more and more erratic movements pummel the screen, relentlessly assaulting the senses. For target audiences, this is appropriate; fast-paced blurs of fists and knives and guns and teeth are exactly what they want. For other viewers, it’s a wealth of nonsensical choreography and rapid cuts for the obscuration of lacking – or lagging – martial arts skills. Still, the picture moves swiftly, in a good way, though it’s perpetually questionable that actions, reactions, and complex plans can be conducted so speedily, almost as if time has stood still. No one has time to breath – and that goes for the audience as well. Even when additional seconds are needed for clarity or continuity, they’re simply not dispensed.

Meanwhile, thanks to clones, which were introduced a few chapters ago, several key players keep coming back; or, perhaps it’s just Alice who never seems to die. Either way, characters that should have been dead are never permanently gone. But it hardly matters; pockets of resistance fighters are always available for overdramatic casualties – or as fodder for limitless swarms of flesh-eaters. The same applies to villains, who materialize whenever needed to keep the pressure on (“Something’s stalking us”); and cruxes, which have a way of being the “last” or “only” of an essential piece of ultimate salvation.

Despite the passing years, the computer graphics haven’t improved much. This is a shame, considering the film relies more and more on animated sequences. Fortunately, however, it doesn’t depend on a sensible story, which changes ideas and shifts goals, seemingly duplicating the lengthier, mission-based complications of a video game. Additionally, obstacles and booby-traps present themselves regularly, producing creative yet brutal ways for forgettable supporting roles to perish (again, not dissimilar to video game tropes). Almost laughably, further intricacies arise, including the possibility of an informant in the group, a revelation about an orchestrated apocalypse, and the visualization of a Noah’s Ark for the rich, all of which might have had potency if addressed in a separate picture (save for the predictive combat software, which is just plain silly). At least the set designs are nice.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10