Year: 2017
Director(s): Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer(s): Paul W.S. Anderson
Region of Origin: US

Rating: R
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Digital, Color, 106 mins

Synopsis: Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse. (Source)

Let’s not mince words, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a fan event, and as a fan, I loved this epic slice of madness. All along, the RE film series has been smart to carve its own path, mimicking the games only on surface, to create one of the most long-standing action-horror franchises ever created. I’ve long been hooked by the series’ cheap charm and charisma of long-suffering star Milla Jovovich, and if anything else, each chapter has been consistent. Like its predecessors, this film knows exactly how to win our hearts – it’s unabashed escapism from the word go, offering up a barrage of cheesy one-liners, zombie carnage and impossible physics, with simple-minded fun that’s just too good to pass up. This one rewards those of us who’ve been there since day one, finally giving the unyielding Alice some closure while allowing the series’ fractured mythology to come full circle.

Taking place right after its predecessor, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is reeling from a massive attack in Washington D.C., climbing out from underneath the rubble of the White House. Everything around is her is destroyed, and everyone she knew is gone. While taking shelter in ruins, she’s contacted by The Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson), The Umbrella Company’s sinister AI. The queen tells Alice that she has 48 hours to return to Raccoon City, and must release an airborne antivirus capable of killing every infected organism on Earth. Racing against the clock, Alice is forced to evade a deranged Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), who now has the beck and call of a host of mislead, cult-like followers. Once at Raccoon City, she discovers old friends and gears up to re-enter The Hive, ground zero of the T-Virus outbreak. What she finds at Umbrella’s subterranean epicenter will shatter everything she thought she knew, but also perhaps offer the world a new chance at redemption.

Though plot mechanics have never been the RE series’ main draw, the film does manage to give Alice an emotional arc, without skimping out on insane action and silly abandon fans have fallen in love with since the start. Overall, the plot’s ticking clock makes sure things never stay still for too long, and the entire thing feels like a riff off of Fury Road (in a good way). Though Anderson comes nowhere close to George Miller’s technical savvy or narrative heft, he does at least capture a similar freewheeling sense of lunacy and eccentricity, making things fun even amidst a barrage of exposition and mind-numbing explosions. On that note, the action feels much more muscular this time out, with Alice fighting hordes through large-scale battle sequences and vehicular mayhem. At this point, you know exactly what to expect, and it’s all here – murderous computer programs, clones, flesh-eating zombies, cults, gooey creatures, post-apocalyptic desperation, you name it!

Perhaps the most underrated part of the series is star Milla Jovovich. She has always shone through the series’ shoddy CGI and given everything its infectious grit, taking everything seriously and giving us a character we keep wanting to see more of. Her ferocity hasn’t skipped a beat in this final film, even as her character is put through the ringer. Jovovich, to me, is highly underrated, always all-in and one of the baddest heroine’s to ever grace the screen. It’s a shame the rest of the cast from previous installments are a no-show, but at least we get Ali Larter’s Claire. As the series’ villain, Isaacs, Iain Glen puts his back into it, adding to the film’s insanity with just a tinge of self-awareness.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter brings everything to a conclusion that fits the series. This is, by all accounts a top tier B-movie with tons of spunk, nothing more, nothing less, and the film wears this trait with a badge of honor that’s refreshing. Very few films manage to pack in the amount of crazy that’s captured here, and kudos to it for getting a bit existential towards the end, even if it’s just lip service. Bottom line: you won’t leave the theatre reevaluating your life, but if you’ve loved the series until now, you’ll walk out happy knowing that Milla J and crew made it to six films and went out on their own terms.

SG