Marking the announced end of the video game-inspired sci-fi/horror film franchise that has produced six films in 15 years (it’s amazing how time flies when you’re bored out of your mind), Resident Evil: The Final Chapter delivers fans more of the same. Again starring the formidable Milla Jovovich as Alice, the ass-kicking heroine desperately attempting to save society from being decimated by an evil corporation, this installment provides a fitting finale for the series, inasmuch as it’s as mediocre as all the ones preceding it.
As with the recent edition of the similar Underworld franchise, the film begins with a recap of what’s gone on before, which seems less designed for newcomers than viewers who’ve actually seen the previous entries but can’t remember a thing about them.
The story begins with Washington, D.C., reduced to smoking ruins — one can only dream — and Alice heading to Raccoon City, the home of the Umbrella Corporation. There, she hopes to procure an airborne antivirus that can cure the millions of victims who have been transformed into zombies thanks to the company’s evil machinations. Alice finds out about the antivirus from the “Red Queen” (Ever Anderson, the 9-year-old daughter of Jovovich and the film’s writer-director, Paul W.S. Anderson), an Umbrella Corporation artificial intelligence program that has apparently turned rebellious.
Along the way, Alice must deal with her arch-nemesis, Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), who looks remarkably vigorous for a man who’s supposed to be dead.
“I killed you,” Alice says upon their first encounter. “Yet here I am,” Isaacs replies, which pretty well sums up the films’ approach to logical continuity.
Getting to Raccoon City isn’t easy, since Alice must also contend with hordes of rapacious zombies who apparently couldn’t find work on The Walking Dead, as well as mutant monster creatures representing the worst CGI effects that money can buy.
Jovovich, who doesn’t seem to have aged a bit since the series began, anchors the proceedings with her intense charisma and fierce athleticism. Alice remains an unstoppable physical force, capable of quickly dispatching a half-dozen armed bad guys even while hanging upside down, and Jovovich makes it all seem entirely credible. The action is practically nonstop from beginning to end, but is never remotely exciting due to the Cuisinart-style editing that reduces it all to an incomprehensible, messy blur. But the relentless mayhem at least has the benefit of providing mercifully little opportunity for the actors to deliver ham-fisted dialogue on the order of, “What are we going to do?” “We’re going to kill every last one of them.”
Fans will appreciate the appearance of such semi-regulars as Ali Larter as the scrappy Claire and Shawn Roberts as the villainous Albert Wesker. But such newcomers to the series as Ruby Rose (Orange Is the New Black) and Japanese actress/model Rola are barely given enough screen time to make an impression.
The climactic sequence admittedly delivers a few surprises — hint, hint: Clones are involved — that at least attempt to provide a smidgen of coherence to the absurdly convoluted storyline. And while Alice informs us via voiceover narration that “This is the end of my story,” the door is left wide open for, God help us, future installments.
Production companies: Constantin Films, David Films, Impact Pictures, Screen Gems
Distributor: Screen Gems
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Iain Glen, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, Rola, Lee Joon-Gi, Fraser James, William Levy
Director/screenwriter: Paul W.S. Anderson
Producers: Paul W.S. Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer, Samuel Hadida
Executive producers: Martin Moszkowicz, Victor Hadida
Director of photography: Glen MacPherson
Production designer: Edward Thomas
Editor: Doobie White
Costume designer: Reza Levy
Composer: Paul Haslinger
Casting: Suzanne M. Smith
Rated R, 106 minutes