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Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a fitting end for the franchise, in that it’s a terrible movie that indulges in everything that made all the other ones awful as well – no internal plot logic, non-existent characters, no regard for series continuity and ridiculously overblown action scenes.
The Resident Evil movie series has consistently and inexplicably punished audiences who’ve watched previous entries by blatantly disregarding important plot points from movie to movie. In Resident Evil: Apocalypse, it was established that the T-virus, the source of the zombie outbreak that consumed the world, was created by Dr. Ashford as a cure for his daughter’s genetic disease. The Final Chapter opens with a segment that claims a completely different scientist, James Marcus, created the virus to cure HIS daughter from a different genetic disease.
In Apocalypse as well as Resident Evil: Extinction, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) was a scientist for the Umbrella Corporation that worked for Albert Wesker (played then by Jason O’Mara). The Final Chapter tells us that Dr. Isaacs now co-owns half of the Umbrella Corporation (and always has) and that Wesker (Shawn Roberts as of Resident Evil: Afterlife) is his subordinate. Since clones of Dr. Isaacs are a plot point in this one, maybe he decided to make a clone of himself that had less authority and no memories for the fun of it – or maybe Iain Glen’s role in Game of Thrones was enough of a reason for writer and director Paul W.S. Anderson to make him such an important figure. It’s not too much of stretch, considering the entire series more or less exists so that Anderson can spotlight how awesome his wife Mila Jovovich is.
Speaking of Jovovich, last time we saw her character, Alice, she was brought to the ruins of Washington D.C by Wesker, who proposed an alliance against the nefarious Red Queen and her plans for world domination. The Final Chapter sweeps that cliffhanger under the rug with a throwaway line – Washington was a trap by Wesker and the Red Queen no longer wants to destroy the world, she’s working with Alice to save it. Poor payoffs to cliffhangers is another Resident Evil film series staple since Extinction.
So anyway, the Red Queen tells Alice humanity has 48 hours before it’s completely eradicated and that she needs to go back to the Hive, the secret hi-tech facility from the first movie, to acquire an anti-virus that can prevent it. For some reason, Alice and everyone else in the movie treat the 48-hour time frame like it’s a bomb countdown as if every human being left on the planet will just drop dead once the timer on her watch hits zero.
If you guessed that dozens of hours will appear to pass in the span of a minute while the climactic final battle will a superpowered Dr. Isaacs will take way more time than the alleged five minutes Alice has left to save the planet, you’re absolutely right. I could go on picking apart the nonsense plot piece-by-piece, but suffice it to say, none of it adds up either on its own terms or as part of a long-running series. A bunch of new characters are introduced for the sole purpose of having a body count in action scenes and Ali Larter comes back as Claire Redfield because… eh… reasons. The character doesn’t do anything, as usual.
The action scenes are by far the worst the series has ever had. Whereas previous entries, particularly Afterlife and Retribution, relied on excessive slow motion, The Final Chapter swings in the opposite direction – the action is choppy and over-edited, with many scenes having close to a dozen shots occur within the span of a second. The slow-motion was annoying, but it at least made the action scenes intelligible. The action in The Final Chapter is both stupid and incomprehensible, more likely to give you a headache than any kind of enjoyment.
This is a movie that’s constantly afraid you’ll fall asleep because it keeps throwing incredibly cheap jump scares at you – apparently, the undead are the masters of being really quiet and sneaky, right up until they attack, when they start screaming and gargling.
Nothing about Resident Evil: The Final Chapter makes sense or is enjoyable in any way. It takes the worst this film series had to offer and doubles down on it, as a final middle finger to audiences everywhere. Let’s just hope this really is the last movie and it doesn’t end up like Friday the 13th, which had its ‘Final Chapter’ not even halfway into its lifespan.
If you’re still somehow a fan of this series and have endured all the crap it’s thrown at you, then maybe you’ll find a way to enjoy this, because apart from the bad action, everything that’s wrong with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is also everything that was wrong with the movies that preceded it. Everyone else should stay far away.