Review: The sixth installment of Resident Evil franchise opens with a recaps of ‘the story so far’ narrated by the protagonist, Umbrella’s prodigal daughter, Alice (Milla Jovovich). Going further to several years prior to the first film, the prologue jumps to the event in the first film, and abruptly shifts to several minutes before this Final Chapter.
At one point it’s a courtesy to help audiences refresh and brush up some worn-off memories about the plot of the whole franchise. At the same time, it confirms that, except for the first installment, Resident Evil is rather prolonged, characterless, and forgettable. The Final Chapter has the potentials to wipe that gripe off, to make a lasting final impression; but, the same thing that weighed down its predecessors weighs it down, too.
The Final Chapter starts with a twist—the cliffhanger in the end of Retribution isn’t a fight for humanity at all. It’s actually a trap and an off-screen method to kill all protagonists but Alice. She learns a substantial information that an antivirus, which is able to kill the T-virus and all the infected, lies in the ground zero, on the Hive in Raccoon City. Alice needs to end the whole catastrophe right where it all started with only 48 hours left to save humanity.
The plot of Final Chapter is more of a basic action trope than survival. Alice goes along the way, facing familiar faces and overcoming familiar obstructions (come one, another hybrids of zombie dogs, laser traps, mutated biological weapons?) until she reaches Raccoon City, which looks completely different. Imagine you play Resident Evil as a total action game, in which you’re rewarded a piece of important information almost after completing a challenge.
While familiar, most of the actions are heavily-choreographed and structured; but, the excitement is lessened by stiff, choppy editing and annoying high-decibel sound effects. Paul W.S. Anderson borrows some B-movie survival tropes in which the protagonist leads a group of survivors only to help eliminated by traps alike; this scheme works best in the first installment and, almost, works perfectly in this chapter if only we’re not tired of the franchise’s dull body counts.
There are some borrowed elements from other films used in Final Chapter. At some points, there’s a shade of George Miller’s Mad Max reflected from the wasteland and the vehicle design. There’s also some nods to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, which gives us a laughable battle predictive system. Combined with some nostalgic moments to the game series and the first two installments, those elements do not actually enhance anything but some additional gimmicks to cramp the thin plot.
The only consistently best thing about Final Chapter and other Resident Evil films is: model-actress Milla Jovovich, who has absorbed the badass persona of Alice. Jovovich, with her character, has become a femme fatale and Resident Evil icon, although her character is a completely original character without video-game origins. Alice might be full of cliches, however, The Final Chapter surprisingly gives her justice—not as a banal action hero, but a complex one with layers of twist.
The Final Chapter also concludes the whole Umbrella Corporation madness with a more accountable and multi-dimensional motivation that we never expected before. Only that noble intention gets drowned in a pool of nonsensical cliches and mess built up from its second installments to the sixth. This final chapter could’ve been worked well if it’s a material for the third or fourth film at maximum; after all, we’ve already forgotten what’s going on since Extinction.
The twists in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter somehow confirms that the franchise’s grand narrative is well-written (or expanded), but details in each entry are often messy and muddled, like this one. The Final Chapter is another messy, choppy, noisy and dizzying sequel, which doesn’t really serve a real final chapter trope.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)