Like the Underworld series, which returned to theaters a few weeks ago, the Resident Evil franchise has come back from a few years off to give its kick-ass female lead yet more opportunity to shoot, blow up, and otherwise dispatch of the bad guys─be they vampires, werewolves, or zombies.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the sixth film (and, despite its title, probably not the last) in the series that started way back in 2002. Written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson, who has helmed the entire series, and once again starring his wife Milla Jovovich, it picks up shortly after the events of 2012’s Resident Evil: Retribution.
Alice (Jovovich) is alone in post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. with her band of merry men and women inexplicably absent, along with her nemesis Wesker (Shawn Roberts). After a brief gratuitous fight with a zombie dragon-thing, Alice gets a message from the Red Queen (played by Jovovich and Anderson’s own daughter Ever Gabo Anderson) that the Umbrella Corporation has developed an airborne anti-virus for the global epidemic-causing T-virus and stashed it in The Hive under Raccoon City. (If anything in that sentence didn’t make sense, you’re excused from the festivities.)
The Red Queen tells Alice that all of humanity will be wiped out in just 48 hours, so (ta-da!) we get a convenient countdown clock ticking down throughout the film. As Alice hightails it to the Hive she runs into Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), a man who has taken it upon himself to purge the Earth of its population so he and society’s other desirables can start fresh. (Never mind the fact that Isaacs was killed three movies earlier.) He’s armed with a massive army of zombies, but Alice escapes and makes it to The Hive ahead of them. Once there, she joins up with an all new band of merry men and women, including franchise vet Claire (Ali Larter), and the film is just a race against time (and bad guys) to save the world.
The Final Chapter is louder than an EDM concert and peppered with just as much frenetic lighting. Bullets and bombs fly at you with the tenacity of mosquitoes on the lake shore in summertime, and the slap-dash editing is just as crazy. Jovovich continues to throw her all into the role, somehow seeming as though she’s taking this whole thing seriously, bless her. Anderson, for his part, keeps up his end of the bargain, making up for the disaster that was Retribution.
Sure, the script alternates between hammy and flat-out ridiculous (including the cheat of an ending that should come as a surprise to no one), but no one in the audience is pretending this is anything more than the mindless action flick it is. Frankly it’s everything we’ve come to expect in the Resident Evil series, and if The Final Chapter indeed marks the end of the road, it’s not too shabby a way to go out.
Worth the 3D glasses?
Hey, if you’re gonna pony up the cash for two hours of unadulterated loud and frenzied fights, you may as well add a couple bucks and go all out. Anderson clearly writes and directs these films with the third dimension in mind, and there’s certainly plenty of eye candy to enjoy. Heck, go for it.