Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence & horror
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Iain Glen as Dr. Alexander Isaacs
Ali Larter as Claire Redfield
Shawn Roberts as Albert Wesker
Eoin Macken as Doc
Fraser James as Razor
Ruby Rose as Abigail
William Levy as Christian
Rola as Cobalt
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return 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.
Aside from Apocalypse, I’ve generally been enjoying the Resident Evil movies, as silly as they were. At the same time though, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the last movie, I was hearing some particularly mixed things about the final instalment. Given that it was once again Paul W.S. Anderson directing, I was hoping to like it as much as Retribution, or even the original or Afterlife. Unfortunately, The Final Chapter doesn’t quite nail the landing, and although it has some enjoyable parts to it, there are just too many problems that are hard to overlook.
There were some very questionable decisions for the plot from the get go. If you remember the end of Retribution, there was a cliffhanger of Alice, her new allies and Wesker at the White House about to take on hordes of zombies. Since it’s announced quickly in the movie I feel comfortable in saying this, but basically Wesker once against screwed Alice over unsurprisingly, but the worst part is that we don’t get to see any of that happen on screen. Retribution at least showed briefly what happened after the end of Afterlife. However in The Final Chapter it’s just briefly explained away in the film in the opening recap, almost like they didn’t have the budget to show everything that happened, either that or just couldn’t get the other Retribution actors to return. You’d think that this was a decision made by a different director who wanted to take the movie in a different direction as quickly as possible, but Anderson did both films, making the choice even more confusing. The tone unlike that in Retribution took itself very seriously, probably because it’s the last film in the series. Not that I’m not necessarily opposed to that, but doing that does expose some issues and makes it even worse to watch. For example, there’s a moment where a newer character who we don’t get to really learn anything about dies, and the scene is so dramatic and tries to be emotional. It’s mind boggling, made worse by the fact that no other character death in The Final Chapter really got that treatment. The Final Chapter goes all in with the plot twists and attempts to tie things up as it’s the grand conclusion, to some rather mixed results. Some of the reveals I’m not sure about, they seem a little too convenient. They might seem initially quite punchy and effective as twists, however I know for certain that a few of them are blatant retcons and contradictions of what was established in the previous movies. I’m sure that if I was to watch these movies all over again, I’d find plenty of things that doesn’t add up. As for the actual conclusion, I guess it was fine but it wasn’t really satisfying on any level really. It doesn’t quite end on a cliffhanger, but does end on a note where one could technically make another movie if they wanted to.
Milla Jovovich is more than comfortable in the role of Alice, having played it for nearly a decade and a half, and her performance is generally reliable despite there not being much to the character. Ali Larter also returns as Claire Redfield, the only other non villain character from the movie series to return for the final film. Most of the other members of the main cast don’t really stand out, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose and William Levy are other survivors that Alice meets up with and they are just sort of there, you don’t remember any of them. We have Iain Glen returning as Alexander Isaacs as the main villain for this movie (and yes this is another retcon, he wasn’t really dead three movies ago), and if you enjoyed seeing him ham it up in Extinction, you’ll want to check out The Final Chapter to see him. He’s definitely one of the best parts of The Final Chapter, and every time he was on screen made the movie even more enjoyable. Shawn Roberts also returns as Albert Wesker as a minor villain, unfortunately he doesn’t really do all that much in his screentime instead of just standing there, at the same time I wouldn’t trade more Wesker for less of hammy Iain Glen.
Paul W.S. Anderson returns to direct the final instalment, unfortunately his work here is a bit of a mixed bag. It seems Anderson did away with the 3D from the past two movies, so don’t expect anything flying at the camera. They’ve gone back to the very post apocalyptic look from Extinction, and everything looks in ruins, and I’m more than fine with that look. However, a lot of the movie is set in a lot of darkness and so it could be hard to see what was going on, especially during the action scenes. That brings me to probably the most disappointing aspect of the movie, the action. Some of the setups and sequences look about as entertaining as some of the previous movies’ but the editing is absolutely horrible and flat out ruins them. Now it isn’t quite some of the worst editing I’ve seen for an action movie, but after seeing the previous movies it’s such an incredible drop in quality watching The Final Chapter. Thankfully, the second half was at least somewhat better with the editing in the action scenes.
As someone who enjoyed most of the movies in the series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is rather disappointing. Although it’s not as bad as Apocalypse and I had fun in certain moments (mainly in the second half), the mix of horrendous editing and very questionable plot decisions make it a very mixed bag indeed. If you watched through the series to Retribution, you may as well watch the last movie as well. There have been talks of a Resident Evil movie reboot, and I while I enjoyed most of the movies in this series, I’d be open to an interpretation that has actual horror and is much more faithful to the games.