Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Trailer (& what can we take from it)

The sixth and final film in Paul W.S. Anderson’s Resident Evil series will come out in January of 2017 (incidentally, very close to the seventh game in the series) and the trailer for the film hit yesterday. I’m not one to make reaction blogs about trailers, especially considering how much misguided anger they will immediately attract towards movies (unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know exactly what I’m referring to). But, I have been a fan of this film series since the first instalment, I’m extremely excited to see how Anderson intends to cap off the series and so I decided to share at least a few of the thoughts that the trailer provoked within me.

Firstly, of the trailer itself, I actually really enjoyed it. Even though it seems RE: The Final Chapter will be following closely in the post-apocalyptic action romp style of the past three films of the series – everything looks extremely nice (as it always does in a Paul W.S. Anderson joint) and the movie seems to be bringing back as many classic elements of the film series as possible. The trailer seems to have done its job, it’s piqued my interest.

Sadly, anyone slightly more familiar with the film franchise up to this point will also notice that a huge number of previously established characters are clearly missing. Chris Redfield (who last appeared in the fourth instalment played by Wentworth Miller), Jill Valentine, Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy are all conspicuously absent. Li Bingbing’s absence is particularly noticeable, as Anderson had promised the Chinese actress would return in the role of Ada when the initial announcement of the film entering production was made last year. Sienna Guillery as Jill has been on-and-off the roster, appearing in three of the of the prior five films (making full appearances in Apocalypse and Retribution, with a post-credit cameo in Afterlife) – but these characters missing from the film’s roster sticks out like a sore thumb, especially since the previous film featured these characters quite heavily.

Now, it’s not all bad news – the excellent Shawn Roberts returns to the role of Wesker for the third time in the character’s fourth appearance in the series (Wesker was played by Jason O’Mara in RE: Extinction), but we really don’t get a good feel for his role in the film yet. That’s all fine, but considering Wesker played an instrumental role in both of the previous two films – it’s looking suspiciously like he may end up playing second fiddle to the film’s two major villains.

Now, the thing that bugs me about the trailer the most is that Anderson seems to be re-treading a lot of old ground and the trailer is really making it seem that the film will be just a “best of” of the prior films’ elements. We see the flying monstrosities teased at the end of the last movie (originally from RE5 the video-game) and there seems to be a new monster featured in this film (which is good, since I was seriously disappointed by a lack of one in the previous film) – but seeing Iain Glen again as Dr. Isaacs, I can’t help but to think that Anderson may have run out of steam for this particular instalment.

As I mentioned in a prior blog, the stories of the RE films have sort of been drifting in the wind ever since Afterlife. After the intense and really awesome narrative arc of the first three movies, the latter RE films have sadly stumbled a bit to find a rock to stand on. Afterlife was a bit of a mess story-wise and it took Retribution to even really clarify why the events of that movie even mattered. Or if they indeed did at all. Chris Redfield’s absence is particularly upsetting since Ali Larter as Claire seems to be the only other notable game character to return for the Final Chapter and she had bleeding amnesia the last time we saw her. So, while I hope Anderson actually made her a compelling character for this film, I can’t help but to fear she may end up falling into the background again.

But even if RE: The Final Chapter doesn’t blow me away, I’m still content with the awesomeness of Resident Evil, Apocalypse and Extinction. I of course hope Anderson’s pulled all the stops and tried to do something amazing with the film, but more importantly, I think whether you love or hate the series, everyone is in agreement that it’s high time to put the series to bed. Let’s hope it’ll be on a high…

(…before the inevitable Sony reboot.)

Resident Evil Films Review Score Recaps:

  • Resident Evil: 5/5
  • Resident Evil – Apocalypse: 3½/5
  • Resident Evil – Extinction: 4/5
  • Resident Evil – Afterlife: 2½/5
  • Resident Evil – Retribution: 3/5
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