Resident Evil: The Final Chapter review

FOREWORD:

People who have been following me know that I am long-time fan of the Resident Evil film and game series. A while back I talked about my concerns about the direction of the series and I’ve even made a reaction post about the sixth and final movie’s trailer. I’ve been heavily invested in the series up to this point so obviously I was excited to finally see the film series reach a conclusion.

I still very much love the first three films in the series but I’ve had misgivings about the last few entries. Regardless, I’m content the series has now finally ended.

Constantin Film has also announced that they will be rebooting the film series with director James Wan of Saw fame. I look forward to the new reboot and hope the RE series will continue trucking on.

But let’s now get to the review of the final film in the Anderson series…

THE REVIEW:

The final movie of the series finally picks up from the aftermath of the end of Retribution. Alice meets up with the Red Queen who tells Alice to return to the Hive if she hopes to find the airborne version of the anti-virus which can finally rid the globe of the T-Virus. Alice herself is in danger since she is infused with the T-Virus. She also crosses Dr. Isaacs, whom she believed she killed at the end of the third movie (Extinction) and also confronts Albert Wesker who betrayed her after the conclusion of the previous film.

To be blunt, The Final Chapter wasn’t everything I really hoped it to be. I feel a big problem is that Anderson simply waited way too long to finally conclude the storyline and, as a result, the RE series goes out on quite the anti-climax. I also have to warn that the review will contain lots of spoilers from here on out, so if you don’t want to be spoiled skip straight to the final paragraph.

The one really outstanding thing about the movie in my view is one key plot element. The film’s opening is built to bring those unfamiliar with the series up to speed. However, it maybe lacks the emotional power of having actually seen the prior movies, but at least we finally learn the origin of the Red Queen, who is finally revealed to be modelled after James Marcus’s (Umbrella’s founder) daughter Alicia who suffers from excessive aging.

As the movie progresses, we learn that Alice herself is a clone of Alicia and the original also makes an appearance, having been woken from cryogenic sleep. This meeting of Alices was an excellent idea and would have worked as a great emotional closer for the film, especially when it turns out that Dr. Isaacs is the real mastermind behind everything and that a clone of himself has been trying to kill Alice in the prior as well as this film.

The only problem is that the emotional impact of this revelation is entirely soiled by what I can best describe as “plot retconning with reckless abandon” which is the single biggest problem of this film. Anderson completely rewrites events of the past instalments to make it seem that the T-Virus outbreak was orchestrated by Umbrella (and not an accident caused by a greedy ex-employee), that Marcus created the T-Virus (and not Dr. Ashford), that Alice has no memory of her life before the mansion incident because she’s a clone (and not because she was experimented on in the second film) and that the Red Queen has secretly been working against Umbrella because of a conflict in her programming (rendering the conflict of the fifth film completely meaningless).

With this Anderson’s trying to force a story-logic on the viewing audience which simply doesn’t make sense to anyone who’s actually bothered to follow the plot up to this point. I realise Anderson had a need to tie everything in a big shiny bow, but frankly these retcons feel artificial and even quite insulting. I would have been able to forgive them though if at least some of the prior cast would return. Sadly, all we get is Ali Larter.

That is my second major complaint: almost none of the crucial key characters from the last two movies come back. Ada Wong and Leon who saved Alice in the last movie have been swept off the map completely (as is Becky, the daughter of one of Alice’s clones) nevermind Jill Valentine who was finally freed of Umbrella’s mind-control in the previous film. While the movie implies that these characters probably died in the battle between the fifth and sixth films, the fact that Alice doesn’t even mention them is just incredibly callous.

And what about poor Chris Redfield. Claire (Larter) shows up saying she “escaped” but makes no mention of Chris what-so-ever. Anderson doesn’t simply rewrite the history of the prior films, he also makes it seem like none of these characters had any significance to the plot and this is just inexcusable. A recognition of the characters would have been nice even if none of the actors were able or willing to return for the sixth film.

Finally, even if you ignore the slip-shotty writing, this movie isn’t even that entertaining as just a mindless action set-piece. The first action scene of Alice fighting the giant winged monster is kinda cool. The rest of the action-scenes are either messy or shot in a way that makes it impossible to see what’s happening, so following them is quite a chore. And Alice facing off against Isaacs for the second time at the film’s finale really lacked the impact I hoped (it’s nowhere near as good as the Alice vs. Isaacs/Tyrant fight from the third movie).

Even the final scene is really watered down, whereas we think we’ll get a heart-wrenching sacrifice scene which just has a clumsy deus ex machina tossed in.

All in all, The Final Chapter is an underwhelming film. It has some promising plot elements ruined by a complete retcon of the series’ events and action scenes which aren’t nearly as much fun or as memorable as those of all five previous instalments. I get the feeling Anderson was in a rush to finally conclude the series and streamlined way too much as a result resulting in possibly the most anemic entry of the series. I’m sorry to admit that The Final Chapter is easily the worst entry of the Resident Evil series.

Rating: 1½ out of 5

  • +1 The opening
  • +½ Alicia’s story was interesting and could have redeemed the rest of the film but…
  • -1 …the story as a whole completely rewrites the ongoing plotline of the film series.
  • -1 No Chris, Leon, Ada or Becky!
  • -½ Most of the action scenes
  • -½ Wesker’s a complete pushover in this film.
  • -½ The two scenes ripped off from Terminator 2 and RoboCop
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