Resident Evil The Final Chapter review: Milla Jovovich returns for the fifth film in this billion-dollar series, but is it time to end things now?
Resident Evil The Final Chapter review by Benjamin Read.
Love them or hate them, the Resident Evil films are the most successful video game adaptations in cinematic history. The five films released so far may have received a mixed response from critics, but they have also grossed almost a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. Now, after a 15 year journey with Alice, her merry band of disposable misfits, and more mutated zombies than you could shake a stick at, we have come to the end. So, how does Resident Evil: The Final Chapter round things off?
Well, firstly it should be made clear that if the previous instalments weren’t your cup of tea, then this film definitely wont do much to change that. Although, it does offer an ever-so-slightly less convoluted narrative than the last few sequels have served up. This should be good news for the loyal fans that have persevered through all five films released thus far.
However, The Final Chapter is still riddled with cringe-inducing exposition, and embarrassingly forced references, in a hollow attempt to tie up loose threads. While it’s clear that Paul W.S. Anderson is trying his hardest to bring the universe to a fairly neat close, this is somewhat undermined by the lack of explanation for absent characters. Those hoping to see the return of fan-favourites, such as Wentworth Miller’s Chris Redfield, or Sienna Guillory’s Jill Valentine, will be sorely disappointed.
Having said that, Iain Glen’s return as Dr. Alexander Isaacs is easily the highlight of the film. Clearly capitalising on the actor’s post-Game of Thrones popularity, Anderson was wise to focus on Dr. Isaacs as the lead villain of the piece. Glen appears to be having a great time chewing up the scenery in his villainous role, which only adds to the fun of watching him duke it out with Milla Jovovich on screen. Jovovich carries the film admirably as the post-apocalyptic, memory-challenged badass we have come to expect. However, between herself and Glen, the script doesn’t leave a lot for anyone else to do, including Ali Larter’s Claire Redfield and Shawn Roberts’ Albert Wesker.
The decision to shoot the film in South Africa was definitely an informed one. The desert locations on display, create an appropriately desolate and barren landscape for the bleak zombie apocalypse. This is slightly reminiscent of the third film in the series, but easily a lot more entertaining. Thankfully, The Final Chapter also leans much more heavily on the horror genre, as opposed to the thinly-veiled Matrix rip-off we got last time. In fact, despite the films over-reliance on jump scares, they are all surprisingly effective. On top of that, the climax actually offers a genuinely shocking twist, that may catch more than a few sharp-witted viewers off guard.
Overall, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter gives fans exactly what they have come to expect from every entry in the series….popcorn entertainment. The film doesn’t try very hard to please everyone, but then again, the series never really has. Instead, Anderson has offered a bleak, alternative blockbuster, that rewards all its loyal fans, who have sat through over a decade of blood-filled zombie action. It doesn’t offer much in the way of intellectual stimulation, but the film is undoubtedly a nail-biting thrill ride, with endless amounts of bone-crunching gore and violence. Things are left wide open for yet another sequel, but it’s probably time to close the door on this franchise now.
Resident Evil The Final Chapter review by Benjamin Read, January 2017.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is released in UK cinemas on February 3rd.