January 28, 2017

Movie Review: Resident Evil - The Final Chapter

It has been almost five years since we last saw Alice fighting to never ending battle against the evil Umbrella corporation. That is a long time to wait, the longest between chapters in the series, but we all knew it was coming. There was no way they were going to let end after the giant cliffhanger that was Resident Evil: Retribution. We may have been forced to wait longer than we may have wanted, but here it is. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter has arrived in theaters, and even it does not seem to be convinced it is the last one. You know, if there is a possibility of money to be made, you can never cut off the future of a franchise.

I have to be honest, I love the Resident Evil franchise. It was not an immediate thing, but one that has grown over the years. It is a completely irrational love, but there is something about these movies that just works for me. Having revisited them in anticipation of The Final Chapter, I love the progressively more apocalyptic the films got through the third one, then it was like someone threw a switch for the fourth and they have gotten continually more insane and nonsensical. The series just went flying off the rails and has existed as a stream of consciousness and nothing more for three movies.

This sixth entry in the franchise was written and directed by Paul WS Anderson, who previously directed the first one before returning for the fourth, additionally, he has written every entry. He is the architect of this increasingly absurd foray into horror, science fiction, and action. When you watch them all, you can sort of watch as he pushes further and further into ridiculousness. This last film is no different. I think it is this that has endeared the series to me It exists well within the constraints of mainstream cinema, but does not allow itself to be captured by the constraints of logic. It all seems to fit together, sort of.

As much as I have enjoyed the series, there is always a little bit of trepidation as I approach each new entry. It is almost like I am afraid they will start making sense. No need to worry about that here. It is kind of funny, I left the theater a little bemused. All of the reasons that attracted me to the movie, and its predecessors, are exactly the reasons I should be hating it, reasons I would use against other films. The plot is hit or miss, the acting uneven, the progressions seems to skip steps and ignore logic, and the editing, wow, it was just the worst. Still, I walked away loving it. It is the nonsense that cuts through my logical defenses and lands right in my heart.

This movie picks right where Retribution left off, sort of. We we last saw Alice and the gang in front of the Capital, surrounded by the undead and a variety of mutated critters. This movie skips that battle and takes us to Alice as the lone apparent survivor. There are a couple of zombies around and a dragon thing to deal with, but then we get a visit from an old friend, the Red Queen, who seems to have had a change of heart and directs Alice to get to the Hive in Raccoon City, back where it all began.

What follows is a fight across the desolate landscape between Alice and the forces of Umbrella. Revelations are made, revealing more about the birth of Umbrella, the power shift, and the ultimate god-like aspirations of Dr. Isaac (Iain Glen), with the Matrix refugee Wesker (Shaun Roberts) there to lend a hand. Alice ultimately teams up with some last remaining survivors to mount the attack on Hive in a last ditch effort to save humanity.

For the most part it is pretty straight forward. We get to revisit some of the locations from the original film and see a little more of the Hive. What exposition we do get is squeezed in around the plentiful action sequences, just don’t expect to understand them. This movie is cut within an inch of its life. There are so many cuts that you can never really tell what is going on. It is quite atrocious actually.

In the end, this is a Resident Evil movie, if you have enjoyed what they have been doing, you will like this. This one is not going to win over any new fans. The logic leaps, inconsistencies, and general stream of consciousness logic carries through to the end. I cannot defend it, but I love it. For some crazy reason, all of it just works for me and I cannot get enough of it.

Highly Recommended.

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