ALICE is the mother of all zombie-stompers and the driving force behind this last installment of an action/horror film series spawning 15 years…
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the Sixth and reportedly final flick in the Uber-Chick Milla Jovovich helmed horror-video-game adaption movie series that has earned over 1 Billion dollars to date, world-wide.
Let’s start by saying, NO, I’ve never played any of the Resident Evil games, YES, I am a fan of the movie series and have now seen every single one of them on the big screen (the last three in 3-D), and YES I’ve been a fan of model-turned-actress/singer Milla Jovovich [actually pronounced mee-luh “(rhymes with Sheila)” yo-vo-vitch] since her triumphant performance as genetic-superwoman “Leeloo” in the science fiction movie, THE FIFTH ELEMENT.
Oh… and I own a prized autographed photograph of Milla that I received after sending her an autographed copy of my limited edition hardcover poetry collection, AUTUMN BLUSH, through a third party… Whew! … now on to the movie…
Is the sixth time the charm… unfortunately, no. Though this is not for lack of effort, sweat, and gumption on the part of the movie’s production crew (one who died after being accidentally crushed by Humvee prop vehicle), stunt people (one who lost her arm in a tragic motorcycle stunt), and Jovovich herself who never deviates, even for a moment, from her grim, longtime portrayal of the irrepressible, unswerving, fearless, stoic, and unstoppable ALICE, former agent of the Umbrella Corporation, the organization responsible for turning the planet Earth into the Universe’s largest Zombie buffet.
The consensus among film critics, and I agree with their broad assessment, is that if you are Not a fan of the preceding films, you will definitely Not like this one… but, if you have invested time and angst into the first five movies of this most successful of bad-ass-women-in-science-fiction series, you WILL enjoy THE FINAL CHAPTER. As for me, I honestly felt this sixth film, while succeeding in having every single cent of its 40 million dollar budget dynamically plastered on the big 3-D screen, fell short creatively… IMHO.
Note: hardcore hormone-filled fanboys, I’m sorry, but the answer is NO, there are no nude or semi-nude Milla shots in this flick.
Nitpicks, Thoughts, and Observations…. **SPOILERS**
For those paying attention, the previous fifth film in the series (Resident Evil: Retribution) ended with Milla (having just been injected with a concoction that will return her T-Virus Super Powers), video-game-original faves Jill Valentine and Ada Wong, Milla’s adopted deaf clone daughter Becky, and T-Virus enhanced Umbrella baddie Albert Wesker atop The White House and surrounded by hordes of zombies and monsters in a post-apocalyptic Washington, DC. Quite a setup for the mother of all battles, eh? Sorry… but the payoff is never to be….
No doubt a decision mainly inspired by the film’s tight budget, THE FINAL CHAPTER starts out rather darkly, and perhaps just days after the mother of all battles has taken place and yes, Alice is the ONLY human survivor, and NO, she actually DIDN’T get any of those cool super powers back after all.. it was a retconned bluff.
Many film critics noted how Alice’s story line with clone daughter Becky in the previous movie strongly reflected Ripley and Newt’s relationship in the movie ALIENS. Ironically enough, Becky’s sequel fate seems to be as numbly tragic as that of Newt, though thank the gods of cinema director Paul W.S. Anderson (Milla’s real-life husband) doesn’t subject us to a horrifying, chest-cracking juvenile autopsy (courtesy of Alien 3’s David Fincher).
Bringing the movie series full circle, Alice teams up with former hologram villain The Red Queen, to return to the birthplace of all the world’s current woes, Raccoon City and the apparently still-surviving ‘The Hive,’ subterranean James Bond-like installation that started Alice on her six-movie action/horror odyssey.
On her journey to the movie’s denouement Alice has a run-in with none other than previously killed-off Dr. Alexander Issacs (Iain Glen)… hey, it’s science fiction, and will all be explained in the end! This portion of the movie is heavily reminiscent of George Miller’s recent FURY ROAD.
Note: apparently Director Anderson took heat from someone for the many slow-motion action sequences that had become one of the stylish signatures of this movie series, and even admitted in a recent interview that there would be none in the Final Chapter. I can confirm this, and say the result is not really an improvement, as Anderson apparently has taken the Jason Bourne series esthetic of shaky-cam quick-edits to an unnerving and often distracting extreme…
Reaching Raccoon City, Alice is reunited with Claire Redfield, a female-bonding-buddy from two of the franchise’s previous films… and I have to add that their chemistry is oddly nonchalant and at odds with Claire’s constant appeals to Alice to not sacrifice herself to save the last four thousand uninfected normal human beings spread across the planet.
Along with Claire are introduced a new batch of quickly forgettable survivalist red-shirts who steadily exit the scene stage left.
Plot contrivances and clone shenanigans aside, Director/Writer Anderson mostly successfully manages to muscle together a series of familial connections, world-ending conspiracy, and personal redemption into a respectable Finale (which, for the eagle-eyed fanboy and fangirl, even includes a sly nod to an OCP board room plot point from the denouement of the original ROBOCOP).
Compared to most unsuccessful third acts of film trilogies I’ve experienced over the years (Return of The Jedi, Blade Trinity, The Dark Knight Rises, Godfather III, The Matrix Revolutions, etc.) I’m forced to reluctantly admit that RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER (sixth film of the series) does a better than average job of pulling many (but far from all) loose pieces, plots, and storylines all together in a somewhat tasty zombie alphabet soup, and yes, Alice sacrifices everything to find the answers to all her cryptic identity questions at the end of a cryogenically frozen rabbit hole while embracing her ultimate destiny… or, uhhhhhh, something to that effect.