Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

All is revealed in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which, if its subtitle is to be believed, also means that we have reached the end of a series that began 15 years ago with the minor but personality-driven first installment and has come to whatever this hunk of incomprehensible garbage is supposed to be. A vision of writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson, who returns for his fourth film in the franchise based on a video game, has arisen that paints the man as a vulgar auteur - someone whose trashy style should be revered in a climate of self-seriousness. In the case of this particular effort, that's taking the words of the late Pauline Kael a little too closely to heart. Great trash should be admired, but one must learn to detect the variation that separates it from the useless kind of trash. Here is a prime example of the latter.

The place to start here is at the editing by Doobie White, for which the closest description that comes to mind is 106 minutes of sequences cut to be a teaser trailer for the film at hand. Nothing here is cohesive. Not a single sequence is edited with a mindset of clearly delineating narrative developments but with flashing random moving images at audiences who should probably check with an otolaryngologist about their motion sickness before buying a ticket. This is clear throughout the ceaseless commotion that passes for action, such as a showdown early on between our heroine Alice (Milla Jovovich) and a flying zombie dragon monster that doesn't allow us to understand what is happening where or why within the sequence. By the climactic showdown between her and Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), the main heavy of the piece, it has become two-edits-per-second visual gibberish that has no sense of patience or geography.

The plot apparently matters this time around, or at least it does for the purposes of recapping for a full five minutes what transpired in the previous films while prologuing the crucial information (so loaded that it deserves an entire prequel that it doesn't earn) that led us to the beginning point of the series. Here, we find out the real reason the vial of T virus that caused a global massacre was unleashed upon the populace. We witness the final resistance by Alice, Claire (Ali Larter), and others against Isaacs, Wesker (Shawn Roberts), and their cronies. We discover the true nature of the Red Queen, a girlish mastermind with an unexpected connection to Alice. In other words, we are force-fed a bunch of expository hogwash that is so exclusive of anyone not obsessively aware of the series' every, solitary step toward the finale that it never once works on its own merits.

We are also introduced to a bevy of plot contrivances and gaping logical holes at which the mind reels. An antivirus exists as a fail-safe on the part of its creators that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in light of their plans for mankind. Another fail-safe involving the employment of a certain character at a company is of such vital importance in the climax that it can only be an anticlimax. A ploy on the part of the enemies during a siege-turned-shootout involves bait blatantly obvious to any dunderhead but hilariously missed by Alice to such an astonishing degree one wonders why she's the key to anything (not to mention that it calls into serious question her own nature once that is revealed at the end). I could go all day with these. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a hollowed-out shell of an impersonation of a motion picture, so empty, airless, and chaotic that it becomes unpleasant.

Film Information

Milla Jovovich (Alice/Alicia Marcus), Iain Glen (Dr. Isaacs), Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Shawn Roberts (Wesker), Eoin Macken (Doc), Fraser James (Razor), Ruby Rose (Abigail), William Levy (Christian), Rola (Cobalt), Ever Anderson (Younger Alicia/The Red Queen).

Directed and written by Paul W.S. Anderson.

Rated R (violence throughout).

106 minutes.

Released on January 27, 2017.

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