Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)

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Resident Evil: The Final Chapter purports to be the sixth and final entry in the Resident Evil film series, which is based on the video game series of the same name. This 2016 picture is written and directed Paul W. S. Anderson, with cinematography by Glen MacPherson.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the sequel to 2012’s Resident Evil: Retribution, which ran like a video game with a series of levels and bosses. That picture benefitted greatly from a lighter touch, but the final kick doesn’t share the same levity. It’s a more frenetic movie, too, and can be rather jarring. That’s not a good thing.

After catching audiences up on the series so far, Alice (Milla Jovovich) emerges from a destroyed White House. She was betrayed by Wesker (Shawn Roberts) once more and sets out to look for survivors. She encounters the Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson) and learns that she has to get over to Raccoon City to stop the rest of humanity from getting wiped out by the Umbrella Corporation.

Alice is seized by Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), who isn’t supposed to be alive after the events of Resident Evil: Extinction. Alice escapes and makes it to Raccoon City, where she encounters another group of survivors – some of whom are familiar. They set up for an inward horde of zombies, which leads to more complications.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter has a lot of trouble with cohesion. While Resident Evil: Retribution finally seemed to pin down the gaming roots in a tangible way, this series’ conclusion is so dissonantly assembled that the plot threatens to blast apart.

After an efficient start, Anderson hits the gas and never lets up. But he has no sense of direction, which leads to a staggering effect that makes the movie a murky rear-ender of various scenes. Some of the scenes look good and are bolstered by some neat action sequences, like when Alice dispatches some guards while hanging upside down.

But for the most part, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter struggles against itself. It features a lively central character thanks to Jovovich’s capacity and charisma, but Anderson’s frantic filmmaking drowns her the hell out. The panicky, choppy editing renders her obsolete.

It’s interesting to note how Anderson’s reliance on slow-motion has impacted the series, especially in the context of Resident Evil: Retribution. That picture found the mix so sorely missing in Resident Evil: Afterlife, an outing that by now seems almost as judderingly rough as Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and seemed to set the stage for moulding the action scenes.

But in his last dance, Anderson gives up the ghost almost entirely and floors it in the other direction. Scenes that could benefit from a more careful take are thrown through the ringer of hasty zooms, abrupt cuts and floppy overheads. It creates a jumble, which in turn provides little by way of weight or consequence.

In that most of the Resident Evil series has felt dry despite its taste for movement, it’s perhaps expected that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter features some of the emptiest motion in the entire shebang. For all the widespread teasing and plotting, dynamism really is the thing and Anderson’s opus is just a pretty, woozy illusion.

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