Movie Review: ‘Resident Evil’ should stick to gaming consoles
What’s the difference between the “Underworld” series and the “Resident Evil” franchise?
Apart from the fact that “Resident Evil’s” audience seems to be made up of those whose contact with women mostly amounts to tweeting death threats to Anita Sarkeesian, not much. Both revolve around a one-dimensional, pleather-clad, ass-kicking protagonist fighting monsters in a world where Drowning Pool and “The Matrix” never stopped being the coolest most awesome thing ever. Both series seemed to be made up of sequels that were just the first entry artlessly repeated five times. Most importantly, both franchises boast a defensive fanbase who will urge detractors to, “turn their brains off” or remind us that it’s supposed to, “keep us entertained.”
Nevermind that I shouldn’t have to turn my brain off to enjoy anything where undead monstrosities are kicked in the face or the fact that movies, by design, are supposed to be entertaining. Nobody is going to a theater or to Netflix with the sole purpose of being annoyed and bored. Besides, if the goal of films like “Underworld: Blood Wars” and “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” is to entertain, why do both movies feel like a nightmarish hybrid of a seizure and an ice cream headache that lasts for 90 minutes?
Much like many terrible movies that take themselves far too seriously, “The Final Chapter” opens with star Milla Jovovich taking a growly, painstaking, steaming info-dump on our innocent laps. Uninvolving, dry and sounding like it was read from the pages of Wikipedia, this onslaught of clumsy exposition basically functions as this film’s idea of a plot. In a nut shell, a child hologram called the Red Queen (Ever Anderson, daughter of Jovovich and director Paul W.S. Anderson) was bad, but now she’s good. Even though The Red Queen tried to kill Alice (Jovovich) in the previous films, she now wants to help Alice eliminate the zombie virus that has plagued the world and destroy Umbrella, the evil corporation that developed it.
For arbitrary reasons, Alice has only 48 hours to return to Umbrella’s home office and, I don’t know, punch all of the zombies to death or whatever. From there, “The Final Chapter” devolves into one endless fight scene. In theory this sounds amazing. Especially considering all of the clones, undead German Shepherds and, inexplicably, dragons (I guess those things were in the video game?) Alice is forced to square off against.
But in practice, Anderson was never much of an action movie director. His fight scenes are the same in lifeless, uninvolving ways while the editing is so frenzied, scenes are reduced to a dreary brown blur of various unrecognizable objects moving very quickly.
Watching “The Final Chapter” isn’t like eating icing from the tube, it’s eating icing from the tube, realizing it’s actually toothpaste and then continuing to eat it anyway. It’s too much of a bad thing.
In addition, camera placement is often ill-considered. Spatial relations and distance are confusing, particularly in a sequence in which Alice and her compatriots make their way past a ventilation fan. Also, being that “The Final Chapter” is advertised as the last film in the series (it isn’t), big twisty twists and groundbreaking revelations are thrust upon the audience with very little impact. Mainly because all the characters on screen are so underdeveloped their fates are meaningless. Undiscerning fans of the “Resident Evil” Series will love “The Final Chapter” but for anyone else, this movie will feel like one continuous cut-scene. Unfortunately, there is no handy X button to push that will help you skip ahead to the closing credits.
Mike Sullivan is a movie reviewer for Weekender. Movie reviews appear weekly in Weekender.
‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’
Starring: Ruby Rose, Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, William Levy and Shawn Roberts
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Weekender Rating: No Ws
Length: 107 minutes