When people talk about game franchises making the jump from console to the big screen, I don’t think you can find a bigger success than ‘Resident Evil’. Constantin Film acquired the rights for the film back in 1997 but we didn’t get the first film until 2001, after Paul W.S. Anderson wrote the screenplay in which he purposefully avoided the inclusion of characters from the game because Anderson wanted the films to stand out on their own. However, during the 2004 sequel ‘Apocalypse’ we were introduced to Jill Valentine, who was one of the protagonists in the first ‘Resident Evil’ game. Since then, the films slowly introduced numerous characters and elements from the games as it endeavoured to become a success, which all lead up to this – ‘The Final Chapter’.
The sixth installment of the franchise picks up almost immediately after the events of ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, where Alice (Milla Jovovich), a former security officer at Umbrella Corporation, is now the only survivor of the attack on the White House and we soon learn she was once again betrayed by Wesker (Shawn Roberts). Alice is now told she has 48 hours to return to where it all began, the Hive in Racoon City, in order to save the last of the survivors around the globe. Megalomaniac scientist, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), makes it his mission to ensure Alice doesn’t reach the Hive as we learn his role in the T-virus outbreak and how it’s a part of his biblical master plan.
Milla Jovovich performs the best she can with the script she’s given, whilst her character has never been the most talkative or emotive survivor on the planet, her performance and overall badass presence as the protagonist is a definite factor in the franchise’s success. The Resident Evil films have been no stranger to actors reprising roles of their once dead characters thanks to Umbrella Corporation’s cloning facilities, so the return of familiar faces such as Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts and Ali Larter are very much welcomed. Plot wise, this film gives us a greater insight into the origins of the T-virus, the purpose of its creation, and a satisfying yet loose ended finale that I found very fitting for the franchise. The story line tries to answer many questions the fans may have, but also leave many frustratingly unanswered. Much like its predecessors, this film doesn’t delve much in the way of character exploration when it comes to the new survivors Alice meets, which is a real shame considering that as this point in the story, these survivors have been fighting off the endless horde of zombies for 10 years, so they’ve obviously got stories to tell.
Paul W.S. Anderson returns to direct his fourth film of the franchise, having only been absent from the director’s chair for the second and third films. I often found it hard to focus on the screen during some of the action sequences due to the fact they were so choppy and edited so poorly. I found this to be a real shame upon reflection because the action sequences were some of the best of the franchise, mainly thanks to the improvements in CGI, but I struggled to focus on them as they played out due to the unfathomable thinking behind its editing. Anderson’s overuse of jump scares also becomes really tedious and makes them redundant further on in the film as it’s just something you come to expect and they come as no surprise during the eerily quiet moments. Sound in this film was also a big issue for me, some scenes were at a normal, acceptable level, whilst others were at eardrum piercing levels that really made me reel back in my seat. Near the beginning of the film there’s a scene with a dot-matrix printer in the process of printing message and Anderson cranks the sound up to a ludicrous level which was almost unbearable to sit through.
Overall, ‘The Final Chapter’ is just what we’ve come to expect of the Resident Evil series, it’s nothing spectacular and it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The quality of the script and editing is close to being the worst of the franchise, which is a crying shame because the action sequences had the potential to be some of my favourite, if I could actually see what was happening. All that aside, it still makes for fairly enjoyable viewing those who have enjoyed the previous entries. Thanks to this latest installment; the Resident Evil film franchise has crossed the billion dollar milestone, making it the most successful live-action film adaptation of a video game to date. If you’ve followed the franchise from the get go then I highly recommend watching its conclusion whilst it’s in the cinema.
DIRECTOR: PAUL W.S. ANDERSON
STARRING: MILLA JOVOVICH, IAIN GLEN, ALI LARTER, SHAWN ROBERTS, RUBY ROSE