Well here we are, the *ahem* day after Halloween and we’ve reached the end of the Resident Evil Game to Live Action Film marathon… marathon, with the self-titled “Final Chapter”. Sadly, while there were some good ideas and set pieces, a lot of this film falls apart thanks to dropping a bunch of ideas and characters in favour of bringing back an already defeated foe as a final enemy, robbing any drama from the final showdown… Hooray! Let’s take a last look at a Resident Evil live action film then, shall we? (For now anyway…)
Alice, a former Umbrella employee turned rogue warrior, joins her friends on a last-chance mission to storm the company’s headquarters located deep underneath what used to be Raccoon City. But the Red Queen knows that Alice is coming, and the final battle will determine if the rest of mankind lives or dies.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
“Maybe we should get back behind cover…” “Nah.”
The middle of the film sees Alice (Milla Jovovich) get captured by a rogue group of people in silly Mad Max-style large armoured cars that have a horde of the undead following behind them, including our “hero” being put outside and forced to run for her life on the end of a rope. Sadly it turned out to be the returning Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen) and it was all Umbrella again, but more on that down below! It was still full of some good visuals.
Speaking of which a follow up scene of Alice, the returning Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), and a bunch of survivors defend a ruined skyscraper from the Umbrella-led horde was good too, using a bunch of traps and weapons like catapults to fight them off. These were the only real good points, but that puts this film in better shape than Retribution at least!
“You thought my character had closure? Well, you’re right, but I’m back anyway!”
The main and most obvious bad for this film is how badly it handles the main antagonist. So Dr. Isaacs is back, as I mentioned in the Good (but it’s not good!), revealing that the Isaacs that appeared in the second and third film was a clone… then this second Isaacs is also revealed to be a clone before the real Isaacs appears at the end, and the whole time Wesker (Shawn Roberts) has just turned into a lackey. I’m supposed to feel like Alice fighting Isaacs is the big climax we’ve been waiting for, but the whole time I’m thinking “I saw her get her revenge on Isaacs three films ago”. You can’t just say “that one was a clone, this is the real one” and expect me to forget that the two characters having a big fight in a laser grid hallway hadn’t already happened. Meanwhile Wesker, who has previously taken a small nuke to the face mid-air and survived, as well as being fast enough to dodge bullets, suddenly gets caught unaware by a falling lift and just lays on the floor until he passes out and dies. Fantastic.
To make matters worse, the film opens with the aftermath of the cliffhanger from the previous film (called it!), and soon the Red Queen computer returns, now suddenly on the side of Alice, and it offers her a chance at “revenge against Wesker”, who had “lied” about giving her powers back at the end of the last film, with the whole thing being a trap, apparently. So it’s even set up to have Wesker as the main villain and final fight, which would make sense after the last two films, but then he’s suddenly reduced to a helpless stooge for W.S. Anderson’s original creation. I assume that’s all this comes down to, he wanted a big fight between his characters, not ones from the games. A big Resident Evil Apocalypse-sized middle finger to the games that gave him all this money… and his wife. Somehow it’s only in looking up this film on Wiki that I found out he and Milla Jovovich are married with kids (one of whom portrays the Red Queen…) Suddenly it all makes even more sense…
There were a few scenes with these flying things… For some reason.
The last thing I have to say about the last third of the film is the poor plot reveals. Alice is shocked to find out she’s a clone (somehow, despite all the clones of her appearing before, and all the clones of other people appearing, but hey-ho) and is eventually given the childhood memories of her actual self, who is now an old lady due to some genetic fault (that the T-Virus was created to stop), and the Red Queen interface is based on the child version of the real Alice. This is all dramatically revealed as the Alice we’ve been following acknowledges that in order to release an airborne cure to the T-Virus that will kill anything infected and save the remaining population on Earth, she’d have to die as well as she’s infected with the T-Virus… except that she isn’t, because it was revealed in the opening that Wesker didn’t re-inject her and that she’s still virus-free.
So she hesitates, but does release the anti-virus at the last moment… only to be told she’s fine because the T-Virus was neutralised and that they told her she would die because they “needed to know she was a better person than the Umbrella members”… What?! What if she wasn’t able to take her own life? If you’d told her the truth she wouldn’t have hesitated to release it at all! Plus the Umbrella strike forces apparently sent to the other settlements were called off by the Red Queen “just in time”, but I’m pretty sure she could have done that as soon as Isaacs was dead… It was just so… poorly written that it made me genuinely angry. It’s a real shame because I liked the first third, and middle third was okay beyond switching focus to an apparent second Isaacs clone, it was just the ending that was a repeated slap in the face.
Oh, and I’ll mention that Claire had fallen in love with someone who ended up being an Umbrella spy, but that was clearly obvious as the only other candidates for being a spy were someone who was really untrustworthy (therefore would be the worst spy ever) or people with so little character or attachment that them turning out to be a spy would have no drama whatsoever.
One last look at Alice…
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a bit of a downer. It has some good scenes and moments in the first half, and it felt like it had more plot than Retribution, but sadly the latter half of the plot was nonsense, constantly undoing several films worth of story just to re-shoot Alice and Dr. Isaacs fighting in the now done-to-death laser hallway. *sigh* Disappointing.
Oh well, that’s the Resident Evil live action films finally watched, and I’m overall happy to have finally done it (apart from having to watch Apocalypse), they’ve either been fun little distractions, or flawed cliché-riddled films with a few things to point at (or laugh at unintentionally), rather than it being genuinely unpleasant to watch. Now to… never watch them again, and hope that Paul W.S. Anderson and his wife don’t get their hands on another CAPCOM franchise… *looks at Monster Hunter by Paul W.S. Anderson staring Milla Jovovich as the lead character, coming soon* … Bollocks.