Resident Evil The Final Chapter Review
The Final Disappointment!?
We should preface this review with a simple statement. We’re a bit biased. We love Resident Evil. We just do. Whether you’re talking about the video game series we’ve been playing since the PS1 (some of us are THAT old) or the film series . . . we love Resident Evil. With this slightly biased view I fully expected to leave a glowing Resident Evil: The Final Chapter review. I anticipated I’d absolutely love this film. I was wrong.
Most of us take a Resident Evil film for what it is: a shameless, gloriously violent and mind numbing entertainment experience. There are a general set of rules that apply to any Resident Evil film up to this point in the series.
- If you’re not a fan of the video game you’ll likely be unimpressed.
- If you’re an overly critical gamer that expects the film to stay true to the games you’ll be disappointed.
- If you don’t find Milla Jovovich to be the talented and beautiful eye candy icing on the cake you’ll lose interest.
- If you expect realism you’ll be disappointed.
- If you can’t get past shotty editing, overuse of CGI effects, thin scripts, plot holes or issues with continuity this is not the film franchise for you.
All of these general rules hold true with The Final Chapter.
Like the majority of the installments in this long lived video game franchise, the reviews on The Final Chapter are quite polarized. People tend to either love it or hate it. As a huge Resident Evil fanboy I fully anticipated loving this film. I walked out of the theater on January 27th, 2017 feeling much differently than I was expecting. In fact, I actually held off on posting this review. I thought I’d feel differently after some reflection. I thought maybe I was missing something. I don’t and I’m not. Truth be told, I didn’t love this film.
I feel disloyal saying this, but this just isn’t the fitting send off this series deserved. Honestly, this isn’t even my favorite film in the series. In fact, this might be my least favorite film of the bunch. If this is actually the end of the Resident Evil series I’m a bit disappointed. It’s not that The Final Chapter doesn’t have all the cheap thrills and intense action RE fans have come to know and expect. It does.
You get your typical Resident Evil recap at the beginning of the film that brings everyone up to speed and then it starts assaulting your eyes and ears with incessant action. In fact, the action feels ramped up and more relentless than ever as it should in the climax of a series with such a rabid fanbase.
Relentless action sequences are entertaining but they’re also a thinly veiled attempt to change the subject. The truth is we don’t have a script, or film, worthy of the long wait we’ve had since Retribution. To make matters worse, the majority of the action sequences are shot and edited with jerky motion and rapidly changing camera angles and views in an attempt to make the action seem more intense. Half of the time the action is a blurry, nauseating and frantic mess.
Like most Resident Evil films, take away The Final Chapter’s feverish CGI action sequences and the mesmerizing effect of Milla Jovovich and you don’t have much of a film. That seems even more transparent in The Final Chapter. Plot holes, thin script and continuity problems are more apparent than ever. Some major plot points from the previous films are completely discarded and changed this time around. Writer and Director Paul W.S. Anderson attempts to bring things full circle with Alice returning “home” to Racoon City and The Hive. Unfortunately a lot of that seems rushed and forced. The one or two “no way” plot revelations come very late into the film. As the tired old saying goes, it is all too little, too late.
Other than the action being more jacked up than usual, this is your typical RE film through and through. If this is the average Resident Evil film with action sequences on steroids why am I complaining? We should expect more. Milla and this series deserve more.
Any true fan can push through all of these complaints. After all, these are all the same things fan have needed to ignore with every other film in this series. About halfway through this film the fandom and excitement wore off and a revelation became clear. Only one thing was going to be able to save this film: an epic conclusion. You could feel the plot building to a crescendo and a conclusion that might have saved things. Unfortunately Anderson goes the other way and the conclusion falls flat.
Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen Resident Evil: The Final Chapter you may want to cover your eyes. The rest of this review contains spoilers. With that out of the way let’s get one thing clear. We were lied to folks. This isn’t the end of the series. At least not in this fan’s opinion. Alice herself actually says her work isn’t done at the end of this film. The cheesy open ended conclusion feels much more like a lazy slap in the face than a suitable culmination of this story.
The only thing missing is a corny “To be continued. . .” before the credits.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they should have killed Alice. It really is the only ending that would have brought the closure we expected. If this IS the end of the series I can’t think of a better way for our beloved hero to go out than sacrificing herself to save humanity. For those who aren’t familiar with the plot, let’s rewind.
The entire plot of Resident Evil The Final Chapter consists of one main premise. There’s an airborne anti-virus cure that can be released to save humanity. If Alice gets to it and releases it before Umbrella bombs the rest of mankind into oblivion she’ll save the day. The airborne cure kills those infected with the T-virus and doesn’t harm the uninfected. The problem is if the cure is released it will also attack the T-Virus cells within Alice . . . killing her in the process. Alice knows this and prepares the viewer at multiple points for the inevitable conclusion they’re expecting.
Having Alice drop dead after willingly releasing the airborne cure would have been the ultimate act of badassery. It would have been the epic. “Oh Sh*t” ending this franchise deserved. It would have convinced us all that this was the end. Instead Anderson takes the easy way out and Alice doesn’t die from the cure. In fact, he takes the insult one step further when Alice tells us the cure could take years to reach all corners of the planet and her work isn’t done. What?
On one hand I wonder whether they simply didn’t have the heart to kill Alice. Maybe this is really the end but they wanted to leave Alice alive for fans. On the other hand I’m sure they took the easy way out to leave this series open for another trilogy if they choose to do so. That makes little sense to me. With the whole genetic clone cliché that plaques this franchise, and this film in particular, they could have easily let Alice die and still left the door open for future films starring Milla.
Unfortunately I fell for the media hype. I wasn’t convinced at first that this would be the end of Alice’s story. Then I read interview after interview with Paul and Milla that basically insisted this was the end. The beginning of this film even began with a special promotional message from Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson thanking fans for their loyalty and encouraging them to continue to go to the movies to support the industry. I bought stuff like this hook, line and sinker. Perhaps I’m mostly to blame for my disappointment. I allowed hype and excitement to create expectations of an epic final film this series probably just isn’t capable of.
Needless to say, as I walked out of the theater on release day I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. I found a question bouncing around my head and I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. “What did I expect?” Much like I asked and criticized others for in our Resident Evil Retribution review . . . why did I expect anything different? This time I answered my own rhetorical question with a definitive answer. I expected something more. I didn’t expect a movie that felt like all the other films. For a film that was delayed for a couple years we deserved something great. For a movie that is intended to be the end of the road for Alice we deserved something noteworthy. At a bare minimum we deserved something better than the first 5 films. Fans received none of the above.
Did I enjoy this movie? Yes. I found it entertaining and fun but that just doesn’t seem good enough. For a film that was touted as being the epic conclusion of the franchise this was an utter disappointment. You most certainly don’t have a film worthy of being the culmination of a 6 film 15 year old franchise.
Part of me hopes this isn’t really the end and Anderson is paving the way for future installments. The other part of me actually hopes this is the end. If this is as good as it gets and the best fans will see this should be The Final Chapter.
3 out of 5
What are your thoughts? Have you seen Resident Evil The Final Chapter? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.