This Is The End.
At one point in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Alice (Milla Jovovich) expresses the feeling that the entirety of her life has involved nothing but running and killing. That's also an apt description for the entirety of this film.
The Final Chapter is the sixth instalment in the Resident Evil film series, which continues its focus on Alice, an ex-security officer for the Umbrella Corporation, who turns against her former employer and is determined to bring it down. The Final Chapter picks up where the previous film, Retribution, ends, and although it provides a substantial recap of the events from the previous films, it does leave out smaller details that become relevant later on. So, if you aren't already familiar with the film or even the games, the appearance of minor characters and creatures may well be confusing.
The first half of the film is characterised by action scenes and jump scares as Alice fights to survive, and after discovering a new goal, to reach a destination in order to try and save what's left of humanity. But though the premise for a lot of the combat and action chases are interesting, watching them play out on screen is incredibly taxing. The Final Chapter favours extreme close-ups of impacts, monster faces, and bodily clashes, and marries them with exceptionally frantic editing. Shots of the action flash for a second at most, as if the scenes were being cut to the beat of a drumroll. Your eyes never have time to completely register a shot before having to process the next one--it's almost as if you're being brainwashed with flashing images of people getting punched, and that hurts.
And with so much distance for Alice to cover, the transition for each encounter is often quick and blunt: literally and figuratively. Although Alice is undoubtedly a resourceful and skilled hero, these transitions also paint her as incredibly unobservant. Scenes will end with Alice getting taken out by something that appears out of thin air, before waking up in another location and in the middle of another sticky situation. Similarly, jump scares aren't as effective as they could be because there's no suspense. They'll shock you with sudden, loud, and unexpected noises before you actually get to see or understand what the threat is. Without any kind of preceding tension, the scares feel random and undeserved.
Alice eventually meets up with a group of survivors made up of new and returning characters, and they're ushered into taking part in a huge, bombastic guerilla clash. Taking some queues from the Mad Max series with makeshift, post-apocalyptic defences, this conflict is fun to watch overall, but in quickly introducing a number of new faces into the mix it makes the smaller skirmishes much harder to follow. It's difficult to figure out who's doing what, who just died, and whether the current person on-screen was referred to by name yet or not.
Things improve markedly in the third act, where The Final Chapter's tone takes a couple of fortunate turns. The group find themselves in an eerie, enclosed labyrinth, which provides some genuinely tense, edge-of your seat moments. Thankfully, the film slows down and takes more time to let you drink in the atmosphere of its settings. Being able to anticipate the what and when of the next big moment is a stark improvement to the beginning of the film. This is also where The Final Chapter starts letting go; relaxing into its own campiness, adding a welcome dash of levity to its thrills. Lines get a little cheesier, knife twirls get a little more flamboyant, and the comic-book villains provide some chuckle-worthy moments.
The one thing that is consistent throughout the film though, is Milla Jovovich's portrayal as Alice. Although the character is one-dimensional, especially if you watch The Final Chapter in isolation, it's hard not to enjoy Jovovich's strong action-hero charisma as she tears through the film's hurdles. You empathize with her when she gets knocked down, and cheer for her when she pulls through. Alice comes off as smart, confident, and cunning, and she carries herself in a way that makes it easy to root for her.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter has numerous flaws, the most significant of which are its frantically-edited action scenes, but Milla Jovovich remains a likeable hero who is enjoyable to follow. When the film eventually settles down and finds a more suitable skin for itself towards the end, it becomes a little more palatable, a little more fun, and at the very least, will leave you with a few memorable moments.
|The Good||The Bad|
|Milla Jovovich is a likeable hero||Action scenes are too frantically-constructed|
|Some tense, memorable scenarios||Jump scares feel cheap and undeserved|
|First half of the film feels disjointed|
|Supporting characters are insignificant filler|