Thursday, June 20, 2024

Resident Evil’s Final Chapter? If Only

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Bad movies can be fun. They can charm us with their cheesy sensibilities and corny dialogue. They can dazzle us with kinetic action and impossible feats of derring-do. Zip! Pow! Bang! A bad movie can be at it’s very basest, pure entertainment.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a bad movie. It’s not fun bad. It’s not ha ha bad, it’s just bad. Period. Full stop.

The film opens with a heavy metal score that seems to be inspired by every other film score ever. It crescendos when situations escalate. It blows out the speakers when something exciting happens or an important plot point has been revealed. I talk a lot about movies not leaving us well enough alone. Paul W.S. Anderson seems intent on stalking you.

If the music isn’t bad enough we’re treated to an interminable prologue by Alice (Milla Jovovich). It’s the film’s attempt to catch us up to speed so we’re all on the same page. Considering the film can never decide which page it’s on, Anderson needn’t have bothered.

Alice wakes up to the barren wasteland of Washington, D.C.  She spots a pool of water and staggers over to drink from it. A creature leaps from the pool and attacks her. Alice fights it off and escapes. The camera shows us the creature is chained.

To what, you may ask? Or even why in a deserted city is there a random creature chained to the bottom of a seemingly random pool? At this point, you’ll likely be saying to yourself that I am thinking too much about this. I may well be. But that is only because the movie is so obnoxiously in our face while also being clearly distracted by its own existence. I have no choice but to wonder about the things I see. After all, the movie can’t seem to be bothered to.

From here Alice goes looking for transportation and guns. This tracks with all post-apocalyptic movies where the heroes are never hungry or lonely; they just need wheels and ammo. It’s then she’s attacked by yet another creature. She fights off the creature and escapes.

It’s based off a video game? You don’t say! A first shooter? There are bosses at every level? Wow. Too bad this is supposed be a story you watch and not a story you try and beat. Although I wish I could thrash this movie.

Alice stumbles upon the Red Queen, who we’re told about in the beginning of this whole mess. The Red Queen is a computer program for Umbrella Corps who takes the appearance of a red hologram of a small child. Apparently, Umbrella Corps created a virus to help cure a little girl, Alicia, but it turns out the virus also turns people into zombies. The FDA must be kicking itself over that oversight.  Now they want to cleanse the world just like God did in the Bible with Noah.

And there are zombies. So many zombies. But only in masses. Rarely are they encountered one on one. Which is odd, because I was always under the assumption that zombies weren’t a sociable abomination of nature.

Anyway, The Red Queen tells Alice she must go to Umbrella Corps headquarters, called the Hive, back in Racoon City, to retrieve the antidote to the virus plaguing the world. Racoon City? Boy, would I love to be the fly on the wall when the founding fathers came up with that name.

The Red Queen sets the timer on Alice’s watch and now we have a ticking clock to add suspense. The timer neither behaves like a timer or adds suspense so really it’s a bracelet. Mercifully the movie wastes little time getting to Racoon City. Unfortunately, now that we’re in the city the movie can now get underway. It’s a double-edged sword.

After trying and failing to steal a motorcycle Alice wakes up in chains. It’s here we meet, or become re-acquainted with, Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen). The good doctor suffers from blathering villain syndrome and before long we know that he knows that she knows yadda, yadda, yadda.

It would be one thing if Jovovich or Glen at least did something besides irritating their clearly hoarse throats. There are no quips. No cheesy one liners. They are as bored as we are and it shows. Anderson both wrote and directed this garbage and apparently left his actors out to dry.

There’s a moment after Alice gets to Racoon City where she discovers Claire (Ali Larter) alive with a motley crew of survivors. With a horde of zombies rushing toward them, they let fire rain down upon the rioting undead. Alice stands there unamused. No, “Now we’re cooking.” Or a “If you can’t stand the heat…”

It’s not complicated. If you’re going to be absurd you have to say absurd things. That’s how bad action movies work. Otherwise, you’re not cheesy, you’re not fun. You’re just plain bad.

Eventually, they break into the Hive and one by one they are killed off. One by one the movie delights as they slowly are dragged to their doom. There is a maliciousness to what little humor the movie does have. It’s unsettling and spoils what little fun we could be having. There’s a scene involving one of the survivors, Abigail (Ruby Rose), that is drawn out to just to the point of cruel. Cruel both because it’s taking delight in prolonging the poor woman’s death, and doubly cruel because it means the movie is that much longer.

I’d go on but why bother. It would all be guesswork anyway. Anderson is so shy of letting you get a sense of place that he rarely allows a shot to last longer than a few nanoseconds. It’s as we were watching a Transformers movie swallowing a Bourne movie.

I could tell you about how Alice discovers that Umbrella Corps is co-owned by Alicia, the little girl who’s rare disease is the at the root of this chaos. I also could tell you when we flashback to the Board of Directors hatching this whole cockeyed enterprise we never see Alicia’s face. Her face is hidden by shadows. Not to mention that apparently in the Resident Evil universe there are clones.

Well, I don’t need to tell you the big reveal. After all, you’ve seen a movie before. In fact, I would venture if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. So there’s no need to see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. If you do you’ll have only yourself to blame.

Image courtesy of Screen Gems

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