Monday, October 22, 2018


Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) d. Paul W.S. Anderson (UK/USA) (107 min)

It’s been a longtime joke around the Doc’s office that the Resident Evil flicks are of the rare type that you actually forget them while you’re watching them, with characters and plot points so inconsequential that they are barely even introduced. (I revisited the first three flicks back in 2015 as part of the October Challenge and can't remember a thing about them, even after going back and reading my reviews for same.) The trend continues here. Consider the opening of this latest installment: Following a cursory recap of the nefarious history of the uber-evil Umbrella Corporation, their zombie-making T-Virus, and the subsequent worldwide apocalypse that ensued (i.e. the previous five films), Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up amidst the wreckage of a city. Seconds later, she is attacked by an unexplained flying dragon-like beast that provides about four minutes of thrills before being predictably offed in shamelessly badass fashion by our gorgeously attired, pleasingly weathered, husky-voiced hero. Face out and onto the next level, er, scene.

Credit should grudgingly be given to writer/director (and Mr. Jovovich) Anderson for kinda sorta tying all the loose threads together for what actually looks like it could be a concluding chapter to the longest running female-driven action/horror franchise in history, as well as the most successful film series based on a videogame. It’s not the reunion tour of “hey, I thought you were dead” characters from the previous installments (that would be RE: Retribution), but there are a number of familiar faces on display for longtime fans. Iain Glen is back at main baddie Dr. Isaacs, ditto Ali Larter’s Claire Redfield and Shawn Roberts as blonde thug Wesker while the CG zombie hordes play mostly as background scenery throughout.

There are a numerous opportunities for Jovovich to kick ass and look fantastic doing it (which is, presumably what people paid their two bits to see), lots of explosions and CG blood splatter, and an array of new faces to serve as cannon fodder. The whole thing wraps up back at “The Hive,” with the ticking clock being Alice and the Red Queen’s scheme to foil the UC courtesy of an antivirus that must be released before the last human outpost is overrun by the undead.

That damn dragon thing was pretty cool.

Glen acquits himself quite well in the hand-to-hand combat scenes for a guy pushing 60 and seems to be having the time of his life, while Jovovich pushes herself to the physical limits, her curled lips and impeccably manicured eyebrows accenting every bullet round and drop-kick she doles out.

It’s all disposable nonsense, but with a half-dozen films earning over a billion dollars in worldwide receipts, it’s clearly a recipe that works.

Long live Alice.


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