Director: Paul W. S Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ruby Rose, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken
Plot: The Red Queen teams up with Alice (Jovovich) to finally take down Umbrella and put a stop to the T-Virus.
It’s about time to call it a day with Resident Evil. Judging from the horrendous fifth film, some might argue the hanging up of Alice’s adventures are long overdue. However, here we are: Paul W. S Anderson finds himself with the daunting task of wrapping up his far-fetched saga about the zombie apocalypse and an impossibly evil organisation. As the director theorises, he might as well go out with a bang.
Therefore, we still get a totally senseless mish-mash of action, cardboard dialogue and more plot holes than any film should have. Per usual, Anderson opens his film away from the hectic cliffhanger, so any preconceptions of the fight to end all fights taking up the majority of this film are not going to be realised. Probably for the best, although it does mean that, while the stakes are ramped up to finale levels of tension, there is slight nagging feeling we are watching a reworking of the previous five films. Alice wakes up from the battle the movie has edited out, the one survivor from the carnage. Apparently Ada Wong, Leon Kennedy and the others are dead, or at least omitted from mention. The plot also does a complete reversal, pretty much rewriting the rules of the films that came before it. The fifth film set up the Red Queen as the true villain of the piece, a computer program that was now on autopilot, determined to wipe out humanity and start again. However, probably realising the likes of Wesker make for more charismatic and interesting a villain than a holographic sub-par child actor, the movie has now broken its own narrative and returned Umbrella to the status of megalomaniac bad guys. The movie opens with the Red Queen deciding that Alice is the best key to survival and that, while she cannot harm the employees of Umbrella, she can help Alice get into the Hive and to the anti-virus (conveniently written into the story, so we can actually have a feasible ending this time around). Wesker is back to smouldering behind a laptop screen and we learn that Iain Glen’s villain in the third movie was actually a clone soldier, given enough memories to forget he wasn’t the original Dr. Isaacs, meaning that we get the series’ best villain back into the fold. It takes a small while to wrap your head around the fact that everything we learned in the fifth movie needs to be forgotten. Fine, the fifth movie was abominable, but it is hard to not feel even more cheated with this turn of events. Now it is utterly pointless, rather than just bad. The movie settles when Alice finds her old friend, Claire Redfield again (no matter where these two go in the planet, they end up bumping into each other), with a group of survivors. None of them really stick in the memory, their emotions ranging from grumpy one, a bad Jason Statham impersonator, handsome love interest and Ruby Rose. At the very least, we don’t have to put up with the over-enthusiastic fan service with these red shirts, I suppose. The survivors venture into the Hive, getting picked off one by one by a range of zombified baddies and booby traps (can the laser grid just go away now please? It was fun the first few times, but now is just plain tiresome), until they get to the bad guys behind it all. Punch, punch, punch! The end! But, then again, what else did we expect?
That being said, at least this is well directed drivel. The script is beyond saving, but visually, Paul W. S Anderson excels at making a meal out of a disaster. For example, narratively bringing Iain Glen back is a frustrating example of Resident Evil aiming to please the fans rather than making a coherent storyline. We have already had this villain, making the third film’s version of the character a clone robs the previous film of its power and it takes a few leaps of believability to register the character arc. Why is the scientist now the Head of the Corporation? Yes, it can be explained, but the film never bothers to do that for us. There is also going to be a few members of the fan-base that will grumble that the iconic Wesker is reduced to lapdog, with a few snarling lines and not enough fight scenes. However, if these developments are what is on the menu, at the very least the director goes full throttle at them. Iain Glen is a terrific actor, the best the franchise has across all six films, and even if his dialogue consists of bad guy 101 monologuing, the actor adds gravitas and fun to the staple of the action genre. The fight scenes are also entertaining too. Being The Final Chapter, Anderson rarely slows down on the punches. Yes, it makes the red shirts all the more obvious, but if they are going to be red shirts anyway, muses Anderson, why not just put more focus on Alice killing things? So yes, this is brainless trash when it comes to movie-making, but Anderson makes it a lot more fun than Retribution was, and certain scenes beat the previous films with ease. Leave your brain at home and just accept that Resident Evil is what it is.
Final Verdict: Dafter than a box of frogs, but at least it entertains. If you are a fan of the series, you will love the conclusion.