Germany | Australia | Canada | France 2016
Opening January 26, 2017
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writing credits: Paul W.S. Anderson
Principal actors: Ruby Rose, Milla Joyovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glen
The world no longer exists; the apocalypse has destroyed everything except a small group of humans living in a tall wreck of a tower in a destroyed city, as well as a few business men in The Hive who work for the Umbrella Corporation (which is responsible for this mess). Otherwise, there are only wild creatures, monsters and the living dead, also known as zombies. For the first 25 minutes Alice (Jovovich), runs through the ruins, fights off, first, flying monsters and then the army tank of Dr.Alexander Isaacs (Glen), as well as the thousands of zombies who are following him. She escapes, finds her friends and takes off with them to Raccoon City, all the while fighting, falling off cliffs into the water, crawling through tunnels.
This is basically the plot for 106 minutes, although the first five minutes are dedicated to updating the uninformed (like me) on the basic facts from the prior five Resident Evil films, in order to go forward into this last, sixth, sequence. There is non-stop action: running, battles between groups, hand-to-hand combat, all of which actress Joyovich can do excellently while looking beautiful and relaxed at the same time. This is accompanied by loud, bombastic, surprisingly good music (music credits: Paul Haslinger). No chance of falling asleep, even if you close your eyes to avoid the pummeling. It’s a relief when two “normal” people have a quiet two-minute conversation. Otherwise the text is mainly, “Get out of here.” “We have to leave.” Or “Go, go, go.” The 3D aids in sending stones, fire, monsters, etc., directly into your lap.
Originally, in 1996, Resident Evil was a video game, which then, with the expertise of Shinji Mikami, became a successful computer game. The first film, also Resident Evil, opened in 2002. Since then there has been Apocalypse (2004), Extinction (2007), Afterlife (2010), and Retribution (2012), all nouns which reappear in this sixth version: The Final Chapter. It’s interesting that a female (Jovovich as Alice) stands tall in this physically threatening environment, but she has help from two other beauties: Abi (Rose) and Claire (Larter). Clint Culpepper, president of Screen Gems, which has been part of the team from the beginning, said, “Our research showed that guys like watching women do action.” He also says that the reason the series has lasted throughout six films spread out over 14 years is “zombies. There’s just some kind of fascination in our culture with zombies.” Amazingly it was filmed in the US, Australia, Germany, Russia, South Africa, and Canada, even on well-known sites such as Times Square, Manhattan, or the White House, Washington D.C. or the Reichtag tunnel in Berlin, or Red Square in Moscow, but nothing ever seems familiar, but simply destroyed and empty. I’m sure there is nothing “final” about The Final Chapter, as it ends with the possibility of another sequel. Perhaps we’ll learn why Alice doesn’t remember her childhood. Is she perhaps a clone? This is a film for a certain slice of society which appreciates computer art and action; those fans will love it and have long discussions to compare it with the earlier versions. ( )