Tuesday , 24 May 2022

Alice’s adventures end in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – review

“You’re all going to die down here.”

The entire world has gone to hell, and only a strong, determined and very special woman has the ability to save it. Sounds like an alternate version of today’s current climate (environmental and political)? Or maybe the plot of the latest installment in the videogame/horror film franchise known as Resident Evil. Actress/model Milla Jovovich returns once again as the enigmatic, zombie-slaying, ass-kicking heroine, Alice. This time, the stakes are even higher, as the future of the entire human race, what’s left of it anyway, is at stake. It looks to be Alice’s last stand in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

The film picks up shortly after the events of the previous entry, 2012’s Resident Evil: Retribution, which saw Alice and her companions attempting to escape from an underwater facility while battling some familiar faces. Here, Alice awakens in an annihilated Washington, D.C., where she is given some vital information from a surprising source, the Red Queen. Apparently, an antivirus has been created by the dreaded Umbrella Corporation, which, when unleashed, would wipe out everyone and everything infected with the T-virus, leaving the last of humanity one last chance to survive. Alice must head to the place where it all started, Raccoon City, and the underground compound known as the Hive. As she attempts to rain on the Umbrella Corporation’s parade, Alice, now aided by her new ally, The Red Queen, is joined by an old friend, Claire Redfield (Ali Larter) and others as she embarks on her final mission. Along the way, she must take on everything from vicious dragons and zombie dogs to the previously thought dead, Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen, Jorah Mormont on Game of Thrones), as she learns the Umbrella Corp’s ultimate objective and some truths about her own origins.

This marks the sixth and final chapter of the film series based on the hugely popular Japanese survivor horror videogame. The Resident Evil films have now grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, making it the most successful videogame-based movie franchise in history. The heart and soul of the series, and the one continuous on-screen presence is Milla Jovovich as Alice. Interestingly, like Norman Reedus’ fan favorite character, Daryl, on The Walking Dead, who never appeared in the comics, Alice also never existed in the videogame. Jovovich’s Alice is a force of nature – someone with an anonymous past who bravely battles onward towards an unknown future. Along with Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft from Tomb Raider and Kate Beckinsale’s Selena from Underworld, Jovovich’s Resident Evil heroine ushered in a new wave of female action stars on the big screen, which continues to this day in the Marvel and DC Universes and other franchises like The Fast and Furious. Kicking butt is no longer just a man’s game.

The other individual linking all the films is Paul W.S. Anderson (Milla’s husband), who has written all six, and directed all but the second and third ones. While the camerawork and editing can be a bit frenetic and jarring at times, the action scenes are pretty spectacular, with one chase scene bringing to mind that of a Mad Max film. (A shout out to the amazing stuntwork, especially that of Olivia Jackson, who was severely injured in a terrible on-set accident.) While at one point, popular characters, Jill Valentine and Ada Wong, were set to return, it is welcome to at least have Ali Larter back as Claire. Returning too are Shawn Roberts as the nefarious Albert Wesker, and blast from the past, Iain Glen as Dr. Isaacs. Also of note are Ruby Rose as Abigail and Eoin Macken as Doc as a couple of mercenaries joining Alice.

“Run, run fast.”

It wouldn’t be Resident Evil without some cool, horrific creatures for which the series is noted for. What look like Predator/dragon hybrids get the film off to a fast-paced start. Further on, we get to see the return of the zombie dogs, and several other big-ass, super-fast, mega-toothed monsters, as well as your flesh-eating hordes of the living dead. While other horror movie franchises may sometimes cut down on the violence and gore, like its kinda sister series, Underworld, the Resident Evil films have maintained a consistent bloody R-rating throughout their entire history. Videogames are known for their extreme bloody violence, so it would make no sense to water it down for the big screen, so it’s much appreciated that they hold nothing back.

“One way or another the world is coming to an end.”

While this film was planned, written and made long before the events which currently mark the state of affairs here in America, one can’t help but see some parallels. The Umbrella Corporation, made up of the rich and powerful, could easily stand in for the new administration, looking to create a world or nation that caters to a select few at the expense of all others. In a scene that is eerily prescient, it is stated that the devastating effects that climate change will wreak on the planet are not conjecture, but fact, something which this new short-sighted and foolish U.S. administration tries to disavow with ignorance, misinformation and ‘alternative facts’, aka, flat-out lies. If the continuous protests around the world are any indication, we are not content to sit idly while the world crumbles around us. Like Alice, we are prepared to fight back against an oppressive, controlling group of people who believe they are above it all. Let’s hope we succeed before we reach the post-apocalyptic setting of Resident Evil.

Oh, and one final note. As we like to remind people all the time, stay through to the very end of the credits for an eerie, special treat. Even one of the ushers, as they were the only ones besides this Gore4er who still remained, was taken aback and uttered, “That was creepy.” You’re welcome.

— review by Brian de Castro