Resident Evil: The Final Chapter review: Milla Jovovich needs to escape this undead Franchise
Dir: Paul WS Anderson Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, William Levy, Fraser James
Everyone would understand if Milla Jovovich had simply had enough of the Resident Evil series, based on the Capcom video games about a zombie takeover. “Sometimes I feel this has been my whole life. Running. Killing,” moans her character, Alice, in the sixth and latest one.
If she’s reassured by its subtitle, The Final Chapter, she may want to investigate Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984), which was followed immediately by Part V: A New Beginning (1985) and about six further sequels.
We’re on her side here. These films have hammered a profitable formula into the ground, at least as far as novelty goes. Far from adding up to a cumulatively epic saga, the storytelling is stuck in an overcautious feedback loop – you could skip from film one to six and totally get the gist.
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER – Official Teaser Trailer – VIDEO
Jovovich’s husband Paul WS Anderson, who has directed all but two of them, doesn’t need long to apprise us of the goings on so far. There’s a rogue virus, an evil corporation hoarding the antidote, and Iain Glen as a sneery virologist called Dr Alexander Isaacs (no relation to Jason, but definitely trying to outham him).
Anderson borrows so many bits and pieces from James Cameron’s Aliens you sometimes wonder if he’s seen a single other film. Ah – Terminator 2. Wait, there’s some Mad Max: Fury Road thrown in, for good measure. These are prime sources for a post-apocalyptic chase movie that winds up in a facility called the Hive, but Anderson’s magpie plundering is haphazard to the point of lunacy.
It’s also deafening. Every single thing that happens is cranked up to ludicrous, eardrum-shattering levels. A dot matrix printer gets set off in the dark, and it sounds like the planet is ripping in half. Hush and patience are simply not in Anderson’s vocabulary. He bombards you as if terrified of encroaching tedium, and the set pieces trip each other up in their sheer haste.
Casting has often been one of his stronger suits. The underrated Fraser James, whose electric, gravelly voice is easily the best thing on the soundtrack, puts up a good fight in support – more so than Shawn Roberts, as the kind of gym-bunny rent-a-villain who wears sunglasses indoors and says nothing that isn’t sarcastic.
Jovovich, a theoretically interesting star given robotic tasks throughout, plays disabled, too, as an earlier incarnation of Alice (hello, Alien: Resurrection) wheeled on in old lady make-up. Her faint resemblance to Theresa May is doubtless unintentional but nonetheless comical. Talks with Merkel? A New Beginning? What is it this time? Someone needs to get her out of this.