Tuesday, January 31, 2017


A few days late, as it was unscreened for critics here:

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter—Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, wriggles out of the ruins of the White House and finds America still crawling with cannibal zombies, bio-engineered monsters and amoral corporate mercenaries in armored vehicles. You know, the world the Trump administration is striving for.

In this, the sixth and supposedly the last installment of the series based on the gruesome video game, the badass Alice must return to “Raccoon City” and the underground complex where it all began. She hooks up with some allies—Ali Larter among them—and they try to retrieve some concoction that will shut down the zombies. The corporate scumbags, among them a dastardly Iain Glen, try to stop them.

These movies represent almost everything I despise in contemporary big-budget moviemaking—overblown, hyper-edited action, sterile CGI visuals, actors growling humorless dialogue, too many endings. So it’s a little embarrassing to admit that they’ve been a guilty pleasure for me over the years. Just possibly the ever-fetching Jovovich has something to do with this.

I enjoyed this one, too, but even so I’d agree that it’s time to retire the series. It starts off well enough, as a straightforward chase picture, but when our heroes get to the underground “Hive” it becomes, tediously, very much like a video game indeed, with various “levels.” Also, it’s full of stuff that doesn’t make sense—why, for just one example, do the bad guys wait to shut down the entrance to “The Hive” until most of the heroes, who they knew were coming, have entered?

Happily, The Final Chapter regains its footing in time for a reasonably entertaining final confrontation. And despite the optimistic title, there’s absolutely no reason the filmmakers couldn’t continue the saga if they wanted too.

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