For someone that hates horror movies in general and zombies in particular, I kind of enjoy the Resident Evil series. They’re by no means good, but they’ve usually been fun. Everyone agrees that they’re flashy and trashy, and you’re not meant to take them seriously. That being said, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was one of the worst movies I have ever seen, hands down.
The Final Chapter picks up right after the events of Retribution, which I didn’t know about because I haven’t watched a Resident Evil movie since Extinction. That’s okay though, because they spend a good deal in the beginning going over the events of the previous five movies in a massive exposition dump. This is in between the choppy editing, cheap jump scares you can see from a mile away and… dragons? When did the Resident Evil movies get dragons?! And that’s all in the first few minutes! Hoo boy.
Having survived the events of the previous film (obviously), our no-longer-super-powered protagonist Alice is contacted by her nemesis, The Red Queen. The mission? I really don’t care at this point but apparently it’s to save the world. Again. But totally for real this time, guys. So back to Raccoon City for Alice, in an attempt to book-end the series by repeating the first movie, only this time it’s not as cool. Yes, that means that mutant dogs and the laser corridor make a return, but in a completely watered down form.
I can’t really go into the plot, as there’s not enough to warrant speaking about save for the enormous holes. Besides, every set-up, twist and reveal is so eye-rollingly obvious it’s insulting. The editing is atrocious, every fight scene has about 80 cuts to different angles and you can’t tell what’s going on. Even in the “calmer” scenes with characters conversing, the camera bobs and weaves. At least they tone it down for those scenes, with only about 30 cuts each.
Speaking of the characters, there’s also not much to talk about there. When it comes to the acting, it seemed like everyone was woodenly reading from cue cards just off camera. Milla Jovovich does her best and kicks some serious butt, but mostly, everyone else is just phoning it in. The supporting cast either look way too uninterested, or say their lines in a vaguely befuddled way, like they’re not sure why they’re in the movie. The terribly stiff acting got to the point where I was having a hard time trying to tell if Wesker was real, or another Tarkin-esque CGI non-person.
I would try to talk more about the special effects and the CGI, but honestly, the editing was so haphazard I couldn’t really tell if it was good or not. I swear this film was edited by a squirrel on a caffeine bender. The pace is unbelievably frantic, as the film never really slows down at all. You might think the high-octane momentum is a good thing, but the pace is unsustainable. When a film moves that quickly to throw as much as it can in your face, you lose track of what’s going on.
“But Tracy”, you cry, “This is Resident Evil we’re talking about! You said it yourself, they’re flashy and trashy, why would you expect anything else?” Well, when it comes to “bad” movies, there are two kinds of bad: good-bad, and bad-bad. Good-bad movies revel in their badness and take you along for the ride. Good-bad is still cheesy and fun, not to be taken seriously.
Bad-bad movies are just that, they’re bad. And Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is definitely a bad-bad movie. Badly directed, badly acted, really badly edited and just not worth your time. I could only recommend it for one of two reasons. One, if you’re a massive Resident Evil fan, then fair enough – you might eke out some enjoyment from the last installment. Two: if you’re a completionist that just has to watch it because you can’t rest until you’ve seen them all. If that’s the case then that’s kind of weird, but hey, you do you.