As a huge fan of survival horror, I’m always ecstatic whenever I hear rumblings of a new video game to movie adaptation. Between the RESIDENT EVIL and SILENT HILL franchises, I found myself always investing every new Playstation model as they always guaranteed something scary and challenging for me to tackle. When the first RESIDENT EVIL movie was announced, my excitement was ignited. Even when the first images were released via gaming magazines with Milla Jovovich in a revealing red dress, I just wanted to see the horrors of Raccoon City come to the big screen. It was finally released in 2002 to huge box office numbers, but it was clear that it wasn’t going to follow the games exactly.
One of the biggest indicators that we were going to get an original take on the games is that Jovovich takes on a role specifically created for the movie. As Alice, she starts off waking up in a mansion with a temporary case of amnesia. Over the course of several films, we follow her journey uncovering the shady experiments of the Umbrella Corporation, a pharmaceutical company with a sinister agenda. Umbrella branched out into other businesses becoming the kind of company that’s found in every home, but are responsible for unleashing a virus that turns everything it infects into zombies or monsters. George Romero was originally attached to bring the games to life, indicating a more traditional horror approach to the franchise. However, the powers that be wanted something a little more energetic and in your face, so MORTAL KOMBAT director Paul W.S. Anderson was hired and has carried the film franchise ever since with now wife Jovovich. It took 15 years, but Anderson’s vision of the T-virus outbreak has now come to an end with RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, a high energy special effects extravaganza with plenty of cardio.
Alice wakes up in the now destroyed White House where she is greeted by the Red Queen, a hologram artificial intelligence designed to resemble the sick daughter of the original founder of the Umbrella Corporation. The Red Queen informs Alice that she must get back to the Hive in Raccoon City where everything started in the first film to get ahold of an airborne antidote in order to save the few uninfected. Her trip is interrupted by familiar faces who wish to stop her and previous allies, including Claire Redfield who is a fan favorite from the games. Post apocalyptic worlds are the hottest commodities right now so Alice faces danger from both evil corporations and the infected who take on different forms.
Despite the fast paced editing where it can be difficult to tell what exactly is going on during the action sequences, THE FINAL CHAPTER reminds viewers of what a kick ass movie star Jovovich is. She is still humanity’s last hope and she will fuck up anyone who tries to stop her from saving the world. Super human clones and flying monsters toss her around, but she gets right back up and gets the blood flowing. The film franchise has avoided the survival horror aspects of the best games and opted for more flashy action oriented sequels and this final chapter does not change the format. Alice is forced to act first, think second in almost every scene and Anderson does not want to waste a single second with this last installment.
It’s fair to say that each film installment has shifted in quality, some better than others depending on who you ask (my personal favorites are EXTINCTION and RETRIBUTION). This one falls more in the middle. While there’s not much that leaves fans jaws dropping here, what we do get is relentless ass kicking for less than two hours. The RESIDENT EVIL films have never promised to deliver ground breaking cinema, but do give fans a good time and the occasional nods for the gamers who continue to come back for more.