Movie Review - Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
By Ben Gruchow
January 31, 2017
Somewhere around “genetically-modified super-soldier,” I realized what an exercise in futility it would be to try and summarize the escalating weirdness of this franchise's narrative arc. Suffice to say: Umbrella is an evil corporation that created zombies with a virus. The zombies got out and took over the world and killed almost everyone. Alice is resistant to the virus; instead of zombifying her, it makes her super-strong. She hates Umbrella and wants to take them down; they want to regain control of her, and thus we basically have an iteration of the “rebel against the Empire” plotline, with each film finger-painting a stylistic homage to a different genre classic, replacing most of the nuance with explosions and dire pronouncements. It comes a lot closer to working than it sounds, mostly based on if nothing else Anderson's commitment to energy and showmanship. His dialogue, as if to compensate, is basic and trite; his directing of actors is atrociously bad. All of these things were at their most polished and accomplished with the most recent film in this series.
Here, the conclusion of the opening sequence heralds all of the promise we're ever going to get. Remember the virus that Umbrella released that killed everyone? Alice learns early on here that they also created an antivirus, one that can go airborne and cure everyone by destroying the T-virus cells in their body. This antivirus is located in the Hive, the subterranean industrial setting of the first film. So Alice travels there, running into adversaries and companions along the way, and you will not feel spoiled to know that in the final act of the film they arrive at the entrance to the Hive and begin to make their final stand.
This leads to one of the most hilariously inept thriller sequences ever to appear in this series, and for context we are including a film where a weakened human walks away from a fiery plane crash into a mountain without so much as a singed hair. The only entrance to the Hive is through a giant circular vent fan, with several layers of spinning blades, unpowered - but not for long. Our crew makes it through the fan blades just as it begins, and once it does it gently lifts the hair off the actors' brow and no doubt provides a lovely air circulation.
But then the antagonist hiding in the Hive orders the vent fan to reverse; as the actors look on in manufactured horror, the fan blades begin to reverse themselves. Now, however, it creates suction powerful enough to drag all of them back in; Alice and crew must now strain to get away from it, by planting their feet and leaning forward real far. Then the suction picks up, and they must grab hold of protrusions to avoid being lifted off their feet and diced into chunks. One of their crew provides a helpful demonstration. The actors look on in manufactured shock and grief; emotional strings swell on the soundtrack, which would indicate that we were supposed to be invested in this character. A tall order for a movie that allots the actor in question one moment of short introductory dialogue before turning her into a mercenary.