Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
One of the latest trends in movies is to extend the life of popular action franchises. Perennial favorites such as ‘Die Hard,' ‘Indiana Jones’, and several others have introduced the next hit the Cineplex of albeit with mixed results both critically and financially. The fact that new installments of these franchises continue to invade the local cineplex hopefully offering AARP discounts. It is demonstrative of an issue that has been plaguing the film industry since it’s very beginning, it’s gender-based discrepancy. Apparently, men can still be action heroes long after their six pack abs have turned into a keg. Men in their 50s and even 60s can still obtain lucrative deals as the hero in an action-based movie. On the other hand, this does not seem to apply equally to women. First, there are far fewer roles for leading actresses and then their counterparts. An actress who is hot and sexy in the 20s and even 30s can undertake roles such as top-secret Soviet assassin; a feeling femme fatale went very well endowed archaeologists with relative ease. According to the unwritten but strictly adhered to rules infused deep within the architecture of the entertainment business as these women add a few years of age, they become relegated to portraying handsomely appointed and sedentary characters. In the last few years, this trend has been reversed, at least to some degree. Two long-running female-oriented action franchises have recently been resurrected ostensibly installments that will tie up loose ends and finally conclude the story. Within a short period, both of his movies have made it to home media including both 3-D Blu-ray and the new 4K UHD. Previously I considered the first of these movies released in this fashion, ‘Underworld: Blood Wars. And there on’ now we can turn our attention to a woman named Alice trying to best to save Racoon City and the rest of the world a zombie virus created by the epitome of evil and corporate greed, The Umbrella Corporation, ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.' Both actresses involved in their respective projects, Kate Beckinsale and the film considered here, Milla Jovovich have remained exceptionally effective and still able to provide a believable portrayal of the character. I do have to acknowledge that I am very certain that stunt doubles at a greater involvement here than in previous offerings.
It has been fourteen years since this popular video game transformed into a movie and I can just be seen going out for years since the last chapter hit the theaters. The story begins with some retrospective overview the main issue that has driven the action for the first five movies. Dr. James Marcus (Mark Simpson), the founder of the Umbrella Corporation had a daughter, Alice (Ever Anderson), a beloved only child was dying of a disease that manifested as rapid, uncontrollable aging. To prevent imminent death, Dr. Marcus invents the T-Virus. Unfortunately, it mutates into what is fundamentally a zombie virus reanimating the dead into mindless, bloodthirsty killers. Dr. Marcus immediately tries to shut down the program but another high-ranking executive in the company, Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), objected wanting instead to create the perfect bio weapon. Dr. Marcus refuses Isaacs has his corporate henchmen, Albert Wesker (Albert Wesker) to murder the last man in the company with any sense of morality. As of the Umbrella Corporation located in a vast underground structure referred to as ‘The Hive.' Extending many levels down into the depths of the earth is controlled by an advanced artificial intelligence construct known as the ‘Red Queen,' holographic image based on his late daughter Alice. The protagonist of the movie is a woman of exceptional martial arts abilities and tactical acumen, Alice (Milla Jovovich). Previously one of the big reveals was at this Alice was an adult clone of the dead child. This brings us to one of the most evident negative points of this film, demonstrative of how the franchise had begun to spiral down past mediocrity to a convoluted morass of storylines and plot contrivances. Once you have such highly advanced cloning procedures as part of the canon of the franchise, there is no longer any possible way to generate tension by placing the main character in deadly peril. If they die, they will conveniently place clone will be brought out of the bullpen for his turn at bat.
The first we see Alice it is a short time after the events of the previous chapter. After yet another betrayal by Wexler, Alice awakens in the White House, now little more than a pile of ruins. The Red Queen, her perennial nemesis, appears in holographic form with the unexpected message that the AI construct is looking to make peace with Alice and help her prevent a biological apocalypse. Unless Alice gets back to Racoon City and penetrates the formidable defenses of the Hive, the Umbrella Corporation will release a newly formulated, fully weaponized airborne version of the dreaded T-Virus. The Red Queen promises to reveal to Alice why the AI controller of the Hive is willing to betray her creators. Alice immediately embarks on her final quest. During her journey, Alice, reunited with a substantial procession of returning cast members regardless of the previously perceived status of viability. The mayhem is virtually non-stop as every possible requirement conveniently obtained and her immediate objectives met. In need of a ride, Alice detained by some heavily armed corporate security with motorcycles. Starting them requires an authorized handprint which presents little impediment once Alice relieves the former driver of his hand.
At this point, the imagery heavily emulates any Mad Max movie with Alice captured by a huge mechanized fortress containing a staff of mercenaries and skilled hackers. It is commanded by Isaacs, previously killed by Alice but was one of his clones. He tethers Alice behind the vehicle slowly moving forward just barely sufficient to stay ahead of a massive horde of zombies. Alice manages not just to escape but severely humiliates Issacs in the process. When she manages to arrive at Racoon City, the Hive finally in sight but the time remaining dwindled down to hours, Alice encounters a ragtag group of survivors led by a former ally, Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), believed killed during a previous dénouement involving the requisite climactic battle. They are joined by some former stalwarts eager to help Alice in her fight. Once in the hive, they locate a cache of cryogenic capsules including one containing the elderly Alicia Marcus, Ms. Jovovich in a significant amount of prostatic special effects makeup. The ending here involves the interaction of the young Alive, the hologram, the Alice that is and the Alice that should have been. Don’t try too hard to make complete sense of the ending, or for that matter, the whole movie, a warning concerning migraine headaches should be displayed prominently on the opening credits. While the home release is available in standard Blu-ray, DVD and 4K UHD, no Region A 3D version has been released. A 2D/3D set that was released in Hong Kong with Chinese subtitles is readily obtainable that should play on any standard 3D system. Fortunately, this is region free. A streaming video version is available for rental or purchase from Vudu. Most loose ends are neatly gathered by just in case; the story was left with the potential for subsequent ‘Final Chapters.'