Milla Jovovich might have actually cared about the criticism she received for the first instalment of this franchise. The original ‘Resident Evil’ didn’t seem to know where it was headed. It looked destined to be just another horror film, one with the barest of resemblances to the games. Thankfully, that approach was quickly discarded: from ‘Apocalypse’ onwards the series has built on the magical, B-level cheesiness that helped make the games so much fun. What we have here is quantum cinema. There’s a reason this is the most successful videogames-to-cinema franchise ever; there’s a reason not one fresh rating is to be found on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s because these films are brilliant and terrible at the same time.
‘The Final Chapter’ might just be the best worst film ever. It actually felt weird when a genuine horror film trailered before the screening. Yes, this is technically a horror film. Instead it will have you roaring with laughter, tears rolling down your face.
The screenplay could have been written by a thirteen year old (I know this because it bares striking resemblances to a short story I once wrote that age), and every character – including Alice (Jovovich), is less than one-dimensional. For whatever reason the decision was made to retcon the events of ‘Apocalypse’, an almost pointless exercise. Claire Redfield is in it. Well, at least there is a woman who shows up a couple of times for a couple of minutes with the same name. And Albert Wesker, the nemesis of the last few films, is pretty much side-lined to the same degree as Redfield.
Dr Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) is the single greatest thing about this movie. He’s the evil scientist who takes a copy of the King James’ Bible to an Umbrella boardroom meeting and convinces them that the deliberate advent of a zombie Armageddon would leave the planet “unscathed”. Pretty much every decision he makes, everything he says, is dumb, comic genius.
There is nothing to be learned from this movie, nothing to take from the plot. It’s just ridiculous, highly-entertaining, throwaway cinema. If watching a man being pulled along by a tank, with multiple shotgun wounds to the chest and zombies chasing him isn’t your thing, then this isn’t for you.