Hey, this is a video review! I’ve also included the script as well, below.
So, I’m one of the few people who doesn’t hate the Resident Evil movies.
They aren’t as bad as say, Alone in the Dark or Legend of ChunLi, but not as good as Silent Hill or Ace Attorney. Overall, I think they’re… fine. Fun popcorn movies that generally don’t take themselves terribly seriously and have a lot of really awesome action moments. It’s fun to occasionally get characters from the games even if they act nothing like the characters from the games. So yeah. If I can be fine with (and even love) the Super Mario Bros. movie, I can be fine with the Resident Evil movies. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, however, really stretches that “fine-ness” thin. Most fans probably point to the film franchises’ incongruity with the source material as a reason to dislike it, but honestly, The Final Chapter’s problems are more or less the exact opposite. Regardless of whether or not he’s ever played the games, as far as I can tell, Paul W.S. Anderson hasn’t even seen the movies he wrote/directed.
Right off the bat, the movie jumps over backward to cause problems with its own continuity. If you recall, there’s already been a history behind the movie version of the T-Virus (which I will never stop reminding people that Paul Anderson thinks it’s called that because the cells are actually little T’s). In Resident Evil: Apocolypse, which I’d argue is the best film of the six, it was established that Alexander Ashford (played by the awesome Jared Harris) had created the T-Virus after his daughter had come down with a degenerative disease that robbed her of the use of her legs. After making his discovery, the company he worked for, Umbrella, came and seized his research and turned his miracle cure into a weapon. It was great and added a layer of tragedy and humanity that had been missing from the virus’ game origins.
Unfortunately, I guess Paul Anderson didn’t remember his own script because this movie completely retcons that entire plot with a slightly similar, but somehow less engaging version. Now, the CEO of Umbrella Corporation, James Marcus (yeah, the Progenitor Virus’ creator from the games… in name only) created the virus in order to cure an illness that was rapidly aging his daughter before her years. The virus turning people into zombies was apparently a possible side-effect, and Marcus was murdered to get a hold of the virus by his business partner, Dr. Isaacs (from Apocolypse and Extinction) and Albert Wesker.
This level of disregard for even the film universe’s own continuity should give you a good idea of where the entire film is going.
For the most part, it’s just another Resident Evil movie, with everything we’ve come to expect, albeit a little more rushed. The film’s pacing is so rapid-fire that I generally didn’t even catch the names of the majority of the new characters before they were killed off, and the sudden driving force behind the film’s main goal is almost spit-take inducing hilarious. But let me back up a little.
At the end of the previous film, Retribution, we were shown a glimpse of a potential final showdown, with Wesker having re-infected Alice with the virus to give her back her super powers, and the two of them (along with Ada Wong, Jill Valentine, and Leon Kennedy) standing atop the White House as they gazed out on what looked to be a simply incredible final battle against the undead and biological hordes. It actually had me geared up for the potential this movie had. It’s a fair assumption, seeing as every cliff-hanger was followed up on in the previous four sequels, but nope. We never get to see this “final battle”, and in fact, Leon, Ada, and Jill are all killed off camera without any mention or fanfare. Alice simply stars the movie waking up in a pile of rubble, and we’re given a throwaway line saying that the whole thing had been a “trap”. Oh. It’s also established that Wesker only pretended to give Alice back her powers. The characters seem to think that Alice was re-infected regardless, but that ultimately goes nowhere.
So there’s an airborne version of the anti-virus, and Umbrella hasn’t used it yet because it turns out that the head of Umbrella (who is Dr. Isaacs all of a sudden, despite Wesker being alluded to being the head of the company multiple times in previous films) is a religious nut and thinks that the global infection is actually a second coming of the great flood. I actually kind of like this idea, it reminds me a little of the religion the prisoners in Alien 3 found, and it actually helps explain why Umbrella had really done nothing at all to save the world (despite Dr. Isaacs himself trying to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus under orders from Wesker in Extinction… although that Isaacs was revealed to be a clone… but why they would have a clone working on such a project regardless is… oh boy, my head hurts). It also adds a layer of creepiness to Umbrella that the movies had never really captured, as they had traded out the old world, musty mansion stuff of the games for sleek, Apple-inspired metal and a general OCP aesthetic.
Turns out that the anti-virus is being held in the Hive facility, the original one from the very first film that was built underneath Raccoon City. Raccoon is mostly crater, but the facility is still more or less intact. We’re introduced to a few random characters who are given the most basic of characterization (Hi, I’m an asshole who doesn’t trust outsiders, Hi, I’m the friendly pseudo leader, Hi, I make stuff and am remarkably clean despite Revlon having gone out of business with the rest of the world, Hi, I have a funny accent, Hi, I…uh… I guess I’m stealing from the mechanic girls’ stash of soap and skin products too). Oh, and Claire is there too, I guess having survived the opening of the previous film (although also seemingly to have really not given a shit that her brother didn’t. Although I wouldn’t know. If the character isn’t on screen, who knows what they’re doing. Especially seeing as death seems to have very little meaning in this universe).
Dr. Isaacs is actively hunting Alice down at this point since Alice left him a little short-handed earlier. This leads to a pretty neat tower-defense sequence that kind of reminds me of George Romero’s Land of the Dead. But ultimately the two end up coming up pretty even and have to both abandon their refuge. Alice leads the group of expendables into the Hive, losing one or two in the process.
The Red Queen (who is good now) reveals that, while Dr. Isaacs had lost it and come to believe all that religious stuff about the end of the world and whatnot- it was actually Umbrella’s goal all along.
Isaacs and the rest of Umbrella’s board of directors took advantage of the outbreak in Raccoon City and just… let the world die. In fact, they deliberately undermined the survival of the human race, and sealed themselves up until Wesker and the Red Queen could confirm that the entire human population had gone extinct. Before we go and rail the movie for this, I’d like to remind everyone that Umbrella’s goal in the games was “a superior race of atomic supermen” from Ed Wood basically, and Wekser’s line of reasoning for destroying the world is actually pretty similar. I… actually don’t hate this. I like the way it’s presented, and as I said before, the religious spin on everything actually makes Umbrella as a whole way creepier than they ever were in the previous films. How much is resting squarely on the shoulders of Ian Glenn and the fact that he could probably read the opening song from My Little Pony and make it sound sinister as fuck is anyone’s gues?.
The Hive appears to be much larger and much more horrifying than the previous film let on, as Alice and co. are quickly dumped into what can only be described as the “scary room”. I can’t really fathom what on earth purpose this room could have had when the otherwise clean, sparkling, and work-a-day atmosphere of the Hive in the first film. You telling me that this room existed just a couple doors down from this? At least it’s a cool looking room, and it’s well designed for the most part, but I can’t imagine what the purpose of this room, even with the lights on, would be.
We loose funny-accent man, and Alice has a pretty okay fight with the Bloodshot thing. This whole time, Wesker is watching from a lavish, corporate office as designed by an X-Men villain, commanding the Red Queen – can I go on a tangent about the Red Queen for a sec? I honestly don’t know what’s going on between films. She was evil but with a good purpose in the first film. She was just psychopathic in the 5th film, and now she’s back to having a good purpose. By the way, anyone else remembers the White Queen? The AI who filled basically this exact role of the “good girl AI who actually wants to save the world” from Extinction? That I’m pretty sure came out of Extinction just fine, while the Red Queen had her mainframe fried and thus shouldn’t be back in this film? Did I mention my head hurts?
Alice teams up with the pseudo leader and ends up in the only familiar room from the original film – the laser hallway and connecting security room. This is sort of neat. There’s even a duffle bag of weapons left behind by the USS team from the first film, since… you know, almost all of them died in this room and didn’t have a need for it anymore. It turns out the security room itself is an elevator to a huge containment room, holding all of the rich and powerful Umbrella employees who could pay to get out of the end of the world. This area is pretty reminiscent of the holding chamber elevator room from RE5, so there’s another thing sort of from the games. Alice and Pseudo leader reach the bottom level, and we discover the secret behind all of Umbrella’s activities in the entire series.
So it turns out even the Dr. Isaacs that was chasing Alice outside is a clone. Fuck. So Alice and the real (yes, the real Dr. Isaacs) have a silly slo-mo… hypothetical fight. Apparently, Paul Anderson agreed with me that Iain Glen would have been a way better choice to play Albert Wesker, and basically just turns him into Wesker for the sake of this finale. Wesker is still there, just… hanging out (with the family), along with Pseudo leader who turns out to have been a traitor working for Wesker… (I can’t even).
At the end of all this, Alice learns the final, terrible truth, at the heart of the whole Resident Evil film universe.
So, before I go into this, I need to say a couple of things. First off, this really is the climax that all six of these films were leading up to. This really is meant to be the final payoff to any and all questions you might have had throughout the series. Secondly, we need to go over some previous continuity in the films again. Alice was a security officer working for Umbrella, who has a change of heart and decides to leak information of Umbrella’s wrongdoings to a small group of environmentalists looking to expose the corporation’s secrets. Alice loses her memory temporarily due to a nerve gas released by Umbrella’s security system AI, when her pho-husband Spence unleashes the T-Virus in the Hive facility to cause a distraction- an act that is the catalyst for the virus escaping into Raccoon City and soon the entire world. Eventually, Alice regains her memory and this even leads into the tagline of the next film, “My Name Is Alice, And I Remember Everything”.
So in The Final Chapter, the big, epic twist is that… Alice herself is a clone. A clone of James Marcus’ daughter (who was the reason the T-Virus was created, and the base the Red Queen was modeled after). The original Alice is also still alive, and her and the Red Queen have been trying to help the action hero Alice this whole time. I’m dumbfounded by how impossibly stupid this all is. Apparently, Alice couldn’t ever remember stuff before the events of the original film, so that whole “I remember everything” stuff was kind of… wrong. A fight ensues, Wesker gets killed like a little bitch, (because you know, to hell with his established powers and even more: fuck the fans).
Wesker took eleven years to kill conclusively in the games (if he really is even dead at all) and even then it took a combination of Wesker having a mental breakdown, falling in a volcano, and two enormous rockets to finally put the bastard out of his misery. In the films, Wesker is killed by a door.
You shoulda tried everything, Chris. Why didn’t you try the doors, Chris? They were everywhere.
A fight ends up taking them to the laser hallway from the original film, which is also (more or less) where Alice’s fight with the first Isaacs clone concluded in Extinction. Alice finally pulls out a win, planting a grenade in Isaac’s jacket mid fight, blowing out his torso, and makes off with the Anti-Virus, and she rushes to the surface alone to get the Anti-virus dispersed. Just as she’s about to set it off (oh yeah, because Wesker re-infected her setting off the Anti-Virus will kill her, so there’s a little hesitation here), Isaacs (who’s enhancements helped him put himself back together), shows up and stops her.
So the clone Isaacs, the crazy one, shows up at the last second, still hell bent on killing Alice, only to find that “he” already has her at gunpoint. This causes his little broken mind to shatter completely, and in his arrogance, the real Isaacs doesn’t even consider the possibility that a clone of him and all his evil narcissism wouldn’t take too kindly to finding out they weren’t the original. Again, this is a moment I kind of like, especially as the clone is still full on religious nutter, and doesn’t even think about the Umbrella part of it all, calling the real Isaacs an abomination. Points for having a better death than being killed by a door.
The Hive is blown up, and Alice looses the anti-virus, instantly killing all of the zombies and monsters that the clone Isaacs had lead to her. She falls, and seemingly it’s all over.
Nope, Claire wakes Alice up a few hours later, where Alice discovers she didn’t die because apparently the anti-virus just killed the T-cells in her body (???) and the red queen reveals that the real Alice left behind recordings of her memories of childhood for Alice to watch, to effectively give her the childhood she apparently never had.
It’s a touching moment I guess, but I’m not sure how exactly watching home movies of someone else’s life is the same thing as having memories of your own. I feel like the knowledge that it wasn’t actually you in the videos would becoming a nagging thought to the point that you couldn’t watch them anymore.
So that’s it, the world is saved, and everything’s fine. Nope, turns out that the air borne anti-virus will take years to spread across the globe, and Alice sets out on a mission to help protect the last of humanity.
Overall, it doesn’t offend me the way that Batman V Superman does or bore me to tears like Alone in the Dark, but it’s easily the worst of the entire series. While I did like the visuals, and a couple of key plot points (mostly just involving Ian Glenn’s awesome almost Wesker performance), the plot is so desperate to rush to some sort of conclusion while also not really giving a shit about it’s own canon and characters, that it ends up feeling weak all around. The continuity errors between this film and the others as well as killing fan-favorite characters feel like the filmmakers simply have contempt for their fans, and the final payoff for the Alice character is so dull, lifeless and predictable that it undermines her character from the rest of the films.
But hey, at least we have the upcoming James Wan produced reboot to look forward to. I’m a big fan of his films, especially Saw and The Conjuring, so fingers crossed I guess.