×

Film Review: ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’

Don't get your hopes up: For fans, this installment adds little. For detractors, it's almost certainly not really the final chapter.

With:
Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, Rola, Lee Joon-Gi, William Levy, Iain Glen.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2592614/

Yes, the movie is called “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” but don’t let that get your hopes up. After all, “Resident Evil: Extinction” (2007) was hyped as “the third and final installment of the ‘Resident Evil’ trilogy,” and that was three chapters ago. In fact, the last scene of this frenzied yet tedious post-apocalyptic farrago strongly suggests that the long-running, video game-inspired franchise could very easily continue. All that’s missing is a climatic close-up of lead player Milla Jovovich dropping all pretense and winking at the audience, then laughing out loud.

Actually, that might have been a welcome sight for those of us who have been following the franchise since 2002, when the first “Resident Evil” movie introduced Jovovich as Alice, the most resilient of the commandos sent to the Hive, an underground laboratory of the mysterious Umbrella Corporation, after the experimental T-virus transformed several of the facility’s researchers (and quite a few dogs) into flesh-eating zombies. A lot has happened to Alice since then — she has gained, lost and regained super powers, and witnessed the zombification of almost the entire human race — but very little of it has been cause for laughter, or even a wry smile.

Things continue to be grim in “The Final Chapter,” which finds Alice alone amid the ruins of a devastated Washington, D.C. (evidently, that big battle foretold at the end of 2012’s “Resident Evil: Retribution” didn’t turn out so well) and surprisingly receptive to a summons from her long-time foe, the Red Queen, an artificial intelligence program that manifests itself as the hologram of a little girl with the voice of an autocratic schoolmarm. The Red Queen wants Alice to return to the Hive to obtain a vial of “airborne antivirus” to counteract the T-virus and, while she’s in the neighborhood, lay the smackdown on Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen), the evil Umbrella Corporation honcho who has figured out a way to benefit from wiping out most of humanity. Alice killed Dr. Isaacs a few movies ago but, evidently, he got better.

Popular on Variety

The bad doctor is not the only thing that has been recycled here by writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson, who’s been involved with every film in the “Resident Evil” series and, not incidentally, is married to Milla Jovovich. In addition to repurposing situations, character types, and fight choreography from previous episodes, Anderson borrows freely from a host of other post-apocalyptic action-adventures — most notably, “Mad Max: Fury Road” — while charting Alice’s progress as she and a ragtag team of like-minded heroes (including series semi-regular Ali Larter) battle zombie hordes and Umbrella Corporation minions that stand in the way of their mission.

A few individual scenes of hand-to-hand and foot-to-face combat are undeniably exciting, and Jovovich once again impresses with her kinetic athleticism. Overall, however, the repetitiveness and occasional incoherence of the nonstop action leave the audience exhausted for all the wrong reasons. And it doesn’t help that the special effects — especially during the many, many fiery explosions — often appear at once expensive and unconvincing. Maybe it is time for everyone involved with the franchise to really, truly and absolutely call it a day

Film Review: 'Resident Evil: The Final Chapter'

Reviewed at AMC First Colony 24, Sugar Land, Texas, Jan. 26, 2017. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 106 MIN.

Production: A Sony Pictures Entertainment (in U.S.) release of a Screen Gems, Constantin Film, Davis Films presentation of a Constantin Film production, in association with Davis Films, Impact Pictures. Producers: Jeremy Bolt, Paul W.S. Anderson, Robert Kulzer, Samuel Hadida. Executive producers: Martin Moszkowicz, Victor Hadida.

Crew: Director, writer: Paul W.S. Anderson, based on the Capcom video game “Resident Evil.” Camera (color, Imax 3D): Glen MacPherson. Editor: Doobie White.

With: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, Rola, Lee Joon-Gi, William Levy, Iain Glen.

More Film

  • Utopia Hires Danielle DiGiacomo as Head

    Utopia Hires Danielle DiGiacomo as Head of Content (EXCLUSIVE)

    Film executive Danielle DiGiacomo is joining the upstart distribution company Utopia as head of content, Variety has learned. In this new role, she’ll be acquiring movies and developing release strategies for the boutique label, which last year released titles such as the drama “Mickey and the Bear” and Errol Morris’ political documentary series “American Dharma.” [...]

  • Persian Lessons Russian Cinema

    Berlin: 'Persian Lessons' Sold to Cohen Media Group for North America

    Cohen Media Group has acquired North American rights to the Holocaust drama “Persian Lessons,” following its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, where it has become a buzz title. The film was produced after the lead producers met at a Variety “10 Producers to Watch” event in Cannes in 2018, and decided to work [...]

  • SZA, Justin Timberlake Drop ‘The Other

    SZA and Justin Timberlake Drop First Song From 'Trolls World Tour'

    SZA and Justin Timberlake released “The Other Side,” the first song from the upcoming “Trolls World Tour” soundtrack. Of course, Timberlake’s Grammy-winning 2016 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from the first “Trolls” film, was one of the most massive hits in a career filled with them, and like that song, this one involves co-writer Max [...]

  • German-french Producer Margaret Menegoz Receives the

    Cesar Academy Names Margaret Menegoz Interim President

    Producer and outgoing board of governors member Margaret Ménégoz has taken over as interim president of the Cesar Academy. The new president is to oversee a transition period until a new board is announced in April. Ménégoz, who has produced films for Michael Haneke, Eric Rohmer and Andrzej Wajda under her Les Films du Losange [...]

  • Berlin Alexanderplatz

    'Berlin Alexanderplatz': Film Review

    The twin pillars of Alfred Döblin’s epochal 480-page 1929 German-language novel and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s deeply influential 15-hour miniseries, first broadcast in 1980, together create an overarching shadow from which Burhan Qurbani’s relatively svelte three-hour contemporary reworking of “Berlin Alexanderplatz” struggles to escape. Although promising a deep-cut dash of contemporary topicality by reimagining the main [...]

  • There is No Evil

    Berlin: Banned Director Mohammad Rasoulof's 'There is No Evil' Lures Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mohammad Rasoulof’s “There is No Evil,” which is having its world premiere at the Berlinale on Feb. 28, has been sold by Films Boutique to major distributors across Europe. The sixth feature from Rasoulof, the critically acclaimed Iranian auteur facing censorship challenges back home, “There is No Evil” made a big impression on buyers and [...]

  • Bob Iger and Bob Chapek Disney

    How Disney Veteran Bob Chapek Emerged From Dark-Horse Status to Take CEO Job

    When the final act came in the corporate succession drama that has captivated Hollywood for years, it turned out that Bob Chapek was the logical candidate who was hiding in plain sight the whole time. The news that Chapek would succeed Bob Iger as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. hit the entertainment industry like [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content