I have never seen a Resident Evil movie before. I think years ago I saw maybe 20 minutes of the first one. So it was strange and exciting that the first film in the series I would be seeing was, supposedly, the last one. Surely there would be something interesting about dropping in on the last act of a 6 part B-movie epic.
In truth, I didn’t really want to see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. But the other early-2000s hold-over schlock, Underworld: Blood Wars, wasn’t playing near me.
Referencing horror films without ever being one. Referencing action movies without ever really achieving anything that resembles a compelling set-piece. With a movie this bad the only thing that can keep my interest is hammy melodrama. If it’s committed to enough, faux emotional drama, filtered through bad acting and horrendous dialogue, is my favorite part of “so bad it’s good” movies. Sadly, The Final Chapter holds out on that until the last 20 minutes or so.
The apocalypse has ended. The evil Umbrella Corporation’s man-made virus has swept the earth turning people into flesh-thirsty zombies. There are also dragon-like creatures flying around for some reason. Alice (Milla Jovovich) is given a mission by the Umbrella Corporation’s rogue AI hologram, The Red Queen. Alice must steal and release the zombie virus’ antidote into the air to rid the earth of zombies. If she can’t do that, everyone dies.
Resident Evil 6 is not a film I expect good storytelling from. It doesn’t promise that, so I would never hold it accountable for it’s writing or acting. However, it does promise fun B-movie action and scares. I’m never one to mind cheesy or cheap visual effects, but they’re pretty hard to tolerate when you’re bored to tears. The action scenes are shot so shakily and edited so quickly the only way to enjoy them is as a strange, abstract collage. It’s a common complaint made about most action flicks after The Bourne Identity made it hot in 2002, but this film takes it to an extreme. As soon as a punch is thrown time and space becomes completely incoherent.
The film is also not scary. One of the most famous cinematic jump scares is from the sci fi slasher Alien (1979). The hero Ripley creeps through a dark spaceship, expecting a murderous alien to attack at any moment. There’s a loud screech! But it’s just the cat. The false-scare is a commonly used trope. Resident Evil uses it about two to three times in each scene. The film seems to think that a sudden orchestral stab is enough to keep audiences interested, but it gets exhaustingly predictable after a while.
Only in the final act does the film finally live up to its promise of schlock. In an underground Umbrella Corporation lair, Dr. Isaacs, (the evil mastermind behind the zombie virus) reveals a gloriously twist that belongs in a soap opera. More than one character discovers that they are a clone of another character, and react with existential dread. If this kind of off-the-wall wackiness had been present throughout the film, I might have enjoyed it. Instead of building to the ridiculous ending, the preceding events felt like they were just filler.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter could have so easily been enjoyable. To say “it had potential” sounds overly generous, but it did. It had the potential to embrace it’s silliness. The elements of dumb fun were present. The bar was set so low, but it still fell short.
This film was 2 Residents out of 10 Evils.