Hot Take: Really? Do you mean it? Gosh, I hope so!
If there was an award for loudest movie of 2017, I feel safe in saying Resident Evil: The Final Chapter would make the list even though it is only January. Reminiscent of a Marilyn Manson concert I went to in November ’98, my ears were actually ringing when I walked out of the theater when the credits began to roll for what (fingers crossed!) promises to be the final chapter of the Resident Evil saga.
Enough about the positives. How did the Resident Evil series last this long? Sure, Milla Jovavich as Alice is enough of a badass to warrant screen time and director Paul W.S. Anderson has a knack for knowing how to put zombies on screen (he should since he’s written and/or directed every Resident Evil film in the series) and there were plenty of loose ends to tie up but there’s no rule saying because the film is based on a video game, the story has to play out like a video game, right?
I guess there’s a fan base for this series and I would imagine based on the bits and pieces I’ve seen of the previous movies (Full Disclosure: I’ve never been able to make it through an entire Resident Evil movie during home viewing) that this movie checks all of the boxes for what this group is thirsting for. However, for the casual observer, there’s nothing here. The action sequences are okay but have been done. We’ve seen better zombies. The soundtrack is too loud to enjoy. The cast outside of Jovavich and Ali Larter (as Claire Redfield) is ho hum at best. It’s an apocalyptic mess.
The worst part about The Final Chapter and the Resident Evil series in general is the video games are genuinely scary. For all of the movie’s attempts to capture the feel of a video game (the action sequences are preceded with cheesy scenes that resemble in-game cinematic cut scenes), Resident Evil, the movie, never fully captures the horrorific feel of the Resident Evil, the game. Playing the games, I was genuinely frightened by the content and scared to walk around every turn. Watching Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, the only thing I feared was going deaf.
If there is one other positive to glean from Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, it’s that maybe their promise that this is indeed the end will not be empty. This series has run its course. Unsurprisingly, the promised final installment has opened to the smallest box office haul of the six Resident Evil films. The studio knows it is dead, too, choosing to dump this release into January instead of September where the previous four films found their way to the screen. The only thing that scares me about this series is that it might resemble the zombies it centers its story around and come back from the dead. Let’s hope not.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Nostalgia Rules
If there’s one thing Resident Evil: The Final Chapter nails, it’s nostalgia. The fan base should be pleased with Alice’s return to Raccoon City and a number of recognizable sets pulled directly from the series. There’s Claire, too. There’s a few dead characters that come back to life, too. They don’t even bother making them zombies. This is turning into a backhanded compliment.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- The Holiest of Holes
Don’t try to piece together the past installments and figure out how it jives with The Final Chapter. They don’t. There are a number of plot holes explained away with quick blurbs that can only be explained as an attempt by the creative brains behind the film to dismiss their audience as unintelligent mouth breathers. Heck, this series has grossed over $250 million in the U.S. alone and hasn’t spent much time concerning itself with plot holes so maybe they’re on to something. The biggest problem, though, is returning to Raccoon City shouldn’t be possible since a nuclear missile took out Raccoon City in Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
- No Need to Turn It Up to 11
It’s not just the soundtrack or the screaming zombies or the explosions but even the dialogue is ridiculously loud. One of the things that worked really well in the video game is how quiet it was until something happened and then it frightened the hell out of you. This movie is so loud, nothing can sneak up on you except maybe early onset hearing loss. Is that a thing?
- When Will Someone Make a Video Game Into a Good Movie?
Resident Evil is arguably the most successful video game-to-movie conversion. Considering Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the sixth installment in the series, there’s plenty of ammo to support that claim. However, success doesn’t mean good and Resident Evil is just another failed attempt to make a quality movie out of a video game franchise. However, it more closely resembles a lazy attempt at grabbing a few bucks.