Thursday, 9 February 2017



Well, they've generally been kind of fun, the Resident Evil films, and there's not many franchises that have kept up this level of "bonkers but enjoyable". Sure, some have been better than others - I've never been that fussed about the second one (Apocalyse) but liked the third (Extinction) a lot better, perhaps for the visuals Russell Mulcahy brought to it. The ongoing antics of skimpily-dressed ass-kicking genetic clone Alice and the baffling corporate decisions of the Umbrella Corporation have brought much pleasure over the last fifteen years and six films, but perhaps it's now time to draw it to a close with one final blast of nonsensical zombie mayhem.

Very little of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter has much in the way of logic behind it. The Umbrella Corporation (whose incompetence with bio-weapon containment led to nothing less than a zombie apocalypse) is no longer a business but a religious crusade led by Very Mad Scientist Isaacs (Iain Glen) to wipe out humanity and start again with his cryogenically preserved super-race. Alice (Milla Jovovich) has forty-eight hours to get back into The Hive underneath Raccoon City and unleash an anti-virus that will deactivate the zombies and save what's left of humanity. But Umbrella are waiting for her and the gang of survivors...

How is this anti-virus is supposed to work across the world when Alice is already down to the last few minutes of her countdown? How come The Hive's defences are so easily bypassed? (Okay, it's not exactly a walk round Sainsburys but they left the giant slammy doors wide open and unmanned, for goodness' sake.) If mad Dr Isaacs doesn't want the anti-virus unleashed, why does he carry it around in an easily smashed vial and not stick it in a concrete safe with a forty nine hour time lock on it? Why is there an Umbrella spy in the group of survivors - what's in it for them? In between wondering about all that, you might ask why Paul WS Anderson has made a film large chunks of which seem to revolve around people beating his wife (Jovovich) up.

Still, there's fun to be had with the zombie hordes and the non-stop action, Iain Glen is agreeably over the top, it doesn't waste much time and the numerous chase, fight, monster and kaboom scenes are satisfyingly crunchy and violent. And at least it does end properly without the sense that it's all just leading to a To Be Continued caption: this is a natural conclusion without the vital loose ends that require a further instalment to take care of. Maybe it's not going out on a high, but if this is the end then this could be the one franchise that doesn't keep trundling on for two films longer than it needs to. Blu-Ray boxset for Christmas, perhaps...


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