Cinematic Releases: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) - Reviewed

milla jovovich
The capstone of Paul W. S. Anderson's opus of creative liberty, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter uses the series' trademark cyclical formula to deliver a coup de gras blow to the over saturated American box office.  Featuring slick fight choreography, Glen MacPherson's formidable visual command, and a script that annihilates any sense of satirical restraint, this is a film that fits perfectly into Anderson's deceptive framework.

Milla Jovovich returns as super soldier Alice, humanity's last hope, and while, as always, Alice is the focus, this film blissfully celebrates the world it has created and presents an organic conclusion that has more story than the bulk of the anthology.  MacPherson's color drained cinematography presents the world as the aftermath of a Superhero finale, with desolated cities and ravaged monuments dappling every frame.  The lack of distinct color symbolizes the death grip of a commercial franchise, bleeding every ounce of imagination from fresh ideas until there's (almost) nothing left.  The wide shots of the destruction manipulate the computer effects to put the viewer into the environment, while the frenetic editing of the close quarters combat scenes put them directly into harm's way, hearkening back to the glory of the Matrix, with an inverted scene involving a bridge stealing the limelight.

The CGI visuals are predictably overwhelming and yet thoughtful homages to both the source material and the unhinged beast of Anderson's design.  They are countered by outstanding makeup and practical effects for some of the other undead, blending both the grass roots low budget origins and the final incarnation of the aspiring auteur.  Speed is the central attribute that is woven throughout, presenting new creatures, existential refutations of identity, and a slick haunted house sequence in which the beginning is the final destination, dovetailing the absurdity of video game logic with the repetitive, endless pursuit of ticket sales, but in a playful, respectful manner.  This is a movie that knows what it is, knows what it wants to say and does so with deafening panache and humor.

milla jovovich
My sandwich. Give it back. 

The maturity of the finish is a feat that cannot be understated.  The viewer can experience the story as a post-apocalyptic, fully automatic actioner and they will not be disappointed.  Those seeking a summation to Anderson's multi film dissent will find exactly what they're looking for and more.  There are Easter Eggs and other surprises layered throughout, but to extrapolate would spoil the pure joy of the experience.

In theaters now, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter closes out the series on a high note that is both campy (in the best possible way) and eye rolling (in the best possible way).  Every film in the saga is a stepping stone to this, building a Looking Glass madhouse around Jovovich and the whisper of a video game adaptation.  If you're looking for buzz-saw action presented in a fully aware, take no prisoners package, give this one a look over the weekend.


-Kyle Jonathan