The resident evil films have been running for some 15 years now, which is a rare thing for any franchise, let alone one that has managed to retain its lead actress throughout.
The films generally follow the same fast moving, video game-esque formula: Alice (Milla Jovovich) is given a mission to complete using her survival/fighting/firearms skills and must seek the truth whilst saving humanity by facing endless hordes of evil creatures and defeating the final boss.
This simple recipe has continued to win over audiences seeking instant gratification and less dialogue, giving Resident Evil cult status.
In the final chapter we’re treated to more of the same. As Alice wanders the wastes it’s not long before she finds herself entangled in yet another saga at the hands of the evil Umbrella Corporation.
This time round, she only has two days to make it back to the heart of the hive – where it all began – before the last of humanity is extinguished.
Following instructions given by Umbrella’s artificial intelligence, The Red Queen (who seems to have turned double agent) she races across the obstacle strewn landscape, picking up allies (and some new enemies) along the way.
As ever the action is fast and engaging. The sequences are shot well and Alice never fails to impress with new ways of killing large numbers of bad guys.
But after a short while watching impossible fight scenes in impossible situations between impossible characters, the chances are your attention will drift.
This is because, no matter how you try to re-package it, we have seen it all before in the other Resident Evil movies. And when each instalment of a series of films has done so well to better it’s predecessor by upping the excitement and absurdity, there has to be a point where it can’t go any further. And I’m afraid that point was probably Resident Evil: Retribution (the one before this one).
No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible not to lose interest in the plot this time around, one that is far too familiar and somehow more unspectacular than previous efforts.
It’s a shame as generally speaking, each part of the series has been stronger, or has at least brought in something new and exciting – like a new threat, often in the form of a hideous creature.
The Final Chapter lacks scary beasts. There are scary winged monsters and lots of zombies, but they’re all a bit ‘meh’ after the likes of The Tyrant, Nemesis or those hideous lickers.
And although we care for Alice and humanity, the fact that she always seems to come out on top means there just isn’t enough in the final chapter to make it stand out. Which is sad for a finale. How many times has Alice died or nearly died? How many cohorts has she lost? How many baddies has she disposed of? When you quickly tot up the stats, it helps to explain why Milla doing ‘Alice versus the Umbrella Corp’ just doesn’t seem as thrilling anymore.
The film does give closure, which is something. And the producers will no doubt feel proud of what they have achieved over the life of the franchise – a perfect translation of video game action to celluloid.