$312 million worldwide. That’s the amount of money this movie took at the box office, making it the highest grossing in the series. So despite it being called “The Final Chapter” there are already talks of a series reboot, which is hardly surprising with so much money waiting to be made. As for the movie series as a whole, I unashamedly love it.
From the humble beginnings of the original to the madcap antics of Afterlife, like the Fast and the Furious series it’s amazing to see its evolution from a relatively small scale film to this massive franchise ender with giant towering infernos and CGI flying bat creatures. It’s a wild ride.
The opening act of the movie is definitely the weak point, mind. An Alien 3 style opener where the surviving cast from the last film are murdered off screen because of a Wesker betrayal and you’re left with the aftermath of a battle you don’t see. Well, that’s one way to start afresh and not bring in any of the last set of heroes. But considering the last film contained series favourites Leon Kennedy and Ada Wong it doesn’t start off on a high note.
This especially becomes more apparent when you’re introduced to the latest set of survivors who are only here to get murdered in a variety of ways, with only Claire Redfield being the link to the games (apart from Wesker). Dr Isaacs is back as the antagonist – despite turning himself into the Tyrant at the end of Extinction and getting killed, he’s back for another pay check while he waits for the new season of Game of Thrones to begin filming. Like nanomachines being the answer to everything unexplained in Metal Gear, with these movies, it’s clones. How do we bring back Michelle Rodriguez? Clones! How do I put my wife in the movie as multiple characters? Clones! It’s dumb, but a lovable kind of dumb.
The whole crux of the movie this time is Alice (Milla Jovovich) being sent on a mission by the Red Queen computer to retrieve the anti-virus and save humanity. The anti-virus is being kept in the Hive, the location of the first movie. Time for everything to come full circle as Alice returns to where it all began, complete with the return of the fan favourite laser room. Something which was actually memorable enough for Capcom themselves to steal the idea and put it in Resident Evil 4.
Let’s be honest, you’re not going to watch this movie for the performances, and that’s good. Aside from Iain Glenn’s Dr Isaacs playing pantomime villain perfectly, and once again the actor portraying Wesker is chewing as much scenery as is available to him, everyone else is rather lacklustre and bland. Early on you’re led to believe there’s a mole in the group and if you don’t guess it straight away then you’re just watching a blank screen. Weirdly Milla Jovovich is especially bad in this one. Despite seeming like these are her favourite movies she’s appeared in (they’d have to be to do it SIX times), her expression makes her look completely absent.
None of the new survivors are much good either, they give some of them creative deaths but it would be nice to care about them before their untimely demise. Ruby Rose’s character is the only one I felt any affection for, and even then it’s not enough to remember what her actual name was.
But enough about “acting” and performances”. Those are for actual movies with plot and not just one lone cut scene which is what the RE movie franchise has evolved into. It may not reach the absurdity of the Wesker/Chris fight from Afterlife, or Barry Burton going out in a blaze of glory in Extinction, but there are still some nice, stupid action beats in this. I personally could’ve done with them toning down the camera cuts, but it’s not that detrimental to the main fight scenes.
While being one hell of a ride, and I am quite sad that it’s over, this is probably the right time to stop. It feels like they’ve definitely exhausted their ideas so perhaps a clean slate is needed for when the reboot finally rolls around.