It’s finally here. By ‘it’, I do of course mean ‘The Final Chapter’ of the fantastic, action packed and stupidly written Resident Evil movie franchise. ‘Stupidly written’ might seem like a harsh critique but I can assure readers that these movies are stupidly written in the most endearing way possible. I have mentioned once before that I am a fan of both the video games and the movies and lest it be said that these films were never meant to be portrayed as ‘art’. I would like to point out that I have posted an article on this website in which I watched the first trailer for the last film and attempted to figure out how this series would end. I can safely say that this film is a positive last instalment and at least makes a pretty good effort to answer some of the questions hanging over this somewhat perplexing series. With all of that in mind, lets get going with a brief rundown of the plot.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter starts off with an otherwise unknown backstory involving the previous head of the Umbrella Corporation, James Marcus and how he was killed by Dr Isaacs (Iain Glenn) and Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). Isaacs then raised Marcus’ daughter, Alicia (Ever Anderson) so he could secure her half of the company. Isaacs then created the Red Queen (The powerful AI that controls the Hive) in her image.
10 years go by and Alice (Milla Jovovich) emerges in a ruined Washington DC after her altercation with Wesker at the of RE Retribution. She is tasked by the Red Queen to head back to Raccoon City and the Hive to retrieve an airborne anti-virus that will kill anything that has been infected with the T-Virus before that last human settlements fall and humanity is wiped out forever. She is given 48 hours in which to do so. With no time to waste, Alice heads to Raccoon City where along the way, she has a brief run-in with a crazy Dr Isaacs and is re-united with Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). Together with Claire and her new friends, they make it down to the Hive but one by one, all the people
who are not established RE characters are picked off in sometimes painful and often quite gory ways until just Alice and Claire remain. When down in the bowels of the Hive, Umbrella’s true motivations are revealed and Alice meets an aged Alicia Marcus (also Milla Jovovich) who reveals something about Alice that I honestly didn’t see coming. I will stop there. Now the actual review will start and it will contain some pretty fucking major spoilers so if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to know then go away, watch the film, come back, and agree with me.
One thing that I do like about the Resident Evil films as a whole is that each film has it’s own unique look but one thing that I really don’t like about the whole series is that each film seems to have it’s own continuity, which could be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing. At the start of each film there is a little summary of the plot so far by Alice but from there, the audience are on their own. The first two films are very much connected and then Extinction goes off on a wild tangent. Afterlife and Retribution might aswell be in space for what connection it has to the previous films but TFC brings it all together nicely.
In Extinction, there is a brief mention of Alice’s blood somehow being connected to a cure so there was a vague sense that maybe we were seeing an end but that was forgotten about until TFC. Question. How did Umbrella develop an airborne anti-virus? I can only assume that Isaacs’ didn’t know about it during the events of Extinction as he wouldn’t be creating clones all over the place to try and get some of Alice’s blood. Bearing that in mind, Umbrella already have an anti-virus, albeit one that has to be injected but couldn’t they just make an airborne version with that. It might sound stupid but Resident Evil has spent 15 years playing fast and loose with the whole ‘science’ thing.
Having said that, TFC is the first film in which we hear about the T-Virus ever having been airborne except from the first movie. The Red Queen mentioned that the T-Virus spread throughout the Hive from starting out as liquid, then being airborne and then being transferred through the bites of the undead. I always just assumed that the T-Virus spread beyond Raccoon City because someone got through the barricade who was infected (because it only takes one, right?) and then the world was fucked but Alice tells us that it is because the virus was airborne. Another question. If the virus is airborne, then why are there survivors? If a virus is airborne, unless you are immune, then that’s it…
you’re fucked. Remember when I said that TFC would answer SOME of the questions.
Speaking of continuity, when I heard of TFC and before I saw the trailer, I was under the impression that the writers would bring back all of the major established RE characters who were still alive and make an awesome smackdown between our favourite characters and the Umbrella corporation. Alas in the trailer, besides Alice, there is one… Claire. Which I’m not complaining about. But there is no mention of her activities during the events of Retribution or indeed the whereabouts of Chris. Also when Alice emerges in Washington, she is alone. No Jill Valentine, no Becky, no Ada Wong and no Leon. Where are they? Are they dead? I doubt it. Have they gone to defend the other human settlements?
In terms of the human settlements, the big threat is that if Alice doesn’t get to the Hive and release the anti-virus then all of the human settlements will fall yet there is no mention of how such a thing would take place. I would have thought that it would have been an Umbrella orchestrated attack but towards the end, the timer gets really close to zero. So one would likely assume that there is an armada of Umbrella forces waiting outside of each and every camp just waiting eagerly for the counter to hit zero so they can fill every survivor with more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese. And if that were indeed the case, then how would they know if Alice succeeds? Plot hole? I think so.
It seems that the Umbrella Corporation was invented just to fuck with the human race for the lolz and doesn’t care about all of the shit that doesn’t make sense.
Do you want to know the massive thing that doesn’t make sense? Well how about Umbrella’s true motives. The Red Queen reveals to Alice via a secret recording that the end of the world was carried out by Isaacs to avoid… you ready?… the end of the world. What? That’s fucking stupid. That’s like me saying ‘I’m going to stop myself from eating all the cakes in the house by eating all the cakes in the house’. Yes, Isaacs is so concerned about nuclear energy, fundamental states and global warming fucking up the planet so he decided to have his own apocalypse and the other guys to it. He plans to freeze himself and the other high-ranking Umbrella officials underground until all of humanity
is destroyed and he can therefore restart the world in the way that he sees fit. He clearly didn’t realise that the world he would wake up in would be full of pissed off zombies who want to eat his knackers with a lovely glass of red wine.
But wait! I mentioned in the brief synopsis that a crazy Dr Isaacs was wandering around in the wasteland, so how could he be there and also frozen underground. Yes, it appears cloning is still very much a part of the Resident Evil plot and it plays a bigger part than one might think. The Red Queen promises Alice not only revenge but also answers to who she is and where she came from. Alice discovers Alicia Marcus and she reveals that Alice is in fact… a clone. I have to be honest, I didn’t see that coming but it did answer a lot of questions, the most poignant being ‘Why don’t we know anything about Alice prior to the event of the first movie?’. That is because Alice was created just prior to the events of the first movie but Alice is reassured that she has become far more human that Alicia ever could have hoped. It also explains why Alice was able to bond with the T-Virus because she was a direct result of Alicia’s DNA. And now for the ending that I was waiting for.
Cast your minds back to 5 years ago at the end of Resident Evil Retribution and to the moment when Wesker re-injects Alice with the T-Virus in order to give her back the abilities that she lost at the start of Afterlife. Well, that was a con… kind of. Alice didn’t get back her telekinesis but she is still infected because it is constantly mentioned that when Alice releases the anti-virus that because she is infected, she will die along with the undead. Alice is prepared to make the sacrifice and after a climactic skirmish with a powered up Isaacs (where she has a few of her fingers cut off by a laser) she reaches the surface, anti-virus in hand. In a very well directed scene, Alice breaks the vial and watches as the thousands of undead running towards are drop to the ground in what looks like the ending of a Mexican wave. Alice wakes up in the morning to be surprised that she is still alive. The Red Queen tells her that whilst the virus destroyed all of the T-cells in her body, the healthy cells remained intact so is officially T-Virus free. But one more thing. Before she was blown up, Alicia Marcus downloaded all of her childhood memories and kept them safe as a sort of present for Alice. Alice now has access to the childhood that she never had and is combined with the woman that she has become. Alice then rides off into the sunset, explaining that whilst the T-Virus took the
earth in days thanks to the workings of the modern world, it could take years for the airborne anti-virus to wrap itself around the globe so until then… there is still work to do.
I have to say, for a franchise that has fed itself so much bullshit, it was nice to see somewhat of a happy ending for Alice. Ever since the start of this franchise, this character has known nothing for pain, fear and death but to get a little bit of happiness and to finally win the day, it’s really good to watch. Claire ended up surviving aswell whilst Wesker didn’t fair so good. He got his leg trapped in a hydraulic door and died through blood loss which was a bit of a weak death for one of the main antagonists. Isaacs’ death on the other hand was beautifully ironic. Since the fight in which Alice cuts off his hand, crazy clone Isaacs has chased Alice to the Hive and comes face to face with
the real Isaacs. Isaac’s ends up getting stabbed to death by his own clone, essentially he killed himself. The the clones gets eaten by the horde just before Alice releases the anti-virus. It was also a nice bit of casting, having the young Alicia Marcus and the Red Queen be played by Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson’s daughter, Ever Anderson. She does a good job and the audience gets the effect of seeing a young Alicia Marcus turn into the old Alicia Marcus, both being played by mother and daughter.
Overall, do I feel like this franchise has come to an end? Yes. Despite it being seriously riddled with plot holes and both absurd characters and dialogue, I feel like there couldn’t be many more ways in which this series could end. Nevertheless, In my opinion it ended on a high for Resident Evil standards and did its level best to wrap up what could be wrapped up. After doing a touch of research, it seems that this film is the highest grossing of all the previous instalments, taking in a whopping $312.2 million worldwide at the box office. So well done Resident Evil, until we meet again when the whole thing gets re-booted.
Just a little side note, the third CG movie, Resident Evil: Vendetta is coming out in Japan at the end of May and in North America at the end of June so I will do a little review for that aswell.