Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/28/17
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ruby Rose, Ever Anderson, Shawn Roberts, Rola

"You are all going to die down here." - The Red Queen

Infuriatingly awful, but not nearly as dreadful as the previous "Resident Evil: Retribution" (2012). All human life on Earth will be wiped out in 48 hours, unless Alice (Milla Jovovich) can make it back to The Hive in Raccoon City and find a cure for the T-Virus. Along the way, she meets up with a group of survivors including Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), and together they make a stand against Umbrella's advancing undead armies. It almost has a satisfactory ending, but it disregards the "Final Chapter" moniker by teasing the possibility of continuing Alice's story.

First of all, the only reason the film is watchable is because of Milla Jovovich. Her performance is spot-on and her anger and defiance are intensely tangible. Her embodiment of Alice is truly inspired, and she gives the film far more than it deserves. When she says "we're going to kill every last one of them," it sends chills down your spine and gives you no reason to doubt her. She also looks much better than she did in the previous film and her wardrobe is superb. Ali Larter makes a welcomed return to the series and her limited action scenes are delightfully executed. The immensely charming Ruby Rose is on hand as an adorably spunky resistance fighter, but she is criminally underutilized and short-lived. Iain Glen returns as a contrived reincarnation of Dr. Isaacs from "Resident Evil: Extinction" (2007) and provides a face for Umbrella's villainy, but he's so insane and overpowered that he comes across as completely uninteresting. The music is loud and bombastic, but seems to appropriately match the tone of the film.

Milla's action scenes are excellent, but ruined by inexcusably terrible editing. It seems that every action movie review I've read in the last twenty years has complained about horrible editing, which makes me wonder why filmmakers refuse to address this self evident problem. In fact, it only seems to be getting worse. The editing in this film is beyond atrocious and allows no time to process any of the information that's being presented. As a result, the movie is completely devoid of any scares, thrills, or excitement because everything is cut together so quickly that there's no room for dramatic tension or cinematic rhythm. The film also doesn't make a damn bit of sense and no effort is made to explain or tie together any of the outlandish and senseless absurdity that's being doled out. It seems like such a wasted opportunity, since the production values are quite high and there's a lot more going on than the audience is allowed to see.

Regardless of how bad the movie is, what intrigues me most is how topical it is. Coming out a week after President Donald Trump's inauguration and in the midst of his most deplorable behavior, the film is a remarkably effective metaphor for Trump's America with its xenophobia, religious intolerance, religious hypocrisy, Plutocratic attitudes, flippant indifference towards war, and complete disregard for humanity and the environment. Unfortunately, it's going to take more than a woman on a motorcycle and a miracle virus to bring our society back from the brink of global annihilation.