Not so much the sixth in a franchise as a near-zombiefied video game tie-in, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter does offer one intriguing thought—Milla Jovovich—90s supermodel turned action star thanks to 2002’s first RE chapter. She seems to have aged so little that there may be, hidden away in her attic/penthouse loft, a portrait of her truly aged self. But whatever Faustian bargain the Jovavavoomavich struck has paid off in bucketfuls—this undying franchise has slaked in $956-million and is still thirsting.
Its popularity continues to confound. A generally lifeless zombiepocalypse action-horror with second-rate Mad Max moments, RE:TFC opens with some catch-up (a recap of the virus-outbreak story until now), then it’s fright-and-kill time again. A dragon-like beast, zombie hordes, the evangelical Dr. Isaacs (Iain Glen), and fiendish dogs pursue Alice (Jovovich) en route to the Hive, where, helped by its “Red Queen” computer—appearing via hologram—she’ll release an anti-virus, saving what remains of humanity from becoming “Thriller” video extras.
Those imitatively Mad Max moments may be the most interesting. Otherwise, all the generously mandibled creatures seem derivatively Alien-ish, the Wonderland references are scattershot and senseless, and a late-stage clone identity crisis is as interesting as Jovovixen’s near-parody of steely, terse action-attitudinizing. Plot glitches, time errors (in a countdown to Z-Day), and geographical inaccuracies don’t help. Director Paul WS Anderson (Jovovicious’s husband) and company shoot every horror-turned-fight sequence like they’re remaking the Psycho shower scene—all quick, jagged cuts; it gets tedious fast.
Glen snarls and sinks into his nefarious role, as if auditioning for the part of a 007-nemesis, but the movie suffers from anti-Bond syndrome, whereby convoluted traps and overwrought murder-machinations are set into motion against our hero (and of course doomed to fail). And after vice-like walls, meathooks, body-sucking propellers, oubliette shafts, and slicing lasers, the traps and pitfalls seem sneeringly sadistic, as if the story’s just whirring through the motions, killing off the supporting players until Alice saves the world already. And then, at last, when the ending arrives, it seems to live up to the promise of that subtitle, only to try to turn it into a tease. Hey, Resident Evil—know when to stay dead.