- Fighting zombies and looking like A&F models while doing it. Photo by Ilze Kitshoff.
I'm not a fan of the term "guilty pleasures." If something brings you pleasure and it's not hurting anyone else, then be proud of the dumb stuff that you like. The "Resident Evil" franchise is a series of inherently terrible movies, but I've seen them all multiple times and there's something almost comforting about how gracelessly stupid they are.
Milla Jovovich carries the entire franchise as Alice, a woman with amnesia awakening into a world of zombies, conspiracies and mustache twirling villains. In the original "Resident Evil," she wakes up in a mansion above a giant underground research facility called The Hive, where an evil entity known as the Umbrella Corporation has engineered a zombie apocalypse.
Each movie sees Alice team up with characters from the video game series to fight an ever-escalating series of monsters and zombies. As terrible as they are, I still love these movies for how little they care about cinematic conventions like dialogue, story and structure. As long as Jovovich is jump-kicking a zombie dog through a window, I'm a happy Jared. I also think it's important to support female led action/horror franchises.The first 15 minutes of "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" is (no exaggeration) a dialogue-free exercise in Jovovich fighting a zombie dragon with a Claymore mine and killing Umbrella goons. I thought this was going to be the best movie ever made, but as soon as Jovovich meets up with some boring survivors, they start "acting" and doing "dialogue" and everything becomes a ridiculous slog.
In spite of it being the sixth movie in the franchise, we still don't know anything about Alice. We don't care about her or understand any of her motivations other than wanting to bring down Umbrella. We do know that human life is so important to her that late in the film she orders a drawbridge (yep) to be lowered to let in one unknown human survivor being chased by 100,000 zombies. Hundreds of the zombies get in and kill a bunch of Alice's friends. The logic here is... confusing.
The special effects range from, "Eh, that was OK" to "Holy hell, this is the worst." The acting is atrocious across the board and the "plots" are downright nonsensical at best. All of the action is shot with quick cutting and close-up framing, so the audience has no idea what they're even looking at. The most hilarious thing: the second act all takes place at night and is so dark that it's impossible to tell which characters have even survived. You have to wait until they get to a lit room to see who's still alive.
I walked out of this movie angry, giggling, stunned, numb, hungry and completely unsure that I had even just watched a motion picture. Will I see the next one? Absolutely.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Dir. Paul W.S. Anderson
Old Mill Stadium 16 & IMAX