Picking up after Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity's final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began - The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.
Right about now would be the perfect time to queue up The Door's 'This is the End.' Fourteen years and six films later, the Resident Evil franchise comes to a titular close with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The dynamic husband and wife duo director Paul W.S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich cap off their somewhat messy and wildly inconsistent adaptations of the venerable video game series with one last bloody, stiffly scripted, and frenetically-edited gore-fest that plays to the hardcore fans while leaving everyone else who hoped for a more restrained take on the material is left to the undead wasteland.
The evil, diabolical, nefarious Umbrella Corporation led by the profit-driven maniac Dr. Isaacs (Ian Glen) and his murderous henchman Wesker (Shawn Roberts) have decimated the world. When the T-Virus swept through Raccoon City, it turned its victims into flesh-eating monsters of the undead and the plague spread throughout the planet. The lone survivor of the initial outbreak, Alice (Milla Jovovich), has banded together a small group of survivors to stop the Umbrella Corporation and put an end to the plague of the undead. With Claire Redfield (Ali Larter), Doc (Eoin Macken), Abigail (Ruby Rose), and Cobalt (Rola), Claire will have to return to where it all began, The Hive, the laboratory deep within Raccoon City in order to find an airborne cure and save the remaining 4,000 humans on Earth. The only problem being about a billion undead zombies and flying monsters - and very few ammo canisters - waiting for them.
To be honest, there's not all that much left to be said about the Resident Evil franchise or this supposed Final Chapter. If you've made it this far into the show and continue to be entertained, you should find this outing rewarding. Those of you who gave the franchise the college try and returned for two or three sequels but fell off the run sadly won't find much redemption here. For better or worse (depending on how you look at it) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is simply more of the same. The plot, characters, continuity long ago stopped making any real sense and this film doesn't do anything to right the course of the ship. It's more or less another bit of stream of conscious scripting. Whatever popped into Writer and Director Paul W.S. Anderson's head went on the screen without much of an eye for editing or continuity.
Anderson is one of those creative visual filmmakers who has a terrific eye for visuals and an unabashed love for making genre pictures. But at the same time, he's never felt like someone who reached his full potential. With Mortal Kombat he demonstrated a knack for adapting paper-thin video game plots. With Event Horizon he showed he could let mood, atmosphere, and buckets of gore and visual effects create a memorable sci-fi/horror hybrid. The first Resident Evil was a competent adaptation of the beloved video game series that showed plenty of franchise potential. Everything else he's made since 2002 has pretty much been the same movie again and again with varying degrees of success and failure. That said, I have enjoyed the Resident Evil movies for what they are, not what they could have been. They're fun, check your brain at the door action gore flicks and nothing more. If that's all you want, that's all you're going to get from The Final Chapter.
As much as I really wanted to just shut my brain off after a long day of work and just be entertained, I struggled with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The story still doesn't make a lick of sense; that's not the problem. The problem is how it was shot and edited. Paul W.S. Anderson traded in his traditional tried and true slow-mo camera-stylings for some truly nauseating swirling camera work with near-constant cutting. Whether the characters are sitting and having a conversation or Alice is in a knife fight with Dr. Isaacs on top of an armored vehicle with an army of zombies chasing behind them, the camera never stops moving and the edits never last longer than a fraction of a second. It's almost as if Michael Bay and Paul Greengrass movies hooked up and The Final Chapter was the result of that bizarre coupling. Eventually, I settled into the groove and the swirling visuals stopped being a detriment, but that first twenty minutes or so frequently forced me to look away or lest I lose my $10 bucket of popcorn.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was marketed on the concept of finality. It promised a return of certain characters as well as a few fresh faces to help bring the franchise to a fitting and final conclusion. While there is a conclusion, I doubt most will find this outing fitting or final. If you've ever wondered why they keep making these movies, the answer is simple economics. These are relatively cheap movies to make that require little if any marketing and make hundreds of millions at the worldwide box office. The Final Chapter raked in over $312,000,000 worldwide against a $40,000,000 budget. With those kinds of bucks attached, I doubt this will be the last time we see Resident Evil atop theater marquees. My hope is they load up something more akin to the recent Resident Evil: Biohazard game and return to the series survival horror roots.
Vital Disc Stats: The UHD Blu-ray
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures in a two-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital HD set. Pressed onto a BD-66 disc, the UHD and BD are housed in a standard two-disc black snapping UHD Blu-ray case with identical slipcover artwork. The UHD disc loads directly to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options. All bonus feature content is found on the standard Blu-ray disc.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter oozes its way onto 4K UHD with a strong 2.40:1 2160p transfer. While the film's quick cutting and constant camera movement is still an issue, in 4K the problem feels mitigated somewhat. With the added image information removes the image noise issue I detected with the Blu-ray and depth is vastly improved - especially during the darker scenes. Details are strong and vibrant allowing you to appreciate the facial features, costuming, and the creature effects a bit better. Again due to the frantic edits you don't get a lot of time to appreciate what's on the screen, but now you can get a clearer, cleaner image.
Colors earn some extra bonus points in HDR. These yellows and browns are rich and earthy and allow for a little more separation from flesh colors. Greens also take on a stronger, more olive colored tone to them. Primaries don't have a whole lot of pop because of the warmer, yellow color grading, but when the movie moves underground and into the Hive, they take on a more natural presence with stronger blues, and deep vibrant reds - especially the CGI Red Queen girl. Black levels are velvety black and maintain a stronger sense of depth to the image. Heavy CGI effects tend to look a little flat and lifeless at times, the giant winged creature in the beginning still looks fake and silly as do the CGI landscape touchups. Kind of like the flames spewing out of the cars in Mad Max: Fury Road, you just notice them and how much they stand out due to the added resolution. All in all this is a decent 4K transfer, a clear improvement over its Blu-ray counterpart, but I wouldn't put it among my favorites.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter makes a loud, noisy, and glorious entrance on 4K UHD with a splendidly atmospheric Dolby Atmos track. If you don't have Atmos running, the track will default to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 and is still extremely effective. Even through the wall to wall explosions, gunfire, and sloppy slithering gurgles of the undead zombies, I was struck by the impressive sense of space and atmosphere. The opening moments at the devastated Washington Monument filled the room with a sense of wide open space and destruction. There's just the right amount of echo, just the right amount of creakiness to suggest that Milla Jovovich was surrounded by destroyed buildings. A scene in a ventilation tunnel was particularly effective in that regard as well. Much like it's DTS-HD MA 7.1 counterpart on the Blu-ray, the dialogue comes through crystal clear with just enough directional effect. The jump scares get to enjoy a little extra LFE tonal push adding a nice sense of dread to the feature. Gunfire is loud and proud throughout. Levels are spot on and you naturally want to crank things up to get the full enjoyment.
True to the Resident Evil home video formula, there are a LOT of bonus features available with this release. Some bits are more informative than others, but fans should have a blast digging through everything. The Retaliation Mode provides the most meat of all the bonus features, everything else feels like extended EPK promotional material.
Retaliation Mode (HD 2:16:42) The Retaliation Mode viewing experience is actually pretty solid stuff. Featuring husband and wife duo Paul W.S. Anderson with Milla Jovovich, the pair clearly enjoys each other's company as they frequently jump into the film with full onscreen behind the scenes materials or provide a little bit of scene-specific commentary. There's plenty of material showing the practical effects work for all the gore and zombies.
Stunts and Weaponry (HD 9:03) This covers the actors performing as many of the stunts themselves while also handling guns and knives.
Explore The Hive (HD 4:18) This is a very brief look at a return to the original locations and with some nice and gnarly gore bits.
The Bad Ass Trinity & The Women of Resident Evil (HD 6:32) A very quick, somewhat self-congratulatory look at the female action heroes of the film.
Sneak Peak at Resident Evil: Vendetta (HD 4:22)
Love them or hate them, the Resident Evil franchise made an honest run. While they weren't the best films ever made - they never set out to. They were made to entertain a target audience. If you found yourself in that target demographic, you should get some measure of entertainment out of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Sony brings the film to 4K UHD Blu-ray with a decent video transfer and a thunderingly effective Atmos audio mix along with a bunch of informative bonus feature content. Considering Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is the sixth entry in the franchise, this one isn't suitable for newcomers and is absolutely for the fans.