As game-to-film franchises go, none have been so enduring as Paul W.S. Anderson’s take on Capcom’s Resident Evil videogame franchise – which I hold dear to my heart – but after fifteen years, the release of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter sees a culmination to this billion-dollar franchise. The sixth instalment, RE:TFC doesn’t know whether it wants to be a horror film, an action film, or Mad Max: Fury Road, but it attempts to be everything, just badly.
The central plot device, an airborne cure for the zombie T-Virus, sounds like a good idea, but in reusing the setting for the first two RE films, the “return to where it all began” theme turns every film between the first RE and RE:TFC into a plot hole. There’s repetitive start-stop narrative from the get-go, peppering the film’s excessive action with dialogue exposition, which not only comes off as lazy, but gave away the plot twist far too early for my liking. The lighting alternates between being too dark to understand events, to flashing too brightly to clearly grasp what I should be scared of, and the fight-scenes are far too close-up and edited too poorly to follow who just got punched in the face, or what that supposedly scary monster looks like.
"The franchise defines 'jumping the shark' – or 'punching the rock', for any fans of the game"
The worst bit? As the sequel to RE: Retribution, which ended with Alice and loads of characters from the videogame franchise preparing for a fight against an endless horde, the film – spoilers – skips that and starts by presumably killing everyone but Alice via narrative exposition. And I quite liked Leon and Ada in Retribution…
The franchise defines “jumping the shark” – or “punching the rock”, for any fans of the game – but Resident Evil: The Final Chapter takes the biscuit. Sadly, its zany action can’t save it from being a forgettable film, much like the rest of the franchise, and I honestly hope that this can be the final bullet in this film franchise’s head. And please, stay dead this time.
More like this: Silent Hill (2006)