After two underwhelming and frankly dull instalments in Afterlife and Retribution, I'm glad to say that the Resident Evil series goes out on a high with The Final Chapter. It's still not a cinematic masterpiece, but it does exactly what a Resident Evil movie is meant to do: entertain you with fun and ridiculous action, and a few twists and turns along the way.
If there's one thing that makes this movie as entertaining (and at times even more so) than the first two movies, then it's the action. Pretty relentless from start to finish, The Final Chapter is such an entertaining watch, hopping from action scene to action scene at a rapid pace, and very rarely letting up with too much planning, dialogue and character development that the series' weakest entries tried to pull off.
Of course, the heavy emphasis on mad, and at times utterly preposterous action (Alice's ability to survive everything is way beyond Die Hard levels), means that it's not a particularly intriguing or memorable watch, and director Paul W.S. Anderson's insistence on dizzying quick cuts and shaky cam is frustrating to see. However, this movie knows you want Milla Jovovich doing backflips and killing zombies, and it thankfully provides that in bucketloads, making for a properly entertaining and fast-paced action movie.
One of the more surprising elements of The Final Chapter, however, is the last-ditch twists within the series' overall story arc. Sometimes, this film does a great job at tying up some loose ends from previous movies, and at others, it's a little contradictory of the past events. Still, as the film goes on, we begin to learn more and more about the true reason that the world was plunged into chaos, as well as a whole host of other hugely entertaining, albeit ridiculous, twists that actually give this film some genuine stakes.
I'm not going to say I was engrossed by the story, because it's incredibly thin, and wouldn't stand up at all if it weren't for all the action going on around it, but I will say that this does have some of the best ideas and plot twists since the first two movies, yet another reason why this might just be my favourite of the whole franchise.
And at the end of a six movie streak, you'd expect lead actress Milla Jovovich to be phoning it in with a bored and generic performance, but that's not the case. Her character has never been the most fascinating, but you can't deny that Jovovich really goes for it in this final outing, reaffirming how good an action hero she can be.
Whilst the same isn't necessarily true of many of her co-stars, most of whom are just another set of expendable extras, the rivalry that we see reignite between Jovovich's Alice and Iain Glen's Dr. Isaacs for one last time is pretty entertaining, all building towards a hugely fun finale that marks itself as some of the best action of the series.
Overall, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is all you want from this series. Harking back to the strongest instalments with its no-holds- barred action and ridiculous twists, it's a properly entertaining and action-packed blockbuster that's a lot of fun to watch, even if it's not a film of the highest quality.